Today pink shirts were hauled out of the depths of wardrobes (or closets) and worn with varying degrees of comfort and style. I heard from someone that a group of boys – maybe 9-10 who wore pink shirts to school today were called names and that no teachers responded or challenged this. That in my books is an epic fail. I also know my 8-year-old daughter (at the same school) has struggled with boys understanding that cutting her hair short does not actually, miraculously turn her into a boy. Actually, I don’t think they believe that either, but she feels pretty down that none of her friends will stick up for her, or the teachers. She also just wants to get on and not make a big deal out of it, but I’m kind of on the edge of going parental supernova. It probably doesn’t help that I am also a counsellor…so I’m going to let her tell me what support she would like. I get to dress up as Wolverine Sunday and do the mud run at the school, I’m tempted to see if the boys are there and to have a chat to them in full character…but I wont…claws sheathed.
My dilemma is I want her to feel safe, happy and accepted for who she is, not the length of her hair. Why is this society still insisting on such strongly defined ways of being correctly male and female – it’s hair! So while pink shirt day points to the idea of femininity being wrong for boys (symbolically indicated by the pink shirt) there is no ‘shirt option’ of the reverse for girls, but hair length is.
So how about a cut your hair short day to go with pink shirt day? Could be a great way for hairdressers to get some training for their apprentices – free cuts in solidarity.
So it’s Pink Shirt Day tomorrow. It occurred to me just how much meaning the colour pink has gained over the years. Wearing a pink shirt tomorrow is replicating the act of solidarity shown by a bunch of mates when their mate had homophobic comments made after he wore a pink shirt.
That’s probably the bit that is missed, the action of solidarity after because I think it is a little unrealistic to think that wearing a pink shirt tomorrow is solidarity, I think symbolic and that’s not quite the same thing. I like the word solidarity – it has ‘solid’ in it….and ‘arity’ but that’s not really a word. To be firm, grounded, real, present…to matter. Because people could wear a pink shirt tomorrow and challenge no-one about mocking people for being gay. Solidarity doesn’t need a shirt it needs action…from everyone…pink or no pink shirt.
Actually, it would be good to destigmatise the colour pink and not have it attached to gender or sexuality, so if anything we need to think where we see and don’t see pink. Let’s put pink in its rightful place, back in nature and not on every single girl’s toy (if there is such a thing) and bit of clothing…toothbrush…hair brush….you get my point.