Via Shakesville comes this really sweet story. Two brothers were happily shopping for a video game with a female character and a “girl color controller” for the younger one–and then dad got all gender police-y.
The boys had been taking awhile, so their father eventually comes in. He see’s the game, and the controller, and starts in on the youngest about how he needs to pick something different. Something more manly. Something with guns and fighting, and certainly not a purple controller. He tries to convince him to get the new Zombie game “Dead Island.” and the little boy just stands there repeating “Dad, this is what I want, ok?” Eventually it turns into a full blown argument complete with Dad threatening to whoop his son if he doesn’t choose different items. That’s when big brother stepped in. He said to his Dad “It’s my money, it’s my gift to him, if it’s what he wants I’m getting it for him, and if your gonna hit anyone for it, it’s going to be me.”
Yes, awesome bro, sweet kid, shameful dad–nothing to add there. In the grand scheme of things, a guy standing up for his brother’s right to get a purple controller can seem like a small thing. But these moments matter. They add up; they multiple. Each time a loved one or stranger says–with a word, an action, a smile–that there’s nothing wrong with being different, it’s one more a little chip in the norms that constrict us all.