School suspends teen boy for carrying purse. Why???

Boy with handbag: a menace to society?

Boy with handbag: a menace to society?

For several weeks, an eighth-grade boy outside of Kansas City has been expressing his individuality by carrying a floral-print Vera Bradley purse. But yesterday, his assistant principal demanded he remove it. The boy refused, and he was immediately suspended from school.

This raises a question: Why is it a problem for a boy to carry a purse instead of a backpack if he wants to? By breaking gender stereotypes, he’s not hurting anyone. Instead, he’s showing the world that he has good self-esteem and self-confidence—that he is secure his identity.

Unfortunately, his school administrators’ actions show that they want to force a 13-year-old kid into stereotypical masculinity. Apparently, they value gender conformity over creativity and individuality.

Follow Rebecca on Facebook and Twitter.

We’ve been seeing fascinating glimpses of boys and young men overturning gender stereotypes in recent years, which often leave people scratching their heads.

There are the Bronies—the fans of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—that have been erroneously judged by some as deviant for enjoying a show intended for young girls.

There was the little boy who wore pink toenail polish in a J. Crew ad—sparking controversy and labeled by some as “propaganda.”

And there was the little boy whose Halloween costume—Daphne from Scooby Doo—resulted in nasty criticism and widespread judgment.

Check out Rebecca’s Lululemon Petition on Change.org.

It’s sad, really. When our society treats anything associated with femininity like a deadly pathogen that threatens masculinity, it tells us three things:

  1. that masculinity must be pretty fragile, to be threatened by something as innocuous as a little nail polish or a floral purse or a kids’ cartoon;
  2. that our culture is still struggling with a strong undercurrent of homophobia, despite much progress in recent years; and
  3. that our culture really has a deep-seated problem with women and girls, to consider anything associated with females repulsive and wrong and deviant when they’re near men. (There is no parallel sense of repulsion when girls enjoy boyish things, like cars or trucks or superheroes, because boys’ things aren’t regarded as inherently degrading.)

I hope that as a society, we very soon reach a point where kids can just be who they are without being squelched by the authority figures around them. Because honestly, I think that boy ROCKS that handbag!

——

Rebecca Hains is a media studies professor at Salem State University. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

267 Comments on “School suspends teen boy for carrying purse. Why???

  1. That boy is a role-model, if you ask me! Good for him…and he does rock that handbag!

    Strange that Superheroes are considered ‘masculine’…I am (and was) one of the girliest girls who ever girled and I LOVE Superheroes! 🙂 I always have! I had giant images of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman on our playroom wall when I was very young and used to love reading my Superhero Dictionary.

  2. Isn’t that a form of bullying? Shame on the administrators for suspending him. They’re certainly not setting a good example of how to behave and accept people for who they really are and not what they WANT them to be. Shame, shame!!!!

    • This may be true, but to be clear, there’s nothing that indicates the boy is gay. Just that he likes carrying a handbag–which does not necessarily mean anything about his sexual orientation.

        • I wear jeans, skirts, dresses, love being a girl and am not ashamed to be. I am as girly as they come as is my life partner Sarah. This boy carrying a handbag gives no indication he is gay. maybe it’s special to him? Maybe he lost his mother or beloved grandmother and he carries it to remember them. Maybe he is autistic or sensory and the bag calms him. Maybe he just likes the dam bag? The problem with people is they judge others from a safe distance and this is a problem today.
          Try to drop your judgmental BS and maybe just maybe open your heart and feel for a child being discriminated against for no other reason than he carries a purse. The big problem here are your ass-umptions about someone you don’t even know. For shame coming from a literate adult.

  3. Both sides are crazy. And I bet the teachers at that school feel they are under paid. Some schools ban kids who bend gender and at the other end there are schools who ban kids who chew their pop-tarts into the shape of a gun. It seems to me that the liberals and the conservatives are fighting over who can be more stupid.

  4. I agree with you about the suspension being undeserved. However, I’d argue that there IS prejudice against girls enjoying “boyish things” — but at the same time, granted, it functions a little differently to reactions to male femininity. Sexism against masculine girls is basically about “putting them in their place” and protecting “male spaces”. Sexism against feminine boys is about the belief that femininity should be beneath them. So they’re both forms of misogyny.

    Also, it’s kind of uncomfortable seeing bronies praised here because — while, yes, they’re an unintended demographic, much like a lot of female gamers — as a group, they’re associated with a lot of horrendous things like blatant misogyny, outright supporting & making light of rape culture, and sexualizing the ponies to the point where it’s not even safe for little girls who are fans of the show to go looking for fanart online. Not every one of them is responsible, but it’s prevalent enough that they don’t deserve to be unconditionally praised, either.

    • Every single fandom has sexualised fanart. Little girls googling for ponies are pretty much in the same position as little girls googling for Sailor Moon.

      • Uh, I don’t think I’d equate the two.

        Then again — does Sailor Moon’s fandom have an equivalent to the molestia debacle?

  5. Pingback: Boys Will Be Boys… | The Achilles Effect

  6. Good on ‘im. Personally I think its cool. Why is it a problem? Kids too all kinds of crazy stuff to their hair and face and stuff which has long term effects. Its just a cool looking bag. I mean really? What’s the problem? Kid if you are out there reading this, good on ya!

    • Well it doesn’t match his outfit so of course he should be suspended! Other than that it is the normal response of males who are not certain of their own gender. My Grandson was suspended for kissing his friend, he was four at the time and in his first week of school.

  7. It’s so sad that a boy expressing himself the way he wants to is seen as disruptive and weird to everyone else. I think the administrators at that school really need to re-evaluate their choices. Thank you for sharing this article!

  8. Pingback: My blog is a Blog of the Day! Thanks, WordPress! | Rebecca Hains

  9. Of all the things going on in tht school, I find it shocking that they chose to target a boy with a Vera Bradley bag.

    • That was my first thought too. This is really the biggest issue at that school? They must be in a very sheltered community. Give the boy his bag and move on, I say.
      BB

  10. I read a few paragraphs into the article. It seems obvious that no students are allowed to wear purses/satchels/backpacks during class. This kid decided the rules didn’t apply to him. Would this be news if it was a girl wearing a purse? If the girl was suspended? It obviously isn’t “bullying”.

    • Interestingly, the info a few paragraphs into the linked article about bags not being allowed during class at all was added *after* I had blogged about it.

  11. A great shame for people who want to make a uniform society without bearing disparity. Ideologies mostly sucks, believe me, I’m living in Iran.

  12. In my opinion, the question is whether or not other students are allowed to carry purses or bags. We were not allowed in my school, so that is why I question. If others are allowed, then this suspension is unjustified. If not, then this is a student simply breaking the rules. We need to know all the facts.

    • That was what I was wondering. Many middle schools have students keep backpacks and other bags in their lockers. If that is the school’s policy, then the suspension would be because of deliberately disobeying a faculty member, not because of being a boy carrying a purse around…

  13. Whether it was against the rules or not, I’ve seen a lot of schools react in this way whenever they are put under discomfort.It is as if they think to themselves-“let us suspend the boy while we think it over.Is this going to cause everyone wearing purses to school tomorrow.If we suspend him,we set an example and prevent him from establishing a precedent.”
    The school is given the face of a hard and uncompromising stern old monarch and the child can no longer think of school in the same way-As a place to learn and share the values in life that make us who we are.

  14. My youngest son, aged 14, is a brony. I’m going to level with you: I would not have chosen this for him. But I am standing back and giving him all the room he wants to do and explore this. It doesn’t hurt anyone and it seems to bring him a lot of pleasure. It also gives him a group into which he fits. He was in hog heaven this summer with fellow brownies at the big gaming convention held annually in my city.

    • Good on you. As parents, that’s often the toughest part of our job–giving our kids room to explore their identities. I’m glad he’s found a community.

  15. Wow, what a reason to suspend a kid. That’s pretty ridiculous. Gender conformity is a real nuisance and I’m glad you put together this post. Thanks.

  16. I wouldn’t of considered this to be at all feminine if it weren’t pointed out. It seems like a pretty standard bag to me, just with a twist of some excellent fine artistry something that stands out among the minimalistic bold coloured designs. I’d say this fourteen year old has excellent taste.

    I find it absolute insanity that this is a gender issue.

  17. I have to admit that I used to have a serious issue when it came to this topic. To the point where I would not where as much as a pink men’s dress shirt. Since I have had kids (two boys and a girl) I have little to no issue with people who break the gender walls down. My oldest son will be five soon and he likes purple and pink PJs. If I were to see that boy now the “handbag” would never have registered unless it was pointed out and even then i could care less.
    The only time things like this concern me is the reactions other may have to my kids if they choose to forgo the stereotypes. As for that thought we try our best to tech them to hold on to what they care about and not care about what others think.

  18. In Japan, women and men are carrying almost the same looking purses. This would considered a typical teenage boy there. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

  19. The fact that he is comfortable enough in his masculinity by wearing a handbag and they are insecure in their own masculinity by being threatened by that shows that he his already more man than any of them, its a shame that gender has to be defined by social expectations, I’m a man not because of what i do but because i happened to be born so, and anything i do is manly, well because I’m a man. Quite simple really, although personally i would never wear a handbag i would never judge anyone that would, unless it was a fake of course 🙂

  20. The original news story tells a pretty ambiguous tale with a lot of different points. Seems like everyone is choosing their Outrage of Choice, dogpiling whomever they have decided is to blame, and ignoring all facts that contradict their conclusion. I’m all for anybody wearing pretty much anything to school–I mean, who cares, really? Not the kids–but it could turn out that all we’ve got here is a mouthy teen who broke a school rule and is letting a frenzied nation call it discrimination because it serves his purposes.

    What if a different boy broke a school rule about wearing hats in class, refused to remove it, cussed out an instructor, and then got suspended–would that story go viral? What about if it was revealed that the boy was gay? OK, now how about it the hat was pink? Exactly when does the typical teenage rebellion suddenly become a gigantic sociopolitical statement? When do you decide to rally around a young individual’s freedom of choice and when do you step back and say, “Hey, there are rules out there, dude, deal with it.” How many other school rules do you suppose kids could wiggle out of simply by waving a rainbow flag at the last minute and claiming prejudice?

    Ask yourself this: were you there in the room with this kid and the school administrator when the foul language was uttered and the suspension occurred? No? Then leave it to his lawyer.

    • I might add that gay rights, which I have and will always vote for, will not be favorably advanced if people use it as a get out of jail free card. If you break a law, get caught, get punished, and scream “Foul! Discrimination!” you are demanding the same kind of bent justice that you have been fighting against all along. Only this time, you’re fighting against yourself.

  21. Good post! It is important to raise awareness about things like this. If the girls at this school is allowed to wear bags like this I think it’s horrible not to let the boys.

  22. He totally rocks the hand bag! And I hat the idea that anyone has to conform to a specific gender model.

    I think we’ll see more and more breaking out of gender conformity, though, and I think it is very good forward motion.

  23. Hypocrisy. Blasting the assistant principle for upholding male stereotypes. Then presenting just as bigoted a defense of obverse stereotypes. I wore a dog collar when I was high school. I also ran for Homecoming Queen. My mother and the principle of my high school conspired to remove my name from the ballot the day before the election. Because I had the election won.

    Now…. The irony….

    That was Fall of 1976 in rural Mississippi. The Free State of Jones. I am Southern Christian and Conservative. No one questioned my masculinity and my sexuality was never at issue. I was already President of the Senior Class and the Student Council as well as State President of the Beta Club, a scholastic honor society. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t irrate. I realized that my actions embarrassed my mother and many people in my school and my community. I wasn’t doing it to make a point. I was doing it to make a joke. And to poke fun at cultural norms. I also wore a dog collar I made in Independent Living class and sewed a kaftan that was the envy of many. As was my Afro. And, yes, I’m white.

    If the young man wished to display his individuality, that’s great. If he can stand up to the ridicule of having an independent mind.

    Respect ALL people’s right to express their own opinions, even if they differ from your own and your cliques. Even if you cannot understand their values. Even if you disagree. Do so respectfully.

  24. I would hope you would all express the same outrage when a school sanctions a child for wearing conservative or religious T Shirts, want to wish one another a Merry Christmas and talk or do a report on Christmas or Easter or even want to pray at the school. It seems that so called adults in the educational system (including some parents) are bullying everyone and anyone they don’t agree with on all sides.

    One thing to consider and which was intentionally ignored is if the school has a dress code. If the school has a dress code or policy it would be wise to make sure that the kids follow it – like it or not because when they get into the real world their bosses will not be so concerned about hurting their feelings or allowing them to express their individuality. American schools are actually geared to homogenous behaviors and practices – it’s not the Haight. Perhaps schools will evolve one day but anarchy may hurt the educational system in some cases.
    It is unfortunate this kid feels persecuted (real or not). It always feels good to stand up for your rights but if it is simply a matter of dress code – it would be a good life lesson for him to register his objection and follow the rules or explore another school alternative. I believe we are ruining our kids when we teach them to be disobedient to lawful authority. Just my 2 cents.
    When he gets to college he can wear a purse without any problems.

    • So I guess it would be OK with you, as well, to express outrage for kids to be allowed to wear shirts with pentagrams, pentacles, crescent and star, and pictures of Shiva, or even a Baphomet. If you include one, you include all.

  25. Reblogged this on Wright-Wang Extreme Mystery, Inc. and commented:
    Hypocrisy. Blasting the assistant principle for upholding male stereotypes. Then presenting just as bigoted a defense of obverse stereotypes. I wore a dog collar when I was high school. I also ran for Homecoming Queen. My mother and the principle of my high school conspired to remove my name from the ballot the day before the election. Because I had the election won.

    Now…. The irony….

    That was Fall of 1976 in rural Mississippi. The Free State of Jones. I am Southern Christian and Conservative. No one questioned my masculinity and my sexuality was never at issue. I was already President of the Senior Class and the Student Council as well as State President of the Beta Club, a scholastic honor society. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t irrate. I realized that my actions embarrassed my mother and many people in my school and my community. I wasn’t doing it to make a point. I was doing it to make a joke. And to poke fun at cultural norms. I also wore a dog collar I made in Independent Living class and sewed a kaftan that was the envy of many. As was my Afro. And, yes, I’m white.

    If the young man wished to display his individuality, that’s great. If he can stand up to the ridicule of having an independent mind.

    Respect ALL people’s right to express their own opinions, even if they differ from your own and your cliques. Even if you cannot understand their values. Even if you disagree. Do so respectfully.

    • I enjoyed reading your take and your story. Thanks for sharing. I wish there were more people in the world like you that had the courage to stand up and make a point.

      • Thank you.

        Just thought someone needs to stand up and say… “Hey…. Can we get a little REAL equality here…?”

        We are ALL humans and we are ALL flawed. So we ALL need to forgive because we ALL need forgiveness.

  26. We, as a society, are far less tolerant than we like to pretend. Gender conformity is encouraged and expected. Boys play with Tonka, girls with Barbie. Period. As the mother of tomboy, I can tell you from experience that there is widespread discrimination out there. My daughter likes having short hair, and from the age of 15 months (when she discovered skirts make it difficult to climb stairs), she wanted nothing to do with a dress. She likes sports, the color blue, and getting dirty. For this, she has been teased, ostracized, and belittled.

    Great post. Though the news that inspired it is aggravating, I enjoyed reading your take on it.

    • I am in agreement with this statement. Our society fears anything we don’t understand. If we don’t understand it, we automatically dismiss it as “bad” or “wrong” and seek to make an example. It arises from people’s own insecurities.It is easier to deflect our insecurities and problems on other people rather than face ourselves.

      While I personally would choose not to wear a handbag, this young man doing so is not bothering me or anyone else. If he wants to wear it and express himself by doing so, go for it!

  27. I agree with you, it’s strange that a few guys bucking the system is getting such a reaction. Personally, I could care less if a man wants to indulge his girly side. After all, I’m a huge Sailor Moon fan. Is that such a problem that the world will collapse if I continue liking Sailor Moon?

  28. I’m confused on how they would even be allowed to suspend someone over carrying a purse. Male or female I’m still not understanding how that would even make any sense?? How is the assistant principal going to justify his reasoning for suspending a kid for carrying a purse?? What the hell has this world come to??

  29. I agree with this blog. The media bombards everyone with images of gender stereotypes, resulting in the intolerance of anyone being anything different from what they are ‘expected’ to be. My advice to this boy would be to carry on what he is doing, regardless of what his ‘superiors’ might say because, though some might not have noticed, the Earth is beginning to change, this will be our biggest chance to change too- this will be the chance to build a new better world where we encourage creativity and no longer have use for war and politics. A world where we are in harmony with each other and nature. The new generation is only the start, for with each new generation comes new ideas, anew way of looking at things, it would be a tragedy to lose this new generation to the advertisements of who you ‘should’ be.

  30. When the phrase “don’t be such a girl” is a commonly accepted derogatory statement, I think it’s pretty obvious that society considers the approx 50% of the population that carries the redundant “X” chromosome to be lesser creatures than those that carry that “Y” chromosome…this is just another example.

  31. I think this is a cultural thing. As a chinese-canadian, I see male members in my family with purses because it is considered masculine in our culture. Read about it here: http://morganlmallory.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/chinas-man-purse-mystery%EF%BC%9Asolved/

    However, many of my male friends in Canada refuse to even carry a one-shoulder bag around unless it’s a grocery bag or messenger backpack. It’s unfortunate, imo, that men and women are judged by their accessories and that there are these standards on what you should or should not have. By doing so, our society is really limiting ourselves and our potentials

  32. Role model, I don’t see it.

    I wouldn’t suspend the boy.
    You watch school kids now days and its almost anything goes piercings pink hair.
    I wouldn’t say someone who has to dress up like it is Halloween every day is a role model.
    Would you say a punker or a skin head or a Goth is role model?
    So why would I say some boy who needs to carry a purse around is a role model.
    A lot of these kids I would say they have issues to be honest.

    I would need to know a lot more about this boy before I would pass or have any kind of opinion.
    Maybe he is screaming for attention. How does that qualify as a role model?

    • How is he screaming for attention? The young man decided he wanted to wear that bag to school, there was no harm in it. He’s a role model for not giving in, for saying no and being who he is.

      • Even negative attention is attention,

        Why do you think so many girls are dyeing their hair blue and purple and pink with piercings, It is not cute blonde little Barbie girls doing it, for the most part its overweight sort of plane Jane girls doing it. They need to stand out from the back.
        When your nobody any attention even negative attention works.

    • I would say anyone “different” would qualify as a role model. It shows the ability to both think for yourself and to define yourself in a manner of your own choosing rather than taking everything at face value and fitting into the great herd of common sheeple in this world. Forced conformity to so-called “norms” discourages everyone from living a truly full life and mars creative and experiential potential. Sometimes it even brings out the worst by repressing individuality to the point that someone actually snaps after years of being pushed through the unifying meat grinder of society and massacres a few people.
      Encouragement of individuality and creativity, on the other hand, gives us brilliant and groundbreaking scientists, artists, writers, and so many more in greatly varied fields of study. You can’t teach a child to be just like every other child and still achieve his/her best potential. Children are as different from one another as a cat is from a lion.
      Our “bully problem” shows exactly these principles at work in our schools today. Not every kid can be Dirk Squarejaw, star of the HS football team, any more than every kid can be Anna D. Nogginmelin, the slight but incredibly scientifically oriented girl that never studies yet even gets the extra credit on top of her perfect test score. Neither of these kids is lesser than the other, simply differing in aptitudes. Thus, a boy carrying a ladies purse or a girl in camo BDU’s most certainly CAN be role models.

      • Anyone different qualifies as a role model.
        No I don’t think so.
        There is a bad sort of different a jail is full of people who are different. So is a mental hospital.
        Just being different isn’t enough.
        Being different can mean your screaming for attention or your so different your dysfunctional.

        Not sure in this case, I wouldn’t suspend him, but not even close to being a role model.

        A role model can also be a guy who raises a family and is completely normal and works for like forty years of his life raising a family working like overtime and two jobs so his kids can play hockey or go to a good school.
        Wearing a purse for a guy seems on the face of it rather self centered actually,

  33. im glad he is carrying a handbag and not a gun! What a ridiculous reason for expulsion. It is sad sad sad…that the principle can feel so threatened by nonconforming self identity expression.

  34. Great post. There is so much pressure on boys to maintain this persona of masculinity and anything that doesn’t fall into it is condemned. It is very sad. Like we don’t want caring, sensitive, artistic men in our world. Just as we shouldn’t pigeon-hole girls in Disney Princess, Barbie, virgin/whore complexes so we shouldn’t pigeon-hole men either into hyper aggressive, unemotional, sadistic James Bond types. We know that we discriminate against men socially for any supposed feminine qualities but to actually punish them! That is a whole different level of sadism and fascism! I’m pleased I found this article. I’ve been formulating thoughts on masculinity for a while so maybe this will coagulate it all together. Well Done!

    • Like I said before, the idea of masculinity is very different in each culture. For the chinese, men with purses are considered masculine. We can’t really advance as a society until we break these social barriers

      • I agree Alisa, the only way we can move forward as a society is if we learn to accept people for who they are.

  35. Reblogged this on Mental Candy From Strangers and commented:
    I saw this post, but as I usually do, try to get other sources of information. Oftentimes, one can hear a story on the Internet that is rather pointed and emotionally charged. Discrimination, unfortunately, is alive and well in the world; however, so is misinformation. I don’t support the idea that any rule should be selectively enforced. However, I read from other articles that this issue had more to do with the fairly ubiquitous limitation of students not having bags in the class room. In the wake of all of the school shootings, administrations and school districts are compelled to create and enforce additional rules to keep everyone safe. I would hope that this is the honest case of applying safety, rather than school administrators getting tangled up in the social construct of gender.

    So, my words of wisdom to the masses on the Internet who are not privy to all of the details of cases like this; be careful applying your zeal to what could be any number of issues.

    • If that is the case then all the school has to do is show that they also don’t let the girls carry purses.

  36. While this could be a veiled case of homophobia….or the school administration getting tangled up in the social contruct of gender roles; I got the impression with other articles about this case that it had to do more with not letting students having bags in the classroom.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support this story as presented. The school administration argument to prevent this boy from carrying a purse, while letting girls carrying is indefensible. However, the Internet is an excellent source of misinformation. I am guessing that all of the information for this is not being presented. Just sayin’.

  37. “…that our culture really has a deep-seated problem with women and girls, to consider anything associated with females repulsive and wrong and deviant when they’re near men.”
    I do agree that gender stereotyping is bad, but I don’t exactly agree with this. There are times when women aim or have aimed to do things that had been previously restricted to men, for example voting, but there hasn’t been a time when men aimed to do things restricted to women. Of course, that was influenced by the former male-controlled society, but that’s not really existent today. I’d think it’s about the uncomfortability that results from something that hasn’t been done before, as was the uncomfortability that resulted when woman started wearing pants, or a case of general homophobia (which although is not the same as breaking gender barriers, is often associated with it).

  38. That principal had nothing more important to worry about? Was he bullying other kids,no.Was he caught smoking weed,no. Did he continually cut classes,no. Did he steal from someone,no. that principal should be fired.

  39. This story is sad but in many ways it is wonderful…. It is wonderful that a child so young possessed the courage to be himself. It is wonderful that a child so young possessed the courage to stand up for what he believes is right. It is sad that this ever had to happen to this kid but I hope that this story will bring wonderful change. To everyone out there, keep being yourselves and keep loving who you are because you are wonderful just the way you are.

  40. Good for the boy for being ok with crossing the ‘norm’ to do as he likes. And I always wonder where boys and men are supposed to carry stuff!

  41. It is just mind boggling for me to image that there are people that are so narrow minded. Living in a quite liberal area (Seattle), it is easy to forget that not everyone has the same level of acceptance.
    All I can do is sit here and shake my head…

  42. The link given in the blog entry gives a genuine reason for the suspension:
    “They can bring (bags and purses) to school. There’s no policy against that. But the classroom rules are that they can’t bring it to the classroom.”

    He wasn’t suspended for his gender identity or creativity but for failure to obey the rules but for insubordination. LGBTQ rights do not give extraordinary rights to anyone.

    As for the boy and his protective mother, I think they can get enough schoolgirls to support their claim that girls are allowed purses to the classroom. If they have been wronged, they should go to the courts instead of being publicity-whores.

    • Oublicity is the only thing that will shame this school into doing something. Important pieces you seem to have missed. He has been carrying this since august when school started. They waited 11 weeks to act. Then they act and say well its a long standing unwritten rule and the school admits it’s NOT in the student handbook. Big problem for the school. So i hope the weight of the publicity makes the school make this right.

  43. Good for the boy to say “no” to his administrator. There is no reason for a boy or girl to be suspended for not following gender norms.

  44. brilliant post, opens up many perspectives, it’s nice to have someone talk about this topic. I myself have pink braces (i’m a guy) just to prove that really, nobody gives a damn. Congratulations on being freshly pressed! Thanks.

  45. Great post. If a boy wants to express his individuality why shouldn’t he be able to? Why is it necessary for the principal to then suspend him based upon the type of bag he was wearing? Isn’t that a form of bullying? I think it’s great that he doesn’t want to be part of gender ‘norms.’ I don’t believe he is any less masculine for it or should the principal have made it look like it should be something he should be ashamed of by asking him to remove it. There is so much pressure on boys to articulate a masculine, ‘macho man’ persona and it confines them to only be able to act in one way and it’s unfair. This young man isn’t hurting anyone by wearing this purse so why should he remove it? This shows people in society are still being homophobic and clearly shows that society has some definite insecurities. I say good on him for saying no and being who he is! So many of us are pushed into being a certain way because of our gender, me included. We need to stop caring less about what people think, this boy is an inspiration to many.

  46. Reblogged this on The Mongoose Tales and commented:
    It truly is a shame that the world we live in, however advance we think it may be, is still so conservative. In India, it’s apparent, but even around the world, homophobia and gender conformity exists very evidently. I do hope it all changes soon, and we can accept people for who they are. I admire this guy, it takes some real guts and commitment to his cause to wear a purse around school. I wear pink braces for the exact same reason- to prove that sexism and homophobia is still at large. I am honestly considering taking after this guy and buying myself a purse to put my stuff in, only problem is, that carrying the bag around in my hand would be pretty inconvenient. Great post, great story.

  47. It’s so sad, the way people react to such situations. It is a lot worse in India. It is ridiculous the way children and even adults are made to stick to the stereotypes and made to do what pleases the society.

  48. Pingback: School suspends teen boy for carrying purse. Why??? | A barbaric YAWP across the Web

  49. Regardless of any gender stuff, it is an awesome patterned fabric, why can’t he think so and show it? Don’t we as a society (& species) have bigger things to deal with than this?

  50. That boy is not a menace to society but a role model he is showing that he is not afraid to be different and that there should be no stereo types for anybody and that everybody should choo

  51. we do totally view purses with boys as different… wonder if that school allows girls to carry purses? was it really just the ‘look of it, because if so, that is ridiculous and anti-educational in my opinion

  52. I think half the story may be distorted… always from the liberal side of things. You should ask yourself, why is this boy carrying a purse?

    • Who cares why he carries it. It doesn’t violate the rules as stated in the student handbook. Why do you carry a wallet? Your pocket does fine for money. Same question and yet just as irrelevant.

  53. I would like to say first, there is nothing in the article that states he is gay, yes that is a colorful bag and he hasn’t gotten his big boy voice yet, but that does not make you gay. Secondly, if you read or watch the actual article, they say that there has been a rule for 10 years in the school about taking bags into the classroom. They are to be left in lockers.
    I love fighting the system that tells us what to do, but I see nothing but sensationalism in this article. “Why is it a problem for a boy to carry a purse instead of a backpack if he wants to” according to the article these are both not allowed in the classroom. Nice attempt at making mountains out of molehills.

    • The original linked article contained nothing about a policy on handbags at lockers. Their article has been updated and expanded since I made my post. But thanks for accusing me of reckless sensationalism! Fun times. 🙂

    • From the article:
      “She said she reviewed the student handbook but did not see a mention to bags or purses. She questions the suspension and the timing. “

      NOTE: student handbook says NOTHING about no purses or bags in classrooms.
      “Skyler has been going to school since August with that same Vera Bradley bag on, hasn’t taken it off. What is the problem?” she asked.
      NOTE: This is November and they waited 2 ½ to 3 months to enforce a policy that isn’t even in the handbook??
      “In response to Blome’s comments Thursday, Willis told KCTV5 that the bag rule should be a formal part of the student handbook so that there is no confusion. “
      NOTE: School admits the policy IS NOT in the student handbook. Hmmm sounds like an unwritten EXCUSE to me not any form of long standing policy.

      So we know there is no formal policy, it doesn’t exist in the student handbook, it doesn’t violate dress code and they waited 11 weeks before suddenly enforcing this unwritten policy. Yeah it smells in here the school is lying and piling on the BullShat!

  54. What only happened to that principal outside Kansas City…? There was a time nobody would carry a backpack, girls and boys came to school with bags similar to the one that 13-year-old kid is carrying, those bags came in red, blue, white, green or whatsoever. Oh, I forgot to say that this was in Europe, 50 years ago and at Kindergarten…

  55. Man, that bums me out. He probably already had to deal with his peers getting on his case, and now he finds out not even the adults are on his side.

  56. So-called “Messenger Bags” seem to be very common. I believe by the time I entered Sixth Form, the students with messenger bags outnumbered the students with conventional backpacks by a significant margin. To me, the purse in question appears to simply be one of these, and consequently I can’t understand how it is in any way objectionable.

  57. This is so not right. I would be in court with that principal. That is unlawful, everyone has their rights. This is America. This goes right along with the sexual orientation problems we are facing in society today, and I have to say, it just makes me sick to my stomach.

  58. Perhaps some of you should read the full article. The issue was not that a boy wanted to wear a purse. The suspension had nothing to do on gender & sexuality at all! It happened because no student (male or female) were allowed bags/purses in the classroom and this teen refused to store his in his locker during class!! Try to think critically and educate yourself before jumping to the worst conclusions!

    Dont get me wrong, I think it’s great he wants to carry a ‘man bag’ to express himself…. doesnt matter if he is are straight or gay.

    “Anderson County School District Superintendent Don Blome said Thursday that he could not discuss the specific case because of privacy concerns. However, he said all students, whether female or male, are prevented from having bags, purses, satchels and backpacks in the core classrooms like English and math. The bags must be stored in lockers during class time, he said”

    • Seems you missed some of the full article here are important pieces for you.

      From the article:
      “She said she reviewed the student handbook but did not see a mention to bags or purses. She questions the suspension and the timing. “

      NOTE: student handbook says NOTHING about no purses or bags in classrooms.

      “Skyler has been going to school since August with that same Vera Bradley bag on, hasn’t taken it off. What is the problem?” she asked.

      NOTE: This is November and they waited 2 ½ to 3 months to enforce a policy that isn’t even in the handbook??

      “In response to Blome’s comments Thursday, Willis told KCTV5 that the bag rule should be a formal part of the student handbook so that there is no confusion. “

      NOTE: School admits the policy IS NOT in the student handbook. Hmmm sounds like an unwritten EXCUSE to me not any form of long standing policy.

      So we know there is no formal policy, it doesn’t exist in the student handbook, it doesn’t violate dress code and they waited 11 weeks before suddenly enforcing this unwritten policy. Yeah it smells in here the school is lying and piling on the BullShat!

  59. Parents should be proud for his courage to that. What the school is going to do about it? It is not in the student habdbook. Come on ! That it is not an issue. Leave him alone. And about the boy who wore the Daphne costume. Are they going to penalized all Halloween followers and tell them you can not wear a costume that doesnt represent your sex. It is ridicolous.

  60. It really is sad that boys aren’t allowed to express themselves in whatever way they chose, when girls are basically applauded for doing the same thing.

  61. I don’t know that masculinity is that fragile, maybe with men who are afraid to be seen as anything other than cave men. I think the problem is that a society drunk on the idea that conformity is some how going to spark a golden age, that we are somehow more morally corrupt now because we have freedom to dare to be different that any threat to that is politicised.
    Poor boy, all he did was war the wrong kind of bag, I agree he utterly rocks it.

  62. You also have to wonder to what degree children have rights here. There’s no way anyone could say anything about my bag, or my husband’s bag, let alone make us leave a place because they don’t like it. Where on earth does that principal get off telling this boy to leave school and be deprived of his education? It’s ludicrous. And my guess is that that same principal makes that same boy say every morning that there is liberty and justice for all. Ugh. Well, that’s my little rant.

  63. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 56: When It Comes To Cockneys, You’re Down On Your Knees | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  64. Reblogged this on Seattle Stay at Home Dad and commented:
    This is another example of the harmful messages children are being sent everyday. It’s no wonder so many kids grow up with self-esteem issues. They are being taught that it’s not okay to be who they want to be.

  65. Well done Rebecca a fascinating blog or rather; an interesting blog on gender identity and stereotypes with fascinating follow up comments and arguments.

    • Why does different need counseling?

      Who are you or anyone to determine “normal”. Further more normal also means mundane no normal person has ever done anything exceptional. I will take being abnormal, weird, freak or any of the names I’ve been called any day of the week over being mundane. Did this boy’s action(s) harm anyone else? The only answer is no so why would he need counseling? Maybe you worry he is or will become gay? So what if he does or is. I am sick of people judging others like this. I’ve been judged the same all my life and honestly it’s hurtful and bullying. Think about how proud your mom is you bullied a little kid.

  66. Great post, idiot assistant principal. The kid is setting a local trend. Tell the idiot AP to visit Europe sometime…that fashion is standard fare here!

  67. Not knowing the full background of this young man I can still say the school was wrong in its reaction. He may be expressing femininity or simply following the neo-Hippy fashion popular amongst the young. Either way, restore the handbag/bookbag.

  68. How sad it is that boys are still being force fed the dogma of male superiority, and being criticized for liking anything female-linked.
    I think that young man showed serious spine telling his school jerk that “No” he would not remove the bag. I hope his parents support his choice.

  69. When I was in high school (1950s), I went to a rural school set amid cornfields, and many of us were farm kids. One day two students from the suburban housing development showed up wearing blue jeans, and they were banned from classes immediately. The principal considered blue jeans to be mocking farm work. There could be a number of reasons for the school banning the boy with purse; and your blog would be better served if there were a fuller account of the school’s reasoning…though I agree with you that the reasoning is most likely rooted in bias and gender stereotype

  70. A boy from my high school wore a dress, that he looked really good in, to his senior prom. The principal lost it saying that he knew that the boy was trying to make a statement by wearing the dress, and he was making a statement by not allowing it. His dress was the most conservative dress i was that night and no one but the principal had a problem with it. Isn’t that some backwards Texas logic?

  71. My take is that it’s more than a purse. It is a badge of self-expression and representation of defiance. Adults don’t always know how to handle a young person who can communicate their ideas and beliefs through words, clothes, or art. Imagine what a teacher, principal, or other education figure head would do when a student chooses not to abide by all the rules. It’s much easier when the nonconformity actually leads to injury or a law broken because there’s less grey area, less need for discussion.
    But when no bones are broken, no reputations are ruined, no blood flows (as far as relevant parties can determine) and a rule is ignored, then it’s not okay anymore. It’s freak-out time.

  72. It’s pretty sad when something so meaningless is turned into some derrogatory girly shaming point… Regarding girls, however, I have a girl who enjoys the ‘boy stuff’ and although it is not looked at in revulsion, she has been told she should have been a boy. Now, way I look at it; that’s wrong. If she would rather the interest of a remote control car to make up and barbie dolls, then that’s her choice. I like make up, but then, I’m not her…

  73. What I find interesting is that the conversation on gender symbols becomes an issue only when diverse student populations are thrown into the picture, not when the population is homogeneous. On the one hand, it’s great to see that this boy was willing to wear a handbag to school — it shows that at some level, people are starting to feel more comfortable mixing gender symbols and that more diverse gender identities (that is, affiliations with gender symbols that do not adhere strictly to biological sex) are creeping their way into the system. On the other hand, it shows that society is not ready to fully accept this new-found diversity, and that the discomfort created pushes new rules to be enforced to avoid the conversation on flexible gender identities. The rules are enforced as a negative reaction to diversity, yet at the same time, the fact that this diversity is manifesting itself (and that this blog post / conversation exists) is promising.

  74. It isn’t a “hand”bag… It is a “Man”bag… people… gesh they (anyone wanting to squelch this young man) needs to check themselves. Conformity does not breed individuality which fosters creativity which then goes forward to produce inventions we have not even considered yet. Tell him that he has an army rooting him on to be himself, authentically.

  75. He looks good in that handbag! I’m serious. So what if he wants to use that bag? No one should just judge him. And that bag made him interesting. What’s his name, anyway?

  76. My son (age 4) wanted to be a princess fairy for Halloween. My response was to get him the glitteriest pair of wings I could find.

    I can’t imagine doing anything less for him if he wished to carry a purse around at school when he got older.

  77. I believe a punishment and persistent demand for this child’s accessory choice removal is far fetched. While gals can sport men’s clothing and becomes of a new fashion trend, cut our hair short and act as we’d like, we are not corrected. For men, it differs because it is shocking to those who do not like change. Face it, the world is changing! People are no longer shy to express their personalities since Lady Gaga and since this new generation was birthed, giving more rights to tattoos in the places of employment and what not. I do not believe this repulsive; it doesn’t compliment his outfit by any means, but as a girl has right to dress in baggy, male clothing and cut her hair short, this boy could be funny, get to know himself, express himself just fair as he pleases. Teachers have got to get over it. Change is here, every one is different. If it is for religious constraint..they can pray. For prayer moves mountains and God’s will be done; not your own.

  78. I’ve always wondered if, in my life time, I’ll see the day where things like these aren’t a big deal. Why is it everyone elses business how a person chooses to carry or express themselves? If it’s uncomfortable, look away and don’t associate with that person. Either that or get over it. But, unfortunately, that’s way too much to ask. When I was little, I wanted to play hockey. My grandmother enrolled me in cheerleading instead. My cousin allowed me to play football and rugby with him and his friends, but we had to keep it a secret. Ugh, it drives me crazy.

  79. I say let it play out. When he realizes how cumbersome and annoying a purse is, he’ll ditch it. He’s holding on to it so he can be all individual and a rebel. Schools should know that already.

  80. We still don’t know enough detail about the incident to make an informed reaction. When told to remove the handbag, did the boy respond with “I won’t” or “I can’t”? If he said, “I can’t”, then suspending him is wrong. The principal required of him something that was beyond his ability to carry out. If the boy replied, “I won’t”, then he was defying a recognized authority issuing a valid demand, and he got punished for it. Many people have jumped to the conclusion that this is about gender stereotyping. Perhaps not…the principal is innocent until someone shows that gender stereotyping is the reason for the boy’s suspension, and that the boy did not willfully defy constituted authority. Sorry to sound so harsh, but school is for teaching lessons that will come in handy later in life.

  81. All true, but you are mistaken on one point; point three parenthetical statement. Have you ever been a lesbian serving in the military? That is where you will find true hatred of women who step out of the female “role”. My daughter lived that horror and is still paying the price today.

  82. This is just ridiculous! I mean I am all for boys trying to be more masculine, but suspending someone for wearing a purse is a bit crazy. I feel like school systems are starting to gain too much power power over kids.

  83. Pingback: :::Growls at WordPress:::: | herlander-walking

  84. well i think he rocks it too!! this totally does not warrant a suspension, let alone criticism of it in the first place – no one’s gettin’ hurt – its just a purse – ridiculous! Great post, it would seem that the female of the species is apparently something to be allergic to alright!!

  85. First of all I love Vera Bradley, but that’s beside the point. I’ve been raised to not judge peoples decisions so naturally when I see a male doing something considered ‘feminine’ I just look past it and think that must be their preference. I love what you said about masculinity being fragile if it feels threatened by something as innocuous as a little nail polish or a floral purse or a kids’ cartoon, I think that will really put things in perspective for those who judge too fast. It takes a confident person to be different, so I say props to them. People should learn not to judge people so harshly, there are all different types of people in the world and you need them all to make the world go round.

  86. I completely agree that the boy in that picture rocks haha! I think you made an interesting point there about masculinity as being fragile. I feel that in today’s society if any guy portray a non stereotypical image, many people will feel the urge to question. Hopefully society can overlook this problem because it limits individual’s personal growth.

  87. My husband carries a “man-bag”, and loves having it. We both often wonder why it is okay for me to have a place to carry all my things, and not him? Regardless, it is just plain not a school issue.

  88. Good post, Rebecca! Thanks for writing it and bringing it to people’s attention.

    You and your readers may be interested in reading Lori Durion’s book, “Raising My Rainbow” and her blog of the same name (http://raisingmyrainbow.com/) in which she discusses raising a gender non-conforming or gender creative child.

    Cheers!

  89. If a guy wants to carry a purse he should be allowed to. He is just expressing his individuality.

  90. I would consider that bullying. That administrator has got lots of hate towards himself now. This young boy is just trying to express himself and in the process he gets suspended. 😦

    • He also now gets all the comments like we have seen here. “He is gay”, type comments, what if he isn’t gay no where in the story did they say he was but some of these comments and you know the parents and child are hearing those same things now. Agreed the administration is bullying this child and badly.

  91. I can’t love what you have said here enough. I was particularly moved when you asked your readers to consider the “fragility” of human masculinity. Brilliant. I had never thought of this this way.

    I have often found myself offended by the ideas that throwing, running or acting “like a girl” are supposed to be shameful. But, it is apparently acceptable to be strong “like a boy.”

    This all sucks.

  92. I can’t love what you have said here enough. I was particularly moved when you asked your readers to consider the “fragility” of human masculinity. Brilliant. I had never thought of this this way.

    I have often found myself offended by the ideas that throwing, running or acting “like a girl” are supposed to be shameful. But, it is apparently acceptable to be strong “like a boy.”

    This all sucks.

  93. I can’t love what you have said here enough. I was particularly moved when you asked your readers to consider the “fragility” of human masculinity. Brilliant. I had never thought of this this way.

    I have often found myself offended by the ideas that throwing, running or acting “like a girl” are supposed to be shameful. But, it is apparently acceptable to be strong “like a boy.”

    This all sucks.

  94. people deserve to be who they want to be, not what society tells them to be. as glee once told me me “All great changes come from people who refused to get used to what was accepted but wasn’t right. Slavery, gay rights, New Coke.” this kid should feel proud of what he did

  95. This is absolutely horrendous but in a way it’s a good thing to have happened because all the publicity is highlighting how wrongly the school acted. I just hope that the poor boy doesn’t now feel as though he has to change who he is.

  96. I wonder if they would suspend a Fijian dressed in sulu? The sulu, which Fijian men and boys wear, looks like a skirt. There are other cultures also where men wear “skirts” and there is nothing to it.

  97. When I was in high school we had a boy kicked out of school for wearing makeup and trying out to be apart of the Flag team. The adminstrative said he was doing it to casue problems in school and that he had some sort of mischievous plan behind his actions. In reality however, he wore makeup because that’s who he was and wanted to be and he tried out for the Flag team because he loved it and thought it would be really fun. It caused a lot of problems such as students making fun of the boy and parents lashing out at the schoolboard. Some students were in support of the boy and even guys, who were straight and even on the football team, started wearing makeup to school. It was great to see our school come together and help him. Now my high school has had three boys be on the Flag team over the years and we’ve had a few openly-gay students as well.It asd to see that people can’t accept the fact that times are changing and people have the right to express themselves in any way they please. If boys want to embrace feminism, then so be it. You hardly ever hear girls getting harrassed for wearing boy sweat pants or any kind of male clothing. So why are guys getting harrassed for wearing women accessories? Society just isn’t fair..

  98. That’s pretty ridiculous. Let kids be kids. Being 13 is a time of self expression and discovery. I had a friend who got suspended for having a super soaker keychain. Apparently it looked too much like a firearm, despite being lime green and orange.

  99. Thank you for sharing, and what an amazing response to your post! It encourages me to see so many people speaking up and questioning society’s rules about what “girls” and “boys” are supposed to do, be, and even look like. Keep shaking it up out there people!

  100. i think that its terrible that that happened. I think the it’s a great idea for people to break stereotypes. Why can girls wear trousers and backpacks but boys can’t wear dresses and purses. Why do have to have stereotypes?

    • The kid disrespected staff and broke a rule saying that you can’t carry purses around.

      I bet this is how it went

      Principle: Carrying purses is against the rules, can you please remove it?

      Student: OMG!!!! You’re such a jerk! The only reason you’re doing this is cause I’m a guy, right?

      Principle: This has nothing has to do with your gender..

      Student: NO! You little sexist fag!

      Principle: You’re suspended

      • You yourself are making WILD accusations that this child is gay, called the facalty names. Prehaps it went down more like?
        Principle: Hey you can’t carry that bag in class kid.
        Student: I have been for the past 11 weeks what has changed sir?
        Principle: The rules state you can’t.
        Student: What rule sir?
        Principle: Look in your student hand book.
        Student: I did it’s not there.
        Principal: You’re suspended.

        See we know the “long standing rule” was also “unwritten” The school admits it wasn’t in the student handbook. The school admitted he had been carrying it since August when school started. So I ask what changed from August to November that suddenly the school claims a rule which didn’t exist anywhere as one they can enforce 11 weeks into the school year. The ACLU will rip this school apart on that alone. The school set precedence by allowing the bag for 11 weeks and suddenly inventing an unwritten rule to stop it.

        Nice try at dispelling wild accusations with more wild accusations. Try sticking to the facts and here they are.
        1) The school allowed this child to carry his bag unmolested when school started in August to November
        2) The student handbook as admitted by the school had nothing about this rule
        3) When challenged the school could produce no document demonstrating a long standing rule nor a single case where a student was punished for breaking that “long standing rule”

        These are the facts known in this case. Assuming the child is gay is not a fact it’s an ASS-umption by you. Assuming the child was in anyway disrespectful is an ASS-umption by you. Try facts and not wild assumptions.

          • And I’m not sure it happened like this, but I wanted to look into it more and the main reason he was suspended was for him not taking his purse off which could get him suspended for “Disrespect to staff”. I get that the handbook didn’t say anything, which they will change, but if he’s told that he is not allowed to have it: There, now he knows, now take it off. But he still won’t.

            • He had been wearing it for 11 weeks August to November. It is jsutifiable to question why. The other outstanding question can a girl carry a purse into class?

            • Wow appologies i saw gay not guy…too early to reply to messages more coffee! I had already seen many gay comments and mistakely saw it at a glance in yours my humble and sincere appology.

              Still the facts are guy or not they can’t produce this “long standing rule”, it’s not in the handbook and they allowed it for 11 weeks. I would question it as well.

              Once more sorry for the misread my bad.

            • It’s not just about the rule in print. They allowed the behavior for 11 weeks and suddenly want to enforce a rule they claim is long standing but yet can provide no documentation to prove the rule exists. Here at my job we have rules, there is also common sense like I can’t wear a bikini to work, but nothing in the rules say i can’t. But they have a rule saying the attire is expected to be business casual.

              Now does this exclude jeans? Well I wear them because my job has me running wiring and getting behind server racks ect.. This doesn’t mean everyone can wear them but if they suddenly wrote me up after 6 years with no warning you are dam right I’d question it. Policy or not they have condoned the behavior. To correct it they should have passed a rule, distributed it to all parents and after that given the child a warning.

              So do all rules need to be written? No but my work would never claim to have a long standing rule that business suits are required attire for work. Their employee handbook dictates dress code as I am sure the student handbook dictates what can and can’t we worn/brought into class. Again common sense would say if it’s not in the handbook then it’s not a rule students are expected to follow.

              Even in the military I have a right to disobey and unlawful order. Which means any order not expressly covered by the military code of conduct. Disrespect was never mentioned other than he refused to remove his bag. Maybe girls are allowed their purses and if so the boy has a valid disagreement. They can but I can’t and you can’t even show me where this rule exists?

              So again it’s more than just written rules. But you’d think if it was classroom etiquette it would indeed be written especially if it was truly a long standing rule.

              • Hmmmmm

                I guess that makes sense that the rule should have been enforced earlier, but the purse might not have been sen.

                I guess they should have the rule somewhere but if someone’s arguing that he didn’t know, well know he does.

                His friends said other girls wear purses to school.

                <Maybe now, after this experience, the school will decide to enforce it more and have it in the school book. But truly, I don't think that the school only told him because he's male. I think that experienced staff would be better than that, I'm not exactly sure why it took so long though or why he was the only person to be told about this.

          • The difference is i made no ASS-umption.

            “Student: OMG!!!! You’re such a jerk! The only reason you’re doing this is cause I’m a guy, right?”

            “cause I’m a gay, right?” classic

            Then claim “I never said” mhmmm try again.

  101. Good to know what kind of schools Kansas have! Seriously it’s not like he showed up with a pink coach purse! I was thinking about moving there, but I would hate to see what they would do to the children who have autism like my son does!

  102. I can remember when my now young adult children were in high school. At the beginning of school there were usually policies and rules in place to curtail any potential discipline problems or for personal safety. So I am almost sure that the student in question knew what he was doing and just wanted to provoke the Administration. The principal knew if this issue was allowed to continue without disciple other like minded actions would follow.

  103. Thank you for a great post! I went to a high school in country Australia where girls and boys wore similar bags. It wasn’t seen as abnormal or feminine/unmasculine (I didn’t realise until now that that isn’t a word, but there you go, you learn something new every day.) I think if you love something, forget how others will judge you. It’s not their place to deny you a right to choose just because it’s something that they wouldn’t choose, or don’t agree with.

  104. Sooooo true! I was nodding my head in agreement throughout the whole post. My daughter play with cars – she’s awesome and well rounded. My son plays with dolls – he’s a pansy. Society needs to get a reality check! Well rounded works both ways! Great job 🙂

  105. Reblogged this on LGBT Community and commented:
    Again, Here is something that is widely spread across the USA and other countries alike. What is this hurting?, is it worth a court trial or suspension (Loss of Education). Just because he wants to express his self, does he also have to be depressed by others. All of these controversial topics can lead to other rewards or consequences.

  106. Oh, I love this article. It makes me angry when people stereotype like this. Why won’t people just allow people to think for themselves, and to be who they are. Who says it has to be a certain way. Don’t just think outside the box … get rid of the darned box. Thanks a million!

  107. Reblogged this on Jeanne Melanson and commented:
    I wanted to reblog this article because it speaks so much to me. I’m all about letting people be who they are. It bothers me that people have their own thoughts about how things are supposed to be. What’s wrong with a boy carrying a certain bag? Who is he hurting? Nail-polish on a guy? Who cares? Who says that men have to be like this, and women have to be like that? I don’t get it. Where did it start? Who said, “Women MUST shave their legs and a man just NOT.” for example. Just let people BE, for peace sake.

  108. OMG! A possible threat to society’s black and white views of gender and sexuality?! This boy must be put down.
    (sarcasm)

    Seriously though. That dude’s got some pretty big balls to stand up to such unwritten rules. I applaud him.

  109. Reblogged this on Yoh! WTF? and commented:
    After reading the multitudinous comments on this, I must admit that I had to think twice before contributing my own penny’s worth to the conversation. What actually amazed me was how quickly people rose to defend this kid’s sexuality because the article talked about him wearing a purse. Yet there was not mention of his sexual choice. I thought that was very interesting! Many times however, we jump on the populist bandwagons too quickly and forget important ones such as a person’s right to be as expressive or as creative as they would like to be without being discriminated against or judged – no matter WHAT their sexual orientation.

    The other think that bothered me was how quickly many were ready to break out, and freely swing, the bullying bat. We are on a very slippery slope when we try to place a bullying sticker on every case where someone in power chooses to exercise that power in a way that does not seem right to many of us. We begin to diminish the real nature of bullying and do severe injustice to those among us that are truly being bullied.

    For so long we have tried labelling and categorizing (read stereotype) people around us that we oftentimes even in defending someone we think was poorly treated, we subconsciously and unintentionally categorize (read stereotype) them.

    I dream and wish for a day when we can stand together as people. A day when colour, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, eye colour, hair colour, physicial or mental challenges … are all celebrated instead or rated!

  110. After reading the multitudinous comments on this, I must admit that I had to think twice before contributing my own penny’s worth to the conversation. What actually amazed me was how quickly people rose to defend this kid’s sexuality because the article talked about him wearing a purse. Yet there was not mention of his sexual choice. I thought that was very interesting! Many times however, we jump on the populist bandwagons too quickly and forget important ones such as a person’s right to be as expressive or as creative as they would like to be without being discriminated against or judged – no matter WHAT their sexual orientation.

    The other think that bothered me was how quickly many were ready to break out, and freely swing, the bullying bat. We are on a very slippery slope when we try to place a bullying sticker on every case where someone in power chooses to exercise that power in a way that does not seem right to many of us. We begin to diminish the real nature of bullying and do severe injustice to those among us that are truly being bullied.

    For so long we have tried labelling and categorizing (read stereotype) people around us that we oftentimes even in defending someone we think was poorly treated, we subconsciously and unintentionally categorize (read stereotype) them.

    I dream and wish for a day when we can stand together as people. A day when colour, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, eye colour, hair colour, physicial or mental challenges … are all celebrated instead or rated!

    • I agree people want to “find social issues” too quickly. If this kid “all the sudden” started wearing a purse I might be suspicious and wonder the motive. Perhaps he is carrying a gun? And no that is not silly at all these days to consider that. -OM

      • OM, I confess I had not thought about the gun angle … which, after I read it made absolute sense from the American perspective, Although we have had our own challenges in Canada our friends and family to the South have been battered on this front.

        • I think people just wanted to make this an issue… it is a bag!!! He wears it, doesn’t wear it, guess what? It isn’t Syria and no kids are dying people… we really need to refocus in America.

  111. It seems that schools have not changed their attitude about individualism…I was sent home from school years ago for having my hair styled in a ‘duck cut’ in the back. Girls were also singled out for ‘teasing’ their hair. Flower power to the boy with the purse!

    • The reason he was suspended was not because of the purse, it’s because he wouldn’t take it off after being told to. All students are prohibited from carrying around purses and backpacks, but some people still do, which is strange. He wouldn’t have gotten any punishment if he took it off when he was told

  112. People just need something to hate about that takes the negative attention off their life onto others

  113. Pingback: School suspends teen boy for carrying purse. Why??? | Calpurnia"s Blogging

  114. Its a bag for crying out loud. If it was a girl wearing a boys bag would the same thing happen? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t. The worlds gone bonkers (and not it a good way)…

  115. Because “zero tolerance” that’s why. When you have no common sense — when you do nothing but follow the rules without any thinking, you get news stories like this. So beware what laws you advocate and who you say shouldn’t be wearing that “go USA” shirt. Lets try to do a little more with a little less regulation, shall we? Lets try to just use our heads and our hearts together, apply our standards equally, not be hypocrites, follow the golden rule and not the federally mandated rulebook.

  116. OK, maybe it has nothing to do with being “gay” people. I wish everyone would stop jumping up and down as soon as they “think” there is a social issue. If that kid “all the sudden” decided to start wearing a man purse, I might be suspicious if I were a teacher or a principle. He might be carrying a gun. Sounds dumb? I am sure it might of sounded silly 10 years ago… but today? No, it is called safety. It would ALL depend on the circumstances around why the child is wearing it to school. -OM

    • You are right today there is such a fear of guns. The only protection against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Picture aurora and how different it could have been had someone like me who grew up with guns, has a conceal carry and knows how to shoot was there that day. (Shooter dead and lives saved).

      At my school during hunting season people kept loaded guns in their trucks and cars. NO school shootings. That was only 15 years ago. So what is missing? Good guys with guns. Fact go to any state like Florida with easy conceal carry laws. Crime is far ower than states like NY with the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. We need more guns, more respect for them and more good guys carrying. And it will as proven by facts reduce violent crime.

      The boy had been carrying the bag for 10 or 11 weeks what changed that day? Nothing the fear of him carrying a gun is silly. What is a girl also carrying a purse was packing? Stop living afraid of guns they actually reduce crime.

  117. Pingback: November Link Roundup | The Story of Rei

  118. Yeah, seriously. It’s a bag, which is used to carry things. Period. It’s practical and so what if he likes the designs? You don’t see big-name designers getting a lot of nasty criticism for implementing and donning florals, pinks, paisley, etc. There are worst things than a boy who is happy in his choice for a bag. Maybe it just shows how open-minded he is. Maybe we can all benefit from being more open-minded. I think the problem lies in our cultural stereotypes.

  119. Reblogged this on Being Weirdly Awesome and commented:
    I love people who have a bit of common sense. I used to love power rangers when I was a kid and used to be embarrassed about it because they were “for boys” but now I realise that there’s nothing wrong with it, and anyway who actually enjoyed using barbies for anything other than cutting their hair off 😀

  120. My sister’s son was wearing his sisters cast off lilac sandals this summer, a Mum at the school gates said, “What does your husband think of it?” What a sexist comment to make in front of the child… And anyway it was his idea in the first place…

  121. The world has gone crazy! Will people ever stop judging? Will teachers/leaders, etc… ever stop doing stupid things to appease the haters? If that bag was a solid dark color there would probably have been no issue. When Alan sported one in “The Hangover” it was not a man purse, it was a satchel!

  122. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me &amp my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such excellent info being shared freely out there. fedecadbedad

Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: