It’s just a hat. So why does my son get so much attention for it? It doesn’t have spikes coming out of it or flashing lights like his Spider Man boots. It’s just a boring winter hat. Oh, and it’s pink.
When I first started hearing the comments– “Well, isn’t he cute in that pink hat.”, “Were they all out of boy hats?”, “Poor thing, your mom putting you in a pink hat!” (Yes, swear to God all three of those were said to me…in public)– I considered writing about it but convinced myself I was making more out of this than was really there. Well, if you have ever raised a two year old, you know that phases of “favorites” can last weeks. The little guy is well in to his third or fourth week of wearing this pink hat every time we go out in public. I can’t not notice how often and what kind of attention he gets for the damn thing. It was the question I placed in the title that pushed me over the edge, and drove my fingers to tap out this snarky, frustrated rant.
Little Man and I were in a local convenient store, splurging on a chocolate milk and a hot cup of coffee to go. I was snapping the white, plastic lid tightly on the paper cup when I heard it…”What does his daddy think about that hat?” It was followed by a half-ass, ingenuous laugh oozing with sarcasm and homophobic tones. As if to imply he would never tolerate his son walking out in public wearing a pink hat. No boy of his would be seen as “girly”, or in other words, weak. Something in me just snapped. I had had it with the comments. I ripped the lid off the coffee and drenched the asshole in caramel macchiato flavored brew.
Ok. So maybe I didn’t actually throw the coffee at him but I seriously wanted to. I mean I saw the scene playing out in my head but decided I would rather enjoy the coffee I just spent $3 on rather than waste it on someone who would never understand why I threw it in the first place. Instead, I didn’t acknowledge his “joke” at all and headed out of there before I went all Gloria Steinman on his ass.
Let me honestly tell you what my husband thinks about that pink hat. He fucking loves it. He will choose it before my son sometimes, because it’s not a fight to put it on his big, beautiful head when it’s -10 outside. He sees it for what it is. The hubs may have face palmed the first time he saw the little dude twirling around in his sister’s princess dresses, but he isn’t scared that the pink will sink in and turn his son gay. He’s a little more evolved than that, thank you — you chauvinistic, homophobic douchbag.
I don’t usually get so loud and go on the attack over this sort of stuff but that asshat’s question left a bad taste in my mouth. In eight little words, he managed to shame my baby boy for wearing a specific color and assumed my husband should be ashamed of his son because of it. Had I called him out (like I honestly wish I had), I know he would have acted as if it was just a joke…no big deal small talk. He would not have been able to see how offensive his question was because his closed off little brain is just stuck on stupid. To him, boys will be boys, girls should be pretty and homosexuality is something that needs to be “fixed”.
That shit is dangerous and it needs to stop. That man is my age–thirtysomething. I went to school with him. It’s not like he stems from a generation where homosexuality was accepted as a mental health disorder and women “belonged” in the kitchen. He’s actually an intelligent guy, but he chooses to hold on to damaging prejudices. He’s too “manly” to consider for even a minute why seeing a boy in a pink hat bothers him enough to bully a two year old. It makes me sad for his children… and mine.
If I seem a little over the top on this one–good. If you want to call me an angry feminist and tell me to calm down–go ahead. Because I am and I won’t. Do I realize that sometimes a compliment on a hat is just that–yes. But I am pretty intuitive and the sarcastic tone in which “Oh I looove his pink hat” has so often been said this winter has just irritated the shit right out of me. And I just have no more fucks to give if I offend someone by speaking my mind on this. I’m tired of smiling politely and laughing it off to keep the peace. Momma has bit her tongue long enough.
I truly believe we have come along way in combating gender stereotyping, in allowing men to be emotional beings and in accepting that a person’s sexuality is not a personality trait, but we’re not quite there yet. Witnessing the attention my son has received over this ridiculous hat is proof of that. It’s made me realize how important it is to combat that kind of mentality in the only way I know how. Calling it out and raising confident, compassionate children that won’t stand for it either.