Since 3-years-old, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s now 8-year-old daughter, Shiloh, claims she wants to go by the name John. In an interview with Oprah, Pitt said that whenever he would call his daughter “Shi,” she would always correct him by telling him to call her John. However, her tomboyish tendencies are nothing new.
An interview in 2010 by Vanity Fair reported that 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.” For the Jolie-Pitt family, it is easy for them to accept their daughter’s choices where as some families have a hard time adjusting or accepting something like this.
During Jolie’s premier of her new movie Unbroken, Pitt and his three children posed for a picture. In the photo, Shiloh or John is seen wearing a suit and tie just like her brothers, Pax and Maddox.
In today’s society, we have gradually progressed into a more accepting generation. From toys, to clothes, to games, we have learned to mostly let everything blend together as gender neutral . Of course being at such a young age, John has not yet decided whether to be identified as male or if it is just a phase, which is what most people are saying.
John could be experiencing gender dysphoria — when there’s conflict between a person’s physical gender and the one they actually identify with. According to Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, “usually with a child, especially children with older siblings of the opposite gender, it’s normal to want to copy them and be like them. That’s quite a normal phase for a lot of kids.” Because John is part of a large family, there may be a desire for attention causing him to do just about anything to get it.
Another thought is that at some point, John may want to be identified as a male. Blair said, “to explore what it means to be both genders is also totally normal, but the problem is we have suppressed it for so many generations, that people are still uncomfortable with it. You can’t become what you are until you know what you’re not.”
Whatever the turn out may be, Jolie and Pitt couldn’t be more accepting of their child’s decision. I think any parent and/or family should react to their child’s decisions as the Jolie-Pitt family does. Unfortunately, not everyone is as accepting. With any parent, it is suggested that one should not be quick to assume, but rather wait and see what comes of the situation. Hopefully, no matter the outcome, they will be able to accept and respect their child for who they are.