Monday, February 11, 2013

I’m Not Bad, I’m Just Drawn That Way

OK, this really irks my tater. A fifteen-year-old Utah girl has been suspended from school because she dyed her hair red. OMG BOTTLE GINGERS!!!

Yes, apparently the school’s principal thinks young Rylee MacKay’s hair is so distracting that no one else will be able to learn. Man, if I had a dollar for every single time I sat in a classroom back in the eighties and thought “Holy crap I’d really love to learn more about algebra but OMG THAT GIRL HAS COLORED HAIR WHARRGGBBLLLLL CAN’T THINK!!”

Rylee has red hair! And it’s not even real! Next thing you know, she might be picking out her own clothes or cutting her own food, and we all know what those things lead to. DANCING.

It must be nice to be the principal at a school that is so full of rainbows and unicorns and lollipops that the biggest discipline problem is a kid’s hair color.

But seriously. Kudos to Rylee’s mom, who was basically like OH HELL NO YOU DON’T, and said, "I absolutely am not going to dye it brown. That is not an option … My daughter feels beautiful with the red hair. Changing her hair really changed her; she really blossomed."

But even more seriously, here’s what gets me going. We live in a society where bullying has become the norm rather than the exception. Schools are constantly addressing the issue of bullying, and for the love of Pete, kids KILL THEMSELVES because they are bullied by other kids.

How in the name of Zeus’ butthole can we say on the one hand “Don’t bully someone because they look different” when a school district is going to suspend a kid BECAUSE SHE LOOKS DIFFERENT?

And the crazy part? Rylee doesn’t look very unusual at all - there are plenty of redheads who were blessed with this shade from birth - but even if she DID, even if her hair was blue and green and she had a glittery horn sticking out of her forehead and a fucking TAIL, it’s not the school’s business to address her physical appearance.

By singling her out for the way she looks, the principal is doing what we call Othering. And if a kid is being Othered for her appearance, chances are good that she’s not the only one. Way to go, Hurricane Middle School, on establishing a culture of acceptance and diversity.

Really, folks. The day we tell teenage girls they can’t color their hair, the terrorists win.