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Pink is Just a Color


A recent Facebook photo of 5-year-old boy wearing pink "girl shoes" ignites controversy over parenting techniques and bullying

Most viral photos and videos pass through the blogosphere without a hitch. They make people laugh and cry and they pepper people's Facebook pages for days, but once those 15 minutes (if you're even that lucky) are up, they essentially disappear from the public's consciousness completely.

Not so much with a recent Facebook photo of a 5-year-old boy wearing pink shoes, which--despite nabbing almost 130,000 Facebook "likes" since it debuted last week--has inspired numerous Internet users to berate the boy's mother for allowing such a thing to occur.

The photo of "Sam," posted by "Have a Gay Day," initially achieved popularity because of the alarming story accompanying it: Apparently, Sam's mother had received lectures from several of her family members on how "wrong" it was to let her son wear girl shoes. (One aunt even claimed "that shit [would] turn him gay.")

Despite the initial outpouring of support for Sam and his mother, however, one blogger--a Mary Fischer--wrote on The Stir that she would never let her own son wear pink shoes because it would subject him to bullying and unfair treatment.

Fischer then went on to add: "Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter."

Understandably, this has sparked a heated argument about parenting techniques and bullying, the most prevalent criticism being that Fischer should worry more about combating bullying rather than merely avoiding it and thus allowing it to continue. (It also reminds us of the infamous J. Crew "Nail Polish-gate" of last year, right?)

You can read Fischer's full post here, but suffice it to say that Fischer's passionate post seems out-of-place in today's world where parents are encouraged more and more to not only cultivate their children's freedom of expression but also fight back against the bullies who threaten to stifle it.

Seems like they may need to get some perspective and take a look at Niki Bhatia's new children's book, Pink is Just a Color and So is Blue. She's also had trouble with her child's school, who won't let her read the book to the class because the principal "does not promote any authors." Or maybe there's more pink bias out there than any of us realized.


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Evan Lambert