Miscellaneous Links

Busy tonight preparing schoolwork for tomorrow, so here is a bunch of miscellaneous links:

Here is an interesting article in the New York Times exploring why little girls feel the need to dress up as princesses.

I particularly like the bit that young children apparently believe that gender identity is determined by external markers such as clothing and hairstyle (and by extension interests and behaviour) and therefore are very eager to assert their gender identity via clothing, because it matches my personal experience.

When I was in kindergarten, four or five years old, my parents cut my hair short and dressed me in pants, because it was practical. I was sometimes mistaken for a boy (five year olds don’t really have a lot of easily visible gender markers) and I absolutely hated it. I fought to wear dresses and eventually refused to have my hair cut. At around the same time, I also stopped playing with cars and gave away my extensive Hot Wheels collection. A big mistake, there’s one car I’ve been trying to find again ever since then. And though I was utterly fascinated by all those cool Star Wars toys that came out around that time, I never dared to ask for one of them. And yes, I went through a princess phase, too, at around age 6, though there were no Disney toys around back then. My princess gowns were a cast-off minidress from my aunt and a cast-off nightgown from my Mom. So reading this article, I could recognize myself in the description of gender insecure pre-schoolers.

The question of course is, how can we reassure kids in their gender identity without resorting to the pink and glittery princess stereotype. And how can we help kids to recognize that liking different things doesn’t make them any less of a boy or a girl?

Here is a great bit of writing advice from Terri Windling: Dare to be foolish. Found while falling down some internet rabbit hole or another.

Shani O. Hilton explains why she doesn’t like reboots at The Atlantic.

The article is mainly about the Daniel Craig Bond films, which don’t bother me as much, since the Craig films come pretty close to the original novels, i.e. they don’t violate the essence of the character for me. Which is basically the dividing line for me: If a reboot violates the essence of a franchise/character I loved, I will violently hate it. If not, I will probably tolerate it, though I don’t see the point. Never mind that none of the reboots of recent years actually managed to improve on the original, though some were less bad than others.

What is more, I finally found the answer to a question that has been bothering me for several years now. Whenever I see images of Ground Zero, I have always wondered what the stunning Art Deco building right next to Ground Zero is. Today, while preparing a school lesson (the curriculum decrees that 8th graders have to learn about New York right now), I stumbled across the answer.

The stunning Art Deco building is the Barclay-Vesey Building, built between 1923 and 1927 as the headquarters of a telephone company. It was severely damaged by the September 11th attacks, but has since been painstakingly restored to its former glory.

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