On this day January 8: Dr Eve Jones on ‘abnormal’ daughter

abnormal daughter dr eve jones january 8
Dr Eve Jones, The Dayton Daily News.

On January 8 1966, Dr Eve Jones, a Chicago psychologist with a syndicated parenting column, answered a query from a mother worried about her potentially ‘abnormal’ daughter. The jottings of Dr Jones and her correspondents illustrate why LGBTIQ+ people so dislike the word ‘normal’. And remind us to guard against the human inclination to ‘other’ people different to ourselves.

Dear Dr Jones,

I’m afraid my daughter isn’t normal, and I’m worried it may be too late to help her.

She’s 14 years old and pretty, and her shape is very feminine.

But she says she hates being a girl. She wears mannish clothes and pays no attention to boys.

Do you think this attitude can become abnormal as she grows older – if you know what I mean?

Mrs J. L.

. . .

Dear Mrs J. L.

If you haven’t already made her deeply ashamed or guilty about her natural impulses, she isn’t likely to become a lesbian. Which seems to be your biggest fear.

So, think over how much freedom and information you have given her in the past. If you have allowed her to be an individual, you can safely conclude this is a temporary rebellion.

Stop trying to sell her on being feminine and let nature take its course. Her attitude should change over the coming months.

. . .

Well, that’s comforting. Dr Eve Jones reassured the anxious mother by rewording one of the era’s greatest cliches.

It’s just a phase.

Dr Jones appears to be saying – she’ll turn out alright (straight). But if you end up with an ‘abnormal daughter’, it’s all your fault.


The doctor certainly wasn’t suggesting lesbianism was natural. She emphasised to another reader that she regarded homosexuality as a mental illness.

A normal boy

Dear Dr Jones,

Can mental illness be contagious?

Is it safe for a normal boy to work with older men who seem to care for each other – if you know what I mean?

Or should I make my son quit his afterschool job?

Mrs W. F.

. . .

Dear Mrs W. F.

Why risk trouble?

Although a healthy adult isn’t likely to be seduced into unhealthy behaviour, a teenager may be led into behaviour he’ll later be very ashamed of and guilty about. A teenager isn’t stable enough to be immune to tempting suggestions.

Read more: January 7 <— On this day —> January 9

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