Quick Hit: Awesome big brother stands up against gender policing

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.

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  1. Posted January 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    This is SO sweet! I used to be an aba helper for this kid who really liked pink because he loved ice cream and his favorite flavor was strawberry – so he wanted to color everything pink. Of course, when he said his favorite color was pink his mom said “No, that can’t be your favorite color, that’s a girls color.” I was disappointed and kind of frustrated, but this really lifted my spirits – kids are usually much more insightful than their parents. Hopefully they can grow up to teach the next generation.

    • Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

      I love this story too!
      Question to the mother you mentioned: “If pink is a girl’s color and shouldn’t be even consumed by boys, is strawberry milk out?”

  2. Posted January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    i think its also important to celebrate the sales clerk in this situation. In the face of all those messages, sometimes its tempting to dismiss encouragement from friends or family as “oh, s/he loves me, s/he has to say that.” I applaud the clerk’s sensitivity in taking the time to talk directly to the younger kid, revealing her own non-gender-binary preferences in gaming, and assuring him that he can like whatever he likes.

  3. Posted January 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Way to go, dude! Fight the power!

    • Posted January 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Plus, Mirror’s Edge is based around the non-violent martial art of parkour, so it manages to show an athletic, physical female protagonist while, like Portal, focusing on a strategy based in movement- it has violence, even guns, but they aren’t the main go-to problem solving device in gameplay. The protagonist, while conventionally attractive, does not appear to be overly sexualized, wearing a functional sports top and comfortable pants, and is a woman of color, so that’s cool, too.

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