A story from Texas this morning seems trivial. A little kid in pre-Kindergarten is being sent home, suspended, because his hair is too long. Four years old and this kid has already run smack dab into institutional gender comformity. It's not the style of his hair it's just the length. And it's not very long either. Little "tater tot" as he likes to be called just likes wearing his hair long. But that's not acceptable to the defenders of propriety at the Mesquite Independent School District outside of Dallas, Texas.
When the boy didn't comply (his parents are supporting him 100%) the school isolated him from the rest of the students. The boy is FOUR YEARS OLD. But we must not let such untoward behavior contaminate the rest of the children. Can't let the other boys wear their hair a bit long.
Now this blog is about Gay issues and this story isn't directly about a Gay issue. But I do think it's related to Gay experience in that it's a reminder of the still present gender conformity that is drilled into the (well-shorn) heads of kids at such an early age. What's missing in the Associated Press coverage of this story is a recognition that the boy is not wearing hair the way BOYS are "supposed" to wear it. Girls can have long hair and braid it and have it in pony tails. There is no doubt that this wouldn't be an issue if Taylor was a girl. But he's a boy and Balch Springs, Texas has very strict rules about how boys should look. And I think it's right here that the problem starts. This is one of the places where societies start laying down expectations on how boys and should be, and act, and dress, with no sense of whether such judgments are based on anything more than personal mores and prejudice.
Even worse little Taylor Pugh likes his hair. Click on that link and look at him sitting there beaming. His hair isn't causing a problem for anyone but the uptight scolds who don't have anything better to do but over-regiment the lives of little kids in their care. As the wise sage musician Frank Zappa once said "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." Well the Mesquite Independent School District will make sure there's no deviation from their boring calcified norm.
I expect this will not hold up in court. And I applaud Taylor's parents for letting their son pursue what he loves and for exploring his own individuality. It's an important lesson to learn at an early age.