Photograph Of Little Boy Wearing Pink Shoes To Preschool Sparks Heated Blogosphere Debate
A viral photograph of a young boy who opted to wear pink shoes on his first day of preschool has sparked intense debate in the blogosphere.
The boy in the photograph is identified only as 5-year-old Sam. A Facebook user identifying herself only as Sam's sister posted the photo to the "Have a Gay Day" page, and wrote:
"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. She explained to him in the store that they were really made for girls. Sam then told her that he didn’t care and that 'ninjas can wear pink shoes too.'
However, my mom received about 20 comments on the photo from various family members saying how 'wrong' it is and how 'things like this will affect him socially' and, put most eloquently by my great aunt, 'that sh*t will turn him gay.'"
The user goes on to say that Sam explained he liked the shoes because they were "made out of zebras," as zebras are his favorite animal: "What does it say about society when a group of adults could stand to take a lesson in humanity from a class of preschoolers?"
The photograph has since drawn over 120,000 likes and has been shared over 19,000 times.
Meanwhile, the photograph was the subject of a heated blog posted on The Stir. In the piece, blogger Mary Fischer disagreed with Sam's mother, saying she wouldn't let her own son wear pink shoes to school because it would "subject him to being bullied or treated unfairly all because most people associate pink with girls and blue with boys."
"Yes, I get the whole 'we should let kids be free to express themselves' thing, and I'll be the first to say 'more power' to this mom for taking a chance and letting Sam go off to preschool in his pink zebra print flats.
Somehow I'm guessing if my son were to put on that same pair of shoes -- he wouldn't even make it through the five-minute bus ride to school in the morning before someone laughed at him, asked him why in the heck he was wearing pink shoes, spewed all sorts of mean jokes his way, or told him he was dressed like a girl."
She then adds, "Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter."
Photo at link.
I predict this thread will approach 600 posts within a week or two.
"Yes, I get the whole 'we should let kids be free to express themselves' thing", she says as she demonstrates she doesn't.
[quote], put most eloquently by my great aunt, 'that sh*t will turn him gay.'"
Oh, honey . . .
But the great aunt will always be a cunt.
when a kid is 5 is he really expressing himself? Or just picking up something he likes, for whatever reason? Kids need training and socializing. It doesn't mean it's 'oppressive'. Making clothing decisions for your 5-year old does not make you a bad, intrusive parent.
Where should parental guidance kick in? What if he felt like leaving with no clothes on? Would the parents want to encourage his nudism?
what a lot of fuss over nothing. My son used to have a pink Barbie stroller and has play make-up. He is also obsessed with guns and tanks. He'll turn out the way he is made to turn out. Silly women.
Exactly, r5. I wanted to wear my Batman costume all the time but my mother set limits - not to school, church, parties. But ok for the supermarket and playing at the park. Parents are giving kids too many choices and it actually is crippling in the end. I know many young adults who struggle with every decision they have to make.
R7, a lot of those people weren't allowed to make any decisions for themselves so now figuring out which size tube of toothpaste to buy requires a call home to their wives.
I've got just the coat for those shoes!!
More proof how religious freaky and messed up America has become today.
r8, I disagree. I see it countless times - "Jayden, do you want a cherry or lime popsicle?" "Apple juice or orange juice?" "These sneakers or those sneakers?"
Making decisions can be stressful. Kids struggle to choose the right thing, when it very often would be better for everyone if parents made more decisoins for them. They grow up associating decision-making with stress and anxiety.
[quote]when a kid is 5 is he really expressing himself? Or just picking up something he likes, for whatever reason?
Wouldn't wearing something he picked out be the same as expressing himself?
Did the shoes match his hand bag?
Who cares what he was wearing? A five year old kid's picture is all over the net and people are probably saying nasty shit to each other because of something we've all done when we were kids, but didn't have the option of posting in cyberspace. That is the sad part.
He's so cute. I wish him well.
Future President of Gayland
[quote]Wouldn't wearing something he picked out be the same as expressing himself?
Not necessarily. My point was that kids that young see articles of clothing, and they know, e.g. that shoes are worn on the feet, and a hat on the head, so they just put them on reflexively. Just because he's drawn to pink zebra print ballet slippers doesn't mean it's oppressing him by explaining he'll look ridiculous in them.
It's almost doing a disservice to kids to be SO hands-off in raising them. They need guidance. If the 5 year old saw his mom put on lipstick, then smeared it over himself because that's what he saw her do, is it wrong to clean him up and say not to wear lipstick?
He shouldn't be a proxy for cisgender testing in your queer theory seminar but it seems like that's what happening.
R18 Can you expand on how making a conscious decision to wear something is not the same as expressing oneself? He didnt put this on reflexively. According to the article, he chose the shoes because he likes zebras. Wearing the shoes was his way of announcing he likes zebras. The same way if he wore a Yankees ball cap it would be his way of saying he likes the Yankees. How is that not expressing himself?
[quote]They grow up associating decision-making with stress and anxiety.
They also grow up with a sense of entitlement to what they want.
My first day of school at the age of 5, dressed in my new school clothes took my doll to the bus stop which was at the end of the driveway. My mother waited for the bus along with my mother.
Mom asked for the doll and suggested I not take it to school. I refused and she told me that if I got on the bus with that doll the other kids would never forget it. She was right they never did forget it. We lived on a farm near a small town and my classmates were the same all through school.
Big deal. He seems like he's a well ballanced child with reasonable parents.
Letting children be who they are is fine. What I take issue with is these attention obsessed parents who are so desperate to be known as "gay-friendly" that they do things like post a photo of a 5 year old online, undoubtedly in the hopes that they can go "viral," write some shitty blog on Huffington post, do the rounds on the morning shows, and (self) publish some awful book about "anti bullying" and "acceptance."
What is even more disturbing is that gay people give these monsters attention and fall for it every time. What if a kid just likes pink shoes, or wearing dresses, or whatever the hell it is? The fact that this is seen as any indication whatsoever of the sexual orientation of a FIVE YEAR OLD is troubling at best.
But r19, parents don't have to give into every "I want". I wanted a ton of stuff I didn't get as a kid. My sister and I both wanted pointy pink satin ballet slippers with ribbons - but never got them. We both really just wanted the shoes and not ballet classes - buying them for us would have been inappropriate. My mother explained that boys in ballet don't get to wear those kind of shoes, but if I wanted lessons she was all for it. I just couldn't have the shoes. My 5-year old mind understood this.
Too bad you were a censured child, you could have grown up to be a 'Trockadero' , r24.
The shoes are really ugly but kudos to him and his parents.
R24 That's a lovely story, but it really doesn't answer the question of how making a choice and picking out something to wear is not the same thing as expressing yourself.
R21 and his doll sounds cute.
You might say "kudos", R26, but his classmates will say "cooties" for as long as he stays in that town.
Hey, the kid looks really happy, that should be all that counts.
r27, Clothing choice isn't merely about expressing yourself, it's about learning what constitutes appropriate attire. Parents need to provide guidance and use good judgment so that their kids can learn this. As someone else said, what if going around naked was just expressing yourself. At some point you have to adapt to social convention or just go off and live in isolation or a nudist camp where you can be free to express yourself.
He seems like a sweet little boy, but I think his face foretells his future as a Datalounge poster. In 15 years, he'll be on here calling people bitches and cunts and complaining about hissing eldergays.
I call bullshit, r31. "Adapting to social convention" is a crock.
Okay R31 I get it. You really dont have an answer to explain why you feel making a conscious decision to wear something is NOT expressing yourself. You can stop pontificating now.
Really R33? You think that you can walk around naked if you feel like it.
I do think this notion of letting children express themselves has gotten out control. I ma tired of seeing little girls in tutus and fairy wing at a restaurant. "Dress-up" clothes belong in the playroom, not in public. But them I am sure some of you feel that I scarred my daughter for life by using doll clothing to teach her how to dress appropriately. Yes, she was told that pj bottoms did not go with a wedding dress. She was also taught about combining stripes and plaids.
I also taught her NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!!!
I hate people more everyday.
On the one hand, yeah who cares and people worry too much about unimportant things, the kid is right, on the other hand though the mother is kind of right, the kid should be free to do what he wants, etc - I think she may be getting attention through the kid (and what will the result be for the kid?) In the end, agree with R37.
Well, I think the Fischer woman is right. You're just inviting the kid to be bullied. And that would concern me more than his momentary reaction to not being allowed to wear girls' shoes.
And I agree with R23.
It is completely ridiculous to discriminate based on the COLOR of shoes.
Get over it.
[quote] The fact that this is seen as any indication whatsoever of the sexual orientation of a FIVE YEAR OLD is troubling at best.
Why is that so troubling? I knew I was different by age five, even if I didn't have a word for "gay."
It's like how some people used to justify aversion to interracial marriages because "it's hard on the kids".
Change attitudes, don't stifle freedom.
some of you are idiots. Just idiots. r24, r35 r40 all the people complaining about overly permissive parents an all the people clutching pearls about social conventions.
A) Everyone who tuts about this being an example of overly permissive parenting, akin to letting your child go to school in a Batman costume or completely naked. YOU ARE WRONG. The shoes are not costume shoes. they are not shoes designed for a specialized dance or sport. They are not high heels, or made of a delicate and expensive fabric. They are every day shoes designed for a child to wear to school and on the playground. The only thing that qualifies them as inappropriate that they are being worn by a boy. Allowing a boy to wear these shoes, in the context of an upbringing where other boundaries are set and stuck to , does not amount to spoiling him or being overly permissive.
B) The whole "protecting your child from bullying" argument is also WRONG and BULLSHIT. As terrible as bullying is, eventually your kid is going to come across another child, with a forceful and aggressive nature, who is going to dislike something about them and challenge them on it. Whether its pink shoes, a favorite toy, an aspect of their physicality, whatever, eventually all of us need to learn how to stand up for ourselves, and in a situation like this pretending that you are 'protecting your kid" is a lie. When you dont let the boy wear the shoes you are the one telling him his preferences are shameful and inappropriate. You aren't protecting him from anything, instead, you are the one committing the assault on his self esteem.
Amen, R44. Amen.
If things associated with girls and "femininity" or whatever weren't so devalued, none of this would be an issue.
The sooner children identify as gay, the sooner they can identify as either a top or a bottom, which will make their life path that much clearer to them.
The shoes are cute and the boy is adorable. People should STFU.
When he gets older he can proudly post the photo here:
R44, you are wrong. Those shoes have no place at school on a child of either gender. School is your first job, even for a five year old. School clothing should reflect that. Play clothing or dress-up clothing has no place at school.
[quote]you are wrong.
So says the man who when asked a question to back up his claims launches into some lame ass story about his family and ballet shoes.
R51, I think you have the wrong person.
r51 whether you like it or not, that is how kids dress in school in the 21st century, unless they attend a school with uniforms.
R53, uh not necessarily. My daughter's public school has a pretty strict dress code. No licensed character clothing. Shirts must have a collar. trousers must be worn at the waist (the principal has several pairs of really ugly suspenders for boys who wear their trousers on their hips.) No novelty shoes (lights, etc.) No leggings or tights unless covered by a dress or skirt, etc. And, the intentionally broad rule of "no distracting clothing." I am certain those pink shoes, if worn by a boy, would be considered distracting.
[quote]Can you expand on how making a conscious decision to wear something is not the same as expressing oneself? He didnt put this on reflexively.
My point, r19, was that at age 5, choices are hardly a 'conscious decision'. Kids tend to play dress-up with anything at that age and will wear anything. You can guide your kid in a loving and supportive way while at the same time correcting him. I don't see how letting the kid wear those pink ballet slippers is a gay rights/homophobia issue.
What if he put on mom's bra over his T shirt and marched around the house insisting he wanted to wear it?
Some messed up people in here. So a boy wearing pink to school is now the same as a boy going naked to school?
R54, are you stupid? R53, stated that's how kids dress UNLESS they go to a school with a dress code. You call him out but then your example is of a school with a strict dress code?
R56, I assume that you a both stupid and (thank god) childless. ALL schools have dress codes. Some are just more liberal than others. Which, is why I said "not necessarily". It may be true in one school district and not true in another.
I hope you kids get a better education than you apparently did, R55.
This thread is like a frau on phag orgy of opinionating!
r55, since you're too dense....
Women wear bras. Women aren't the only ones who wear pink shoes/clothing though.
You're the messed up one who thinks this boy wearing simple pink shoes will lead to him wearing bras and going to school naked.
r57, since you're an idiot.
ALL schools are against kids going to class naked. ALL OF THEM.
Very few of them have rules forbidding kids to wear pink shoes.
What is so wrong with you that you equate this kid wearing pink shoes to him going to school naked?
He's five. My little brother, straight, used to pull around dolls in his wagon. Some of the macho neighbors would say he was going to turn "gay".
R60 Girls are pretty much the only ones to wear pink shoes (at least in the USA). Boys may wear a pink oxford cloth shirt or a pink polo shirt, but pink clothing for boys is hardly the norm.
(Actually, the norm seems to be black, brown, dark blue, and camo green. I'd kill for some color in most kids wardrobes.)
R63, you do realize that at one point not so long ago a boy wearing a pink shirt would've resulted in the adults around him thinking he's going to turn gay, right?
yes R64, I read A Separate Peace. The fact is, not much has changed. Or to be more accurate, the pendulum has swung back after the 70s and 80s. Now, a boy wearing a pink shirt is pretty much the same as the 1950s or 60s.
I once read that some time in history pink was the traditional boys color. Don't know when it changed to being a girl color.
Anybody know what happened with this kid? did anybody actually make fun of him, or was that just adults throwing a fit?
Younger people these days are a lot more flexible about stuff like this than older people. The kids in his class may not care, or they may just think he's gay (not bad to them), or going to grow up to be a fashion designer.
One of the things the U.S. still has going for it is that people can be original thinkers, and not be exactly like everyone else. In China for example, kids aren't given this kind of leeway, and they don't have the orignators and inventors we do. In the end, that kid will grow out of those shoes, the kid with the blue punk haircut will grow it out, etc. It's just a stage. He's not wearing nuclear bombs on his feet, get over it.
I disagree R65. I see boys wearing pink shirts all the time now.
When I was a preteen in the 90's, my mom REFUSED to let me wear pink because it was a girl's color. She had another boy 15 years after me, and my little brother has pink shirts and my mom says nothing to him. She became used to the idea when she noticed other boys wearing pink shirts.
[quote]You're the messed up one who thinks this boy wearing simple pink shoes will lead to him wearing bras and going to school naked.
No, I'm the one saying it's not wrong or oppressive or homophobic for parents to tell their kids what not to wear. When you're dealing with a 5 year old it's ridiculous to paint this as a gay rights issue.
If he was 15 and wanted to wear a skirt i'd be all for it because a 15 year old is a more fully formed human being.
R66, good question, to which there is no answer. There were articles in the 1900s that said pink should be for boys because it was a stronger color than the "dainty" blue. By the 1920s it seems that there was a regional preference ; Pink for boys on the east, blue for boys on the west. Apparently, the colors did not become set until the 1940s.
Or so the "so called" experts write. I have been collecting dolls for over 30 years and I have NEVER seen a doll marketed as a baby boy in pink. I suspect that is really how the blue/pink think became codified. If you are selling the exact same baby doll, the only way to indicate gender is by color. Catalogues from the 1900s always indicate that boys have blue ribbons and the girls pink.
I will bitch slap his parents - that was just all so wrong.
He's not wearing a seatbelt.
We've got a locker all picked out to stuff him in.
I agree with you, R69. But there's no point in arguing with the hardliners in this thread that want to make this a political issue.
[quote] I have been collecting dolls for over 30 years and I have NEVER seen a doll marketed as a baby boy in pink.
Pink is just a color, for pity's sake. A 5 year old likely has no idea of the gender connotations. The shoes themselves in the photo appear to be girls shoes though. So why is he "choosing" them? Are they his sister's or something?
Oh and r70, et al, sounds weird.
Don't boys wear more pink these days anyway?
R70 Thank you, I was wondering how the whole pink for girls blue for boys came about. And, I think your hobby is interesting.
I don't really give a shit what he wore for shoes. However, I'm guessing this was more of the mother expressing herself.
Thank you R44.
I'm kinda stunned at some of the posters here. By all means, put a stop to the kid who is doing nothing wrong. Don't take an opportunity to teach other children when they're young to accept others as they are. Teach children to march in lockstep with the crowd and ignore what they feel is right.
I'm happy I don't know you people. I hope this kid is in good hands at school. I imagine there are other kids who would get belittled, mocked and possibly hit by their own parent for wanting to wear those shoes.
Sickening that some of you backward, vacant-brained cunts think a boy wearing pink shoes is tantamount to nudity. You're a fool and an asshole for even forwarding such a idea. Not only is it a false-equivilancy, it's stupid and sexist.
There is nothing wrong with this boy wearing pink shoes. If you think otherwise, evolve yourself beyond the narrow-minded thinking of a freeper.
Maybe TLC, the learning channel, could put together a show featuring the boy in the pink shoes and the Ikea monkey in the shearling coat. Maybe they could do something about fashion like What Not to Wear.
Those of you wagging your finger at the absurdity of a 5 yr old boy wearing pink shoes to school are precisely the ones who would have bullied and mocked him if he'd been in your classroom.
I applaud the mother for letting him wear the shoes. Who says pink is only for girls? It's a stupid societal convention and that sort of thing is ridiculous nowadays. Not to mention the fact that by doing this, not only is the child free of this sort of brain-dead thinking, his classmates are also being educated and having their minds opened as well. If you grow up with boys wearing pink shoes, you'd never think twice about it. Now, maybe some of these kids won't.
Some of the arguments in here against the pink shoes are insane. Men and boys don't wear bras because they don't have boobs. Boys' feet, however, are no less suited to pink shoes than girls' feet.
Kids don't go to school in the nude because there are a million practical, heath- and safety-related, reasons not to, besides the fact that it would be a huge, GENUINE distraction. Kids in pink shoes, however, are no less safe and healthy than kids in shoes of any other color, and only someone with real problems would continue to be distracted by the sight of a boy in pink shoes for more than a minute or two.
As for the guy who doesn't think those shoes are appropriate school attire for a child of either gender, you'd better on head on home to Puritan times, or wherever it is you come from, because those shoes look completely typical for a young kid at any school sans uniforms or an extremely rigid dress code.
When I was a kid I was naturally drawn to dolls and dresses and makeup. My mother and my stepfather were horrified by this and thought shaming me was the best way to handle it so I wouldn't do it anymore.
My older brother, who had previously been loving and protective toward me, took his cue from them and started to bully me and physically attack me. That went on for [italic]years.[/italic]
It had nothing to do with "guiding me". Very simply they felt it was a reflection on them and worried that others would think of them as bad parents for having such a fruit for a son.
It took awhile but I eventually got the message. I did everything I could to try and be the son they wanted. Which was completely contrary to the way I really felt.
I mentioned this here once before. It's been some time now but one day I noticed this mother and her son walking together. He had on some standard issue school uniform. Navy blazer and tan pants. He also was carrying a little red purse. He was probably about four or five.
I was so immensely impressed with that mother being so accepting of him. She was letting him be who he was. I think that if you have a family that is loving and supportive you are much more able to contend with others if they have a negative views towards you.
It depends. If the kid is just inevitably transgender, then I would do all I could to both support him but also to protect him from the harm he may face because of his gender identity. But otherwise, to be honest, I would discourage my son from engaging in gender non-normative behavior that could subject him to severe bullying or harm, especially since I cannot be with my child all day to shield him from harm. It would be one thing if he was in some tolerant utopia where kids don't pounce on boys that act like girls, but in reality, a boy who wears girls' shoes will be treated very badly in most American schools. If a boy is not transgendered, I don't see why I should encourage him to do something that will lead to his heartache.
It's not just that the shoes are pink, it's that they are girl's shoes. How many of you would show up to an office job wearing a pair of women's shoes?
NK missile, please locate R86.
They're girl's shoes, r86? What, do they have vaginas? Who cares, anyway? I five-year-old kid likes these shoes. His classmates, clearly from article followups, have no problem with shoes. Only the uptight, neanderthal adults. Drop it!
[quote]If the kid is just inevitably transgender
Well you can't know that when he's 5.
I know someone who shows up at work wearing basic businessman drag on the top: suit coat, tie and dress shirt, and basic businesswoman drag on the bottom : black skirt, hose and high heels. Obviously an exception to the rule, but it's what he wants and he seems to have a corporate job in S.F. (where I imagine his company doesn't care or is legally bound not to do anything about it).
Seems a lot of posts on this thread are very invested in upholding "traditional" gender roles. Time for us to move the fuck on.
Keeping the kid from wearing the shoes he likes because he might be bullied is the same false argument this college women brilliantly exposed.
It was the most enlightening thing I learned that week.
[quote]How many of you would show up to an office job wearing a pair of women's shoes?
How many of us started working in an office at age 5? I How many of us would show up at the office wearing anything preschoolers wear? And since when is everything a child does from preschool on supposed to be training for that lucky day he gets his own cubicle?
thank you r91!
Just wanted to say this boy looks awesome, I hope my child is as happy as this one appears to be!
r44 and r46 and very wise.
Really, on DL of all places, we're arguing about the importance of observing social convention when it comes to gender norms? If we did that we'd all be pretending to be happy with our beard-wives whilst crying and jerking off over the male underwear models in the Sears catalogue.
I do love the commentor (on the HuffPost article) who made a sarcastic comment about 'and those sluts who show their ankles, they're just asking to be raped!' and someone came along genuinely agreeing that women who dress in a revealing style are responsible if they get raped.
Fun fact: pink was traditionally always considered the colour for boys (and blue for girls), and this didn't change until about the 1930s.
People are getting way too tied in knots over this. Good for mom, good for the kid. who cares really. I'd object to those slippers more out of practicality then gender bias. Same reason i wouldn't let a kid wear flip-flops to school.
It's funny how people here think it's a horrific crime to tell a 5 year old not to wear pink ballet flats to school ... yet every red carpet occasion seems to trigger viciousness toward women who don't honor 'social convention' in their clothing choices. Heaven help anyone who put on a few lbs and appears in public.
Flouting convention as being liberating is very selectively monitored around here.
R97, hon, this thread has a large number of posters insisting that the kid's parents should NOT let him wear pink shoes to school. I'm betting THOSE posters tend to be the same ones freaking out over actresses who are supposedly too fat or too plain.
Let him have those pink shoes, better yet, cha cha heels!
Seriously, it is just sad. Twenty five years ago I was a kinder teacher while in grad school. Every once in a while there would be an obviously cute little "feminine" boy or a "tomboy". The comments in the teachers' room were appalling. I hope that has changed. I did my best to facilitate acceptance. In the classroom, young kids will usually adopt the attitude of the teacher. It is the job of the teacher to model respect and acceptance for all students.
R98, quit trying to hijack the thread to defend ugly fatsos. We're talking about a child's right to wear pink shoes here. Not the right for obnoxious twats to parade their hideous girths in front of us demanding we call them pretty.
We're sorry you're one of them, obviously. Try eating less, getting more exercise and keeping your face clean.
That pattern is overdone and the vamp reveals too much toe cleavage. And flats in that style? There should be a little wedge in it, otherwise he'll be standing to far back to the heel. Bitch, please.
I have home movies of me in my Superman's cape and my aunt's high heels. I was 4. Yes, I am as gay as the Christmas Mouse.
Is "Don't rock the boat" that good of a life philosophy?
More people have become crazy mass murderers and menaces to society thanks to being mistreated by their parents who beat them and / or said 'NO!' / 'You are a fucking disgrace!' than people who grew up loving, supported, free to express themselves, and exploring their talents.
Some fetish sex is based on childhood experiences where parents or other authority figures got freaked out about the kid doing something he or she isn't supposed to do or like and was forced to let go or stop doing.
sort of germane
a really great little film that addresses some of the issues on this thread
also a great look inside a child's mind, unmediated by grown ups ideas, then hurt by them
Ma Vie En Rose