Image: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com
We already knew that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are a couple of our favorite actors, directors and philanthropists.
We kinda knew they were awesome parents, too. But now they have left no doubt in our minds. Best parents ever.
When I was growing up, I was a huge tomboy (read: I was better at sports, bigger than and stronger than all the boys around me). I didn't wear makeup until I was in college and you had to fight me to brush my hair (still do). For a span of time longer than I care to admit, I looked like a boy because I had such a short bowl cut and wore baggy clothes. There are actual photos where you cannot tell I am a girl.
As a female athlete, I fought for my equality at every turn. Even in college I had to, for some unknown reason, prove I was girly enough.
Sometimes, when you're living it, you don't realize that is what is happening, and now from the outside I see it and think, "What the hell? This is stupid." I like to think that I turned out pretty well and my parents didn't do anything to either encourage or discourage my so-called gender identity. I was just growing up and however that happened is how it happened.
The fact that we still have separate girls' and boys' toy aisles when we are about to enter 2015 is just baffling.
and Angelina Jolie
are not just the megastar actors we know and love, but the parents of adoptive and biological male and female children.
Recently, the Jolie-Pitt children graced the red carpet with their father, stepping in for their chicken pox-ridden mother at the premier of her new movie Unbroken
. The family was stunning on the red carpet. All four of them sported sharp suits and short haircuts — even the couple's oldest biological child, Shiloh.
Pitt and Jolie have been open about Shiloh being more into what are usually considered "boy" things and masculine behavior.
In an interview with Vanity Fair
back in 2010, Jolie said, "She wants to be a boy... so we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys' everything. She thinks she's one of the brothers."
The 8-year-old has now asked that her family call her John, and the large family did exactly what we expected them to: they said OK.
Stand up. Begin slow clap.
Gender roles are entirely and completely a society-created box to put people in. They aren't boy clothes or girl clothes for any other reason than that's what we have decided to call them. Girl names or boy names? Same thing. The child is 8 years old. She wants to be like her siblings, or she wants to be like herself, whatever. She's 8
Let her wear a suit, call her John, let her play sports and get dirty. Or let her play with dolls and wear pink. Basically, let the kid be a kid.
If this is a phase, the parents are hitting it out of the park in being supportive and embracing her need and desire to explore who she is. If this isn't a phase and Shiloh is John for the rest of her life, Pitt and Jolie just won the whole game, giving their daughter the support everyone in a transgender situation needs to figure out what they really feel inside and who they want to be on the outside. You know, if you will "look like a boy" or "look like a girl" (read: that was sarcasm).
I could only hope to be as cool, understanding and accepting of a child and their choices as the Jolie-Pitt camp has been. I am happy now that it is becoming much more normal to see parents accepting their children for who they are at any given time in their life, from little boys playing dress-up with the girls to adult children in transition or coming out of the closet.
The outpouring of support on social media has been overwhelming for the stars and for their child.
As a girl who didn't want to be a girl growing up, thank you Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for making your child feel loved and accepted, whoever she wants to be.