Life & Style Off the Mark in Targeting Gender Identity of Angelina Jolie's Child

March 3, 2010
The latest issue of Life & Style, a popular celebrity gossip magazine with several hundred thousand readers, features a cover story which claims that actress Angelina Jolie is turning Shiloh, her daughter with Brad Pitt, into a boy. The cover features Shiloh with a short haircut and polo shirt and asks: "Is it harming the three-year-old?" "Life & Style is way off the mark with this outrageous coverage," said Rashad Robinson, GLAAD's Senior Director of Media Programs. "Perpetuating gender stereotypes and targeting children for ridicule about the way they dress is unacceptable, regardless of their parent's celebrity status." The accompanying article cites several so-called 'experts,' including Glenn Stanton, from the anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family, who says: "They need help, they need guidance of what that looks like. It's important to teach our children that gender distinction is very healthy." "Media has a responsibility to differentiate between credible authorities and politically motivated (and usually self-proclaimed) 'experts' like Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton, who is not an expert on developmental issues," said Robinson. Other supposed 'experts' include VH1 stylist Alana Kelen, and celebrity stylist Gili Rashal-Niv, who made offensive comments such as: "Hopefully we won't be seeing Maddox in one of Shiloh's dresses any time soon." Justin Tanis, Outreach Manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality told The Advocate: "The length of Shiloh's hair or the clothes she wears are really matters for her and her parents to decide; this is a family that is known for their fashion. What's important here is that every child, including Shiloh, has the opportunity to express herself and explore her world in a way that is safe and nurturing for her. Our society needs healthy, well-rounded children whose interests and tastes are as diverse as the children themselves and are not limited by outdated stereotypes of gender. Shiloh — and all other children — deserve the right to be themselves in ways that feel right to them as they learn and grow." GLAAD will be contacting Life & Style to voice our serious concerns about this story and educate the editors about how to fairly and accurately report on gender issues. We will urge the editors to refrain from this kind of sensationalism in future coverage and encourage community members to do the same. Lindsay Ferraro Publicity Manager - Life & Style Weekly (201) 569-6699 Dan Wakeford Editor-in-Chief - Life & Style Weekly