Breaking Traditional Gender Roles

Barnaby enjoying his Rainbow Dash hoodie, the only place he feels comfortable wearing it, at home.

Photo courtesy of Sean Williams via Slate.com
Barnaby enjoying his Rainbow Dash hoodie, the only place he feels comfortable wearing it, at home.

by Athena Whitty
Editor in Chief

There has been a flood of news lately over children being bullied for wearing clothing, backpacks or acting outside of what is considered the norm of their gender roles.

Grayson Bruce, age 9, was being bullied over a My Little Pony backpack that he used at school.

After Bruce complained about being bullied over the backpack, Candler Elementary School in Candler, N.C. initially responded by banning the bag. The school has since lifted the ban after complaints reported USA Today’s website.

Bruce is now being homeschooled during mediation between Bruce’s parents and Candler Elementary.  Candler Elementary has said all of their options for Bruce’s return do allow the use of his Rainbow Dash backpack.

“I do feel bullying connected with identity issues is a problem here on campus,” Sarah Rankin, M.A. Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lewis and Clark Community College said.

“LC Pride is for everyone to be who they want to be, and wear what they want to wear,” LC Pride President, Lyn Campbell said.

College campuses have organizations in place for greater acceptance which is great but, the problem starts long before that.

At the young age of seven, Barnaby Williams, already thinks his Rainbow Dash hoodie would cause problems if he wore it to school, Sean Williams, his father said via Slate’s website.

That is far too heavy a burden for someone as young as Barnaby to bear.

Instead of expecting these children to fit a neat preconceived idea of what is a boy or a girl, schools should be creating an open dialogue about acceptance with children at an early age.

“I think talks could start as early as preschool,” Rankin said.

These children who are bullied for being out of traditional gender roles can grow into adults that suffer depression, anxiety or other psychological issues.

It is time to take a step in the right direction, and address the problem head on instead of expecting people to be something they are not.

athenawhitty@yahoo.com