The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt – Part 3

Joining in (or not)

Jesse tells his dreamThis is a continuation of the exploration of the differences between the two versions of the children’s story, Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve covered the daycare children’s initial reactions and then the group discussion initiated by the teacher. Now let’s find out what happens next.

In both versions, the discussion ends on a note that makes Jesse feel better. In the magazine version, after Sarah calls him brave, he looks around and sees “everyone smiling.” It’s not a realistic scenario, since it would likely take more than what Sarah said to convert the naysayers in the group. In the book version, though, the discussion ends with “so many of the children” talking at once that Jesse can’t tell who’s saying what, but everything he hears is positive.

In both versions, it’s at this point that he tells the children about his dream and how he and his mother made the skirt.

In the magazine version, the teacher then reminisces about Continue reading

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt – Part 2

Why does it matter to them that Jesse’s wearing a skirt?

This is a continuation of the exploration started in the earlier posts in this series, and particularly the previous one about the daycare children in the Jesse’s Dream Skirt story. I mentioned there were several differences between the two versions of the story, relating to one or more of the following: Continue reading

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt

Overview, First Reactions, and the Dynamics of Shaming

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that there are differences between the two versions of the story Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve already covered the differences in the way the mother is portrayed. Now it’s time to look at the two different versions of the children and how they react to Jesse wearing a skirt to daycare. This will take several posts, but let me first give you an overview.

Jesse's Dream Skirt illustration by Marian Buchanana - the children talking

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Jesse’s Mother – two ways of parenting a gender-non-conforming child

Jesse tries on his mother's dressIn the children’s story Jesse’s Dream Skirt, the main character is a little boy who likes to wear skirts and dresses – in other words, clothes that the society he lives in considers to be appropriate only for girls.

We can leave for another time the debate about where such an idea comes from and how arbitrary it is. For now, I just want to look briefly at the issue of how a parent can be supportive of a child whom some would call a “pink boy” — a boy who is “gender non-conforming.” Continue reading

A better version of Jesse’s Dream Skirt

Magnus issue #2

As you know from my previous post, Jesse’s Dream Skirt is a children’s story about a little boy who wears a skirt to daycare. But did you know there are actually two published versions of the story?

Before it was picked up by the feminist publishing collective Lollipop Power, the story was first printed in 1977 in a “socialist journal of gay liberation” called Magnus. The magazine only had two issues before it folded, and the story appeared in issue #2. Continue reading

Jesse’s Dream Skirt – the Project

Jesse loves to wear things that whirl, twirl, and flow. How will the children react to him when he wears a skirt to daycare? This project starts with a children's book but goes beyond. Jesse's Dream Skirt, was written by Bruce Mack (a.k.a. Morning Star), illustrated by myself, Marian Buchanan, and published by Lollipop Power in 1979. Decades later, it has become a classic. I’ll be chronicling the making and impact of the book, (including the backlash), making some artwork available for sale, and welcoming your input on where to take it from here.Jesse loves to wear things that whirl, twirl, and flow. How will the children react to him when he wears a skirt to daycare?

This project starts with a children’s book but goes beyond.

The book, Jesse’s Dream Skirt, was written by Bruce Mack (a.k.a. Morning Star or morningstar), illustrated by myself, Marian Buchanan, and published by Lollipop Power in 1979.

One of the things I’ll be sharing here is a chronicle of the making and impact of the book. Continue reading