ONTD Political

Photograph Of Little Boy Wearing Pink Shoes To Preschool Sparks Heated Blogosphere Debate

2:42 am - 12/12/2012
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 explain that Sam 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."

Fischer continues:

"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."

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/little-boy-sam-pink-shoes-preschool-photograph_n_2277397.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

OP Says: The source has a picture of a very happy little boy clearly enjoying his groovy shoes. That's all I can say without devolving into incoherent maniacal rage. Oh, and the blog post that the article mentions is here: http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/147885/mom_who_let_son_wear
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badgerly 12th-Dec-2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
She then adds, "Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter."

I love this argument. By all means, let's fix the victims here, not the bullies.

Edited at 2012-12-12 08:15 pm (UTC)
trivalent 12th-Dec-2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
While we're at it, lets remind women not to wear skirts or 'indecent' tops or anything possibly construed as attractive.
sunktheglow 12th-Dec-2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
This is so stupid. If a boy wants to wear pink shoes, don't tell him he shouldn't because of what people will think. Teach him to be strong in the face of that nastiness, don't teach him to hide who he is. People wonder how intolerance gets bred into the world, but then parents train their children to expect it. UGH.
scolaro 12th-Dec-2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
First of all: Go kiddo!

And second:
...Sam liked the shoes because they were "made out of zebras," as zebras are his favorite animals...

LOL on so many levels!
kaelstra 12th-Dec-2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
Go Sam!
luminescnece 12th-Dec-2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
I understand wanting to protect your kid from the pain and suffering of bullying. But as a kid who was viciously bullied for no overt reason through four schools in four different cities, bullying is random. Some children will be bullied for things that other kids do and are not bullied for. I was predominately bullied for being poor despite the fact that most of the kids bullying me for being poor lived in the same circumstances I did or worse.

Because bullying isn't really about the victim. It's about the bully and the bystanders who support bullies by remaining silent and saying with their silence that they are ok with bullying... or too afraid to stop it.

We have a cultural opinion of bullying that really contributes to bullying's existence. Not only do we expect it, we put the responsibility of preventing bullying on the victims and potential victims.

Saying that the mother that 'allows' her boy to wear pink shoes is taking part in the bullying that might happen to the child is no different than saying that women in short skirts are complacent should they be raped.

There's a bully and a rapist at fault for either form of assault. But many voices in our society aren't blaming the bully and the rapist.

Same bullshit behind the message. Same awful culture. Same story we've heard a million times, but we hear this particular one more often, which gives me hope.

If people got as down on the parents of bullies as they did on the parents of girls that want to dress as boys and boys that want to dress as girls perhaps this world might be a better fucking place.
lil_insanity 12th-Dec-2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
This is a good comment and you should feel good.
teacup_werewolf 12th-Dec-2012 08:25 pm (UTC)

She then adds, "Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter."


Nice victim blaming there ma'am. Bullies will bully regardless of what the kid is wearing. How about supporting kids expressing themselves and start challenging the bullies who berate them. Stop defending the bullies who harass gender variant children.
nesmith 12th-Dec-2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
I was bullied for wearing sweat pants in school when all the "cool" kids wore jeans. I started wearing jeans, they bullied me for having poofy hair. I cut my hair short and learned to style it, I was bullied for wearing big, dumb-looking glasses. I started leaving my glasses at home, they bullied me for being fat. They just moved from thing to thing to thing and I'm sure had I been able to lose weight at the time they would have found something else to pick on. You don't win against bullies by rolling over and doing what you think they want.
rainbow_fish 12th-Dec-2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
I love how the response to Assholes Who Do Horrible Things is never "teach them how to not be horrible" and always "don't get them things to be horrible about"

See- all the precautions women are told to take to avoid being raped, this, precautions members of the LGBTQIA community are encouraged to take to appear more in line with heteronormative standards, etc etc.
pamelalillian 12th-Dec-2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
ita
kalikahuntress 12th-Dec-2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
Damn the comments really show why many people shouldn't be parents. Ever.
pamelalillian best comment12th-Dec-2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
My kids? Psh. I wouldn't blink twice. My 9yr old son has no shame what-so-ever. Kids have tried to make fun of him for numerous things, and he turns around, looks at them like they're stupid and says "so what?" Can't really argue with that. He's worn pink dress shirts for school pictures, and when a girl told him pink was for girls, he told her "so why aren't you wearing pink?" Then walked off, like a boss.
My youngest son is 3, but man, this kid is a SHIT! I can't imagine what would come out of his mouth if someone made fun of him. The bully would probably end up crying.
My kids never start confrontation. They're sweet natured kids. But living with me, they're all 4 smart-asses, and quick witted. They have no problem handling their own problems.
You have to know your kid, and know what they can take. I DO wish there was no bullying, but it exists. If you're going to let your kid do things that could get them made fun of, you have to know they can handle it, or be pepared to spend 90% of your time at the school dealing with conflict.
otana 12th-Dec-2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
That is an awesome mom and her kids are badass.
angi_is_altered 12th-Dec-2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
People are such dicks! Little girls wear whatever color they want. Colors don't have genders. Shit like this annoys the crap out of me.
nesmith 13th-Dec-2012 12:05 am (UTC)
OT but your icon totally reminds me that in a few days I'll finally have all of DS9, after just a month and a half of waiting and being scammed out of my money and having to get it refunded.
I think most of these idiots would be shocked to learn that pink was once a "male" color.
lil_insanity 12th-Dec-2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
I'm really sick of this victim-blaming bullshit. Remember the little boy who wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween, and all of the horrible comments that people left? :/
umi_mikazuki 12th-Dec-2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Rock those adorable shoes, little boy. Rock them, and anyone that makes fun of you, tells you that you're not supposed to like or wear girl things, or wrings their hands about other people choosing to bully you can go step on legos for the rest of eternity. Barefoot.
the_gabih 12th-Dec-2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
She then adds, "Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter."

So why don't we get said tormentors to shut the fuck up, rather than limiting what the victims are allowed to do? It's not like they're not going to find other reasons to bully you anyway, after all.
sio 12th-Dec-2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
because the victims are causing the problem and if the victims just ~*ignore them*~, they'll magically get bored and go away.

/end recording of victim-blaming rationalization spiel
mephisto5 12th-Dec-2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
Suggest adding transphobia tags as the bullying seems to be focused on the kid not fitting normative gendered roles.
kitanabychoice 12th-Dec-2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Man, I wish I could slap every person who thinks colours have a gender to begin with. My boyfriend wears pink shoes and has pink shirts that he looks fantastic in. Good on that kid and his mom for staying true to themselves.
evewithanapple 12th-Dec-2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Photograph Of Little Boy Wearing Pink Shoes To Preschool Sparks Heated Blogosphere Debate

". . . by people who have nothing better to do."
sio 12th-Dec-2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Mary Fischer,
fuck you and fuck your victim-blaming. a victim can have the newest haircut, the trendiest clothes and everything else...and it doesn't matter. the wrong clothes, pink shoes on a boy, living on the "wrong" side of town--they're all excuses. BULLIES BULLY BECAUSE THEIR VICTIMS DARE TO EXIST.

so again, FUCK. YOU.

unsincerely,
a former victim
nesmith 13th-Dec-2012 12:07 am (UTC)
I second this. Doesn't matter what you do, how you try to fit in--if bullies don't like you, they will fuck with you. Period.
wldrose 12th-Dec-2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
I would like to take a differnt tac on this.

I think that after the mum said in effect "people may say something about this" she did just the right thing, she let her kid pick his battle. She didnt pretend it wasnt going to happen (and I hate that it could) but started teaching him that things often suck and its ok you are brave enough and strong enough to make it though it.

I wish bullying didnt happen I was a kid picked on all though elemtery school, and by JH I just clicked a switch and gave the 70s equivalent of "really" and started to ignore them (well after socking one kid) and it stopped. Standing up for yourself wont change everything but having the tools so you can do it is the best way to deal with it. (and hell ya teachers, and adults, need to make kids who bully pay for what they do)
asrana 13th-Dec-2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
I think that after the mum said in effect "people may say something about this" she did just the right thing, she let her kid pick his battle.
This. Kids love role playing and five is definitely old enough to help him work out what he might say if someone says "pink is for girls" or whatever. Not sending your kid off to school like a lamb to the slaughter doesn't mean wrap them in cotton wool, suffocate their independence and individuality. It means giving them information and trusting them to work stuff out and helping them with that process when they get stuck.
chargingkrogan 12th-Dec-2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
This makes me so fucking angry. smh at the adults that are commenting on this with the exact same attitudes as the child bullies :/ I know these kids have to learn this attitudes from somewhere, but... ugh. As others have stated, victims of bullying can change EVERYTHING about themselves, and it still won't be enough because THEY'RE not the problem, the bully is.
johnjie 12th-Dec-2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
If he gets bullied, like all these concern trolls are going on about, then surely the problem lies not with him but the bullies?

Anyway, that kid is great and can wear whatever he likes.
luminescnece 13th-Dec-2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Precisely.

I'm not on the 'bullies are horrible children who should be penalized to the full extent of my adult brain's imagination' train, but when it comes to bullies: they are children who are so maladjusted that they are lashing out at their peers. However they do it, and however well adjusted they seem in comparison to the victims of bullying... there is often something wrong.

The kids who bullied me had problems. Not the least of which living in a tiny blink-you-miss-it town with rampant inequality because half the people lived there because they were rich enough to live in a beautiful area and half the people lived there because they couldn't afford rent IN town and had to live an hour out of it.

Perhaps another form of concern trolling, but the real fault doesn't fucking lie with children and people lose sight of that.

If our children are responding this way to the institution we put them into for over a decade of their lives during their most vulnerable and formative years, there is something seriously wrong with the institution.

People who study workplace bullying have been looking into the institutional structures that enable, motivate and precipitate bullying. They've been doing this for over a decade.

People who study bullying in schools are starting to. And hopefully this will bring actual change rather than 'wear a pink shirt to fight bullying'.
one_hoopy_frood 12th-Dec-2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Fuck this shit. One of the toddlers in my class loves superheroes and his favorite color is pink. Another loves cars and also loves having his grandmother paint his nails. It has literally never occurred to the other children to suggest those things are "for girls" or tease them over it because it is such a non-issue -- no one has ever mentioned it to them. All of our boys wear princess dress-up heels because they like the noise they make and they're fun to walk in. I hate when people pretend shit like this is just ingrained in human nature when it is 100% socialization.
mskye 12th-Dec-2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
First of all, those zebra print pink shoes are fabulous and the boy rocks them like a boss.

Second of all, here's to hoping that Fox News won't touch this story.
metanoiame 13th-Dec-2012 12:31 am (UTC)
Saw those shoes, loved those shoes. :)
coryrain 13th-Dec-2012 01:56 am (UTC)
You go kid and mom! Let him rock those pink shoes. So many double standards out there now a days. My 3 year old daughter love Star Wars and rocks her X-Wing shirt on a regular basis and no one has ever given me shit about it being a "boys" shirt.
coraki 13th-Dec-2012 02:21 am (UTC)
I saw this floating around on my tumblr.

It stated that he received compliments from other children about the shoes. It was only when she posted the picture on FB did the adults have something to say.

Children are listening it's up to the adults to send the right message.
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