EDITORIAL: Gender roles don’t need reinforcement from trusted elders
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 03:09
A 12-year-old boy in New Jersey has rightly given a new meaning to the phrase “Tough guys wear pink.”
Saturday will mark Julian Connerton’s first game with his football team after quitting when his coach wouldn’t allow him to wear pink gloves.
Connerton initially quit the team when the coach refused to allow him to wear the gloves in order to honor his mother, who is currently battling breast cancer. This weekend’s game, ironically enough, is supporting breast cancer with players and cheerleaders wearing pink socks.
After Connerton’s mother called for the coach’s suspension, Egg Harbor City Crusaders head coach Paul Burgan apologized and said the whole situation was a misunderstanding because he forgot the mother was suffering from breast cancer.
Connerton’s decision to quit the team because he couldn’t support his mother shows a great amount of loyalty and maturity for his age.
This temporary separation from the team also brings up a societal problem. One that may, unfortunately, not change soon.
Making it unacceptable for a football player to wear pink gloves just re-emphasizes gender boundaries. Football, which is highly regarded as masculine, is only reinforcing gender stereotypes with coaches not allowing players to wear certain colors because the colors were deemed inappropriate.
Regardless of what gender a color may seem to represent, holding colors to only the “appropriate gender” just shows a standstill in gender equality. If a coach will not allow a player to wear pink gloves, a reinforcement of ideals set by those before us is represented.
With the progression of women in society, it seems society holds onto stereotypes with certain things — like colors, movie genres or television shows — which doesn’t allow for societal changes. Being paralyzed by something people would consider obsolete, like a color, seems to be an effort to continue labeling things as inferior.
To have a coach reinforce these labeling ideas shows his middle school-aged players an ideal he believes in, something players can now see as unacceptable.
There is nothing wrong with wearing pink, and there never will be.