My partner Kira and I rented Michael Jackson’s This Is It documentary and were watching it with my two-year-old son Stephen when he exclaimed, “She’s dancing!”
He was referring to Michael Jackson.
“No, no,” I gently corrected, “Michael Jackson is a man. He’s dancing.”
My son was unmoved. “No she’s not.”
He continued to watch the show and comment using “she” and “her” when Jackson appeared on screen.
It made me wonder what cues Stephen was picking up on. Was it Jackson’s long hair, the elevated voice, the gestures and body language — or what was it that made him determine that Jackson was feminine?
One thing that was reliable was that Stephen was giving his honest observation. At his young age there’s no pretense about these sort of things. He also has no idea if effeminacy in a man is a good or bad thing. When he insisted Jackson was a “she,” we did not argue the point further, and we were careful not to chide him or laugh at his assessment.
But he did like Michael Jackson, and for the past few days he has kept asking to see her movie again and again.