Sam is 5. Sam's favorite animal is the zebra. And just a few months ago, Sam began pre-school.
Sam's mom took him to the shoe store to get a new pair of shoes for the first day of classes. And after a search of the store Sam found what he truly wanted: a pair of pink zebra-patterned ballet flats. Told by his mother that those were shoes for girls, Sam insisted anyway that they were the shoes he had to have. In Sam's words,
his mother relented. She even a picture showing how happy he was in his new shoes.
Then Sam's older sibling posted the photo to Facebook (it has since been removed). And all hell broke loose. Comments…from adults, mind you…got way out of hand.
Of course the sibling sort of sparked the commentary with the fact that she posted the picture to the Facebook site Have a Gay Day:
Yesterday my mom posted a picture on Facebook of my 5 year old brother Sam wearing a pair of shoes he picked out for his first day of preschool.
Meanwhile Sam's classmates were perfectly okay with his choice in footwear. In fact he got several complements and nothing negative.
But some of the supposed adults in Sam's family were outraged. Like Sam's great aunt, who wrote:
Other family members commented on how this would negatively affect him socially.
So mom deleted the photo, but she told Sam that he could wear whatever he wants to pre-school, including pink shoes.
Sam told her he didn't like them because they were pink, but because they were zebra-patterned.
It was just that they only came in pink.
The photo…and the "debate"…have gone viral. The image obtained 128,877 likes on Facebook before it was pulled and was shared 22,214.
A self-proclaimed "adult" at The Stir went postal. Blogger and mother Mary Fisher, who calls herself The Mommyologist wrote:
And for those exact reasons, like being unnecessarily teased, ridiculed, whispered about, or looked at in a funny way -- I wouldn't let my own son wear a pair of pink shoes to school. Because at only 6 years old and being in the first grade, I'm just not sure it's fair to subject him to being bullied or treated unfairly all because most people associate pink with girls and blue with boys (and so on and so forth).So Mary would bully her son so that he wouldn't be bullied. How exactly does that work?
There is a question that sprung to my mind. "What kind of world is it in which concession to the demands of bullies are made so they won't be bullies."
Then I remembered the Democrats vis-a-vis the Republicans…and it all became very clear.
But at the tender age of 6? Yeah, his little self-esteem just isn't ready for that sort of torture, and as his mother, it's my job to protect him as best I can.Mary, Mary, Mary. Do you not know that kids learn their behavior from adults like you. By expressing these views, you teach the children who would bully your kid…or Sam…how they "should" be behaving. You create that which you claim to disdain.
That being said, if he really wanted a pair of pink shoes, I'd buy him the shoes and let him wear them around the house at home where he's free from outside judgement.
Other than the privacy of our own home, however, we're sticking to sneakers and other "boy" shoes and all other items of clothing. Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter.
Commentary initially was running three to one against Mary. The number of comments have doubled since then.
You know, if you so-called "normal" people could dismantle the prison of gender you have built around what it means to be male and what it means to be female and how those two classes have to behave, life would be easier for those of us who don't fit so nicely into your cubbyholes.
Please, we beg of you: