Today was Pink Shirt Day. It was mentioned in the school calendar/newsletter that they sent home at the beginning of the month. There was a separate reminder slip that came home a few days ago, and even an automated phone message from the principal reminding parents and students to “Wear pink!”. So I think it’s safe to assume that this whole wear a pink shirt thing is considered pretty important at my kids’ school.
I helped the kindergartner, Gigi, get dressed this morning, letting her pick from a handful of pink shirts laid out on her bedspread. I was happy when she decided on something with long sleeves, and opted for the matching bright pink pants.
Gracie, a.k.a. Little Miss Grade Three, who also owns approximately 5672 things that are pink, refused to wear a pink shirt today. I wasn’t going to fight with her over it. I mean bullying her into wearing a pink shirt just seemed silly, but I did ask “Are you sure?” at least three dozen times.
|Photo Credit: Province of British Columbia|
What’s the deal with Pink Shirt Day anyway?
While the internationally recognized Anti-Bullying Day, also sometimes known as Pink Shirt Day, was declared by the U.N. to be May 4th, many people also celebrate pink shirt day in February in honour of an event that happened in Nova Scotia in 2007.
David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a highschool protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school].
[They] headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag.
As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled. The bullies were never heard from again.
I get that the idea behind the whole “everyone wear pink” thing is solidarity, and as someone who was mercilessly bullied through gradeschool and highschool I fully appreciate the open conversation and awareness of bullying that days like this promote.
Photo Credit: Province of British Columbia
However, I’ve been thinking that maybe Anti-Bullying Day shouldn’t be about wearing pink. It should be about wearing whatever the heck you truly want to wear. I mean how subversive is it for my daughters to dress in pink? How about instead I send them to school rocking their black Batman “boys” shirts, or the Darth Vader sneakers that my eldest got made fun of for owning.
I mean, I find myself having to remind my daughters, at least once or twice a week, that they can wear whatever they want. Particularly Grace. As she gets older I often find myself reminding her all the time that her outfits aren’t anyone else’s choice or business. As long as it’s clean, comfortable and weather appropriate, she can wear whatever she likes, and anyone who tells her otherwise is silly. She doesn’t have to dress in pink, purple or floral anything. She can, but she doesn’t have to. She can wear that Star Wars T-shirt that someone said was “just for boys”. So, I guess that means when it comes to Pink Shirt Day she can go to school in a grey sweater dress, if it’s what she really wants to wear.
What do you think? Should I have tried to talk my grade three kid into wearing pink today? Do you encourage (or force?) your kids to take part in things like this, or do you go with the flow?
(Here are the articles I reference from the Globe and Mail: It’s #PinkShirtDay: Canadians take a stand against bullying and Students give world a lesson in courage.)