A 5 year old in Texas was sent to detention in his first week of kindergarten because of his choice of accessory. Cayden, the 5 year old kindergartener, was wearing earrings to school, which according to the school’s dress code is not allowed for boys. However, the school dress code only bans earrings for boys not for girls. Cayden was given detention for wearing earrings to school, despite the fact that wearing them would not have any effect on his education. But this instance represents more than just a case of gender discrimination.
It is good example of how society expects little boys and girls to fit into very neat stereotypes of what a boy and a girl should look like. A boy should play with trucks and superheroes and like cartoons about war and violence while girls should play with Barbie dolls and worry about looking pretty.
This case reminded me of the little kids I saw when I worked in a preschool as a counselor. In that preschool there were two sections to the play area: one with a kitchen and baby dolls in strollers and another with building blocks and superhero figures. In particular there was one little boy who loved to play in the kitchen area, and he was always the only boy there “cooking”. The teacher would try to encourage him to play with the building blocks and trucks instead, because she thought that it would be beneficial for him to behave like his gender. The most surprising part of this to me was that the other kids did not treat him differently and did not see this behavior abnormal until they saw the adults’ reaction.
And I think in this case it would have been the same, it is the adults who define what is abnormal for little kids to do or wear. Just because the boy wanted to get earrings they punished him as opposed to a girl, because a girl wearing earrings is “normal”.