Keep that in mind.
In another school district, in another place (far, far away, of course), another boy's long hair landed him in trouble. This time, apparently, the school district was OK with his hair. His teacher clearly was not.
The eleven-year-old's mother has filed a lawsuit alleging that his sixth-grade teacher pulled his hair into ponytails, re-introduced him to the class using a female name and paraded him to other sixth grade classrooms.
The teacher's behavior was clearly over the line. But what intrigues me the most here is:
- The amount of time, energy and passion invested in boys' hair
- The differing responses
In one case, we have an extremely conservative school district that is apparently OK with a four-year-old boy coming to school with Princess Leia hair. In the other case, a rogue teacher in a more tolerant school district ties a boy's hair up and his parents sue, alleging that the ponytails "caused ... extreme humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress" and that the school "failed to protect him against gender-based harassment."
I don't mean to downplay the pain experienced by either boy. I just find it incredibly ironic that a "girly" hairstyle is the answer in one school district and the problem in another. And as a woman who is also the mother of boys, I am disturbed by the undercurrent: in both cases, adults are imposing notions of masculinity on little boys. In both cases, the clear message is this: Don't be a girl.
Is it possible that our sons, the younger generation, don't feel nearly as confined by typical sex roles as we did? Is it possible that their comfort makes us uncomfortable? I'm eager to hear your thoughts.