Our expert says:
I have some concerns that, though there is value in the recent and growing acceptance of gender variations, it may also be having some undesirable effects and can cause wholly unnecessary worries. There are really wide variations in how entirely ordinary girls, and boys, behave and in what they enjoy. The sort of behaviours you refer to are not biologically determined, or firmly tied to primary gender identity. What we broadly consider to be "girly" or "boyish" are entirely social constructs, and even mere fashions, and increasingly are led by commercial propaganda.
For instance, you refer to "spa visits and manis and pedis" as typical "girly" interests. Even a few years ago that would have been considered a weird idea. Children of either sex / gender would never have the faintest interest in going to a spa or manicurist, until those worthless industries grew large and influential and wanted to grow their client base.
Never underestimate the millions of rands and dollars spent by commercial interests in creating such fashions ; in teaching children and adults that they should be besotted with sport, not in playing it, but in paying to watch it, drink beer while doing so, and buying shorts and other branded merchandise.
Many robustly heterosexual cisgender ( I hope I'm getting the terminology right as it shifts so often ) girls are "tom boys", don't revel in frills or dressing up and enjoy sporty and physical activities, and they probably lead healthier lives for doing so. Similarly, it's not highly unusual or unwholesome for some boys to be uninterested in sport and to be interested in clothes or music.
You are describing a healthy and normal child, and should encourage her to enjoy her interests and friends. I don't believe she has "gender identification issues"
I think there is a real danger here, that where parents and even children are encouraged to worry about such issues, and to move towards the idea that children ought to be bothered about such matters, and even, as some most unwisely seem to suggest, to start making decisions about their deep and lasting identity at such an early age, real damage can be done.
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