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Shiloh Jolie-Pitt Wears "Boy Shorts." Why Do People Care?

This past Friday Us Weekly ran a photo of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt wearing ‘boy shorts.’ The photo launched thousands of blog posts asking whether this was appropriate.  But the real question here, besides why are the paps stalking a 4 year old, is why do we care so much about what she is wearing? It’s not like she was wearing a thong or a suit with obscenities written on it.

Is it because people feel that as a young girl Shiloh should be covering up her private parts? In Europe many young girls do not wear tops at this age and as world travelers, Brad and Angie may be comfortable with this. Shiloh does not have actual breasts yet, so seeing her topless is not indecent.

Is it because as the child of two of the world’s most beautiful people we want her to display the standardized prescription of beauty? Possibly, yet people have not lauded Zahara, who dresses extremely girly, for her taste in clothing in such a media firestorm.  When Z wears a frilly pink dress, it doesn’t normally create such a mass of headlines.

Or is it veiled homophobia? This photo comes on the heels of tabloids going crazy over the fact that Shiloh has short hair and dresses in a masculine way. The Early Show’s Maggie Rodriguez wanted to know “whether or not that could confuse a child about their gender identity.”

Bonnie Fuller, who had previously had a psychiatrist weigh who stated that Angelina was using her daughter to express bisexual tendencies, recently wrote on Hollywood Life: “Brad and so Angelina–what’s up with the cross-gender dressing for Shiloh? Did YOU both want another boy, not a girl? Maddox and Pax weren’t enough? Aren’t you worried that you’re going to confuse little Shiloh? Give her gender identity issues? Isn’t it hard enough to grow up without your parents dressing you like the opposite sex?”

But will this really confuse her or is she just being a tomboy? All the hubbub seems like discreet and slightly covered homophobia.   If Shiloh has short hair will she become a lesbian? Though common sense and absolutely no studies prove that it will influence her sexual choices, many people clearly have underlying fears.

I’ve know plenty of kids who will not wear what they are told to wear and this includes clothing usually designated for their gender. They grew up to be functional adults without questions about their sexuality. I also know plenty of people who were dressed in gender-specific clothing as a child and went through some very confusing times with their sexuality (For the record, they are also all very functional adults).

I think Shiloh is going to be fine-and by fine, I mean not influenced in any way by her clothes at the age of 4.  My parents couldn’t keep an article of clothing on me for longer than five minutes and I am not a nudist nor do I have an exhibitionist streak for streaking.

But maybe that is not why it’s such a big deal? Maybe it is simply that society has ingrained ideas about how a child is suppose to look? Boys wearing “boy shorts” and girls in ‘girl swimsuits.” But ask yourself, why do you think this way? What is the deeper significance?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

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