The studies on what happens in adulthood to boys who strayed from gender norms all have methodological limitations, but they suggest that although plenty of gay men don’t start out as pink boys, 60 to 80 percent of pink boys do eventually become gay men. The rest grow up to either become heterosexual men or become women by taking hormones and maybe having surgery. Gender-nonconforming behavior of girls, however, is rarely studied, in part because departures from traditional femininity are so pervasive and accepted. The studies that do exist indicate that tomboys are somewhat more likely than gender-typical girls to become bisexual, lesbian or male-identified, but most become heterosexual women.One of the experts interviewed by Pradawer has a different interpretation of why "pink boys" are worrisome for parents, but "blue girls" (a phrase never even used in the article) aren't--
These days, flouting gender conventions extends even to baby naming: first names that were once unambiguously masculine are now given to girls. The shift, however, almost never goes the other way. That’s because girls gain status by moving into “boy” space, while boys are tainted by the slightest whiff of femininity. “There’s a lot more privilege to being a man in our society,” says Diane Ehrensaft, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who supports allowing children to be what she calls gender creative. “When a boy wants to act like a girl, it subconsciously shakes our foundation, because why would someone want to be the lesser gender?”This doesn't ring entirely true to me. People can desperately want to have a girl, and be thrilled with the girliness of their girls, yet be anxious when boys start doing "girl" things. That doesn't mesh with the notion that girliness is undesirable in boys because it's viewed as inferior, period.
No, what people (many, anyway) don't like to see is girliness in boys; it's not a question of girliness in general. For some reason masculinity seems more fragile. Forgive the crude analogy, but masculinity and femininity seem sort of like chocolate and vanilla. Chocolate (femininity) is the more durable flavor. You can add vanilla to chocolate, and it still tastes like chocolate.
Adding chocolate to vanilla, on the other hand, makes it no longer vanilla. Masculinity has to be scrupulously protected or it disappears. That's how we perceive it, anyway ... but based on what? The first paragraph might shed a lot of light--perhaps "pink boys" really are much more different from other boys than "blue girls" are from other girls. That's why we think of small deviations from "pure masculinity" as major differences, to be guarded against diligently. (What a lot of stress for boys who are drawn to "feminine" things, and for their anxious parents.)
Sure to help me think about these things is Charlotte Witt's new book The Metaphysics of Gender, arriving courtesy of Amazon any day now. We published a review written by Asta Sveinsdottir in The Philosophers' Magazine (you can read it here). A longer review by the same author is at NDPR.