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Viral Photo Of 5 Year Old Boy Wearing Pink Slippers To School Sparks Adult Freakout

by David Badash on December 11, 2012

in News

Post image for Viral Photo Of 5 Year Old Boy Wearing Pink Slippers To School Sparks Adult Freakout

A five-year old boy identified only as “Sam” chose to wear pink slippers to school, saying, “ninjas can wear pink shoes too,” sparking an adult freakout. The boy’s older sibling posted the photo to Facebook, after their mother had too, but she removed it when the comments — from adults — got out of hand. Interestingly, Sam didn’t get a hard time from his classmates.

The photo, and the debate, have gone viral. On Facebook alone the image has 128,877 likes and has been shared 22,214 times.

“Yesterday my mom posted a picture on Facebook of my 5 year old brother Sam wearing a pair of shoes he picked out for his first day of preschool,” Sam’s brother or sister, identified only as “Have A Gay Day” on Facebook, wrote:

She explained to him in the store that they were really made for girls. Sam then told her that he didn’t care and that “ninjas can wear pink shoes too.”

Sam went to preschool and got several compliments on his new shoes. Not one kid said anything negative toward him about it.

However, my mom received about 20 comments on the photo from various family members saying how “wrong” it is and how “things like this will affect him socially” and, put most eloquently by my great aunt, “that shit will turn him gay.”*

My mom then deleted the photo and told Sam that he can wear whatever he wants to preschool, that it’s his decision. If he wants to wear pink shoes, he can wear pink shoes.

Sam then explained to her that he didn’t like them because they were pink, he liked them because they were “made out of zebras” and zebras are his favorite animal :)

What does it say about society when a group of adults could stand to take a lesson in humanity from a class of preschoolers?

The Huffington Post notes “the photograph was the subject of a heated blog posted on The Stir. In the piece, blogger Mary Fischer disagreed with Sam’s mother, saying she wouldn’t let her own son wear pink shoes to school because it would “subject him to being bullied or treated unfairly all because most people associate pink with girls and blue with boys.”

Fischer continues:

“Yes, I get the whole ‘we should let kids be free to express themselves’ thing, and I’ll be the first to say ‘more power’ to this mom for taking a chance and letting Sam go off to preschool in his pink zebra print flats.Somehow I’m guessing if my son were to put on that same pair of shoes — he wouldn’t even make it through the five-minute bus ride to school in the morning before someone laughed at him, asked him why in the heck he was wearing pink shoes, spewed all sorts of mean jokes his way, or told him he was dressed like a girl.”

She then adds, “Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter.”

Fischer’s blog post right now has 177 comments. A quick glance seems to show about a three to one support for Sam and his family’s choice to support him.

Perhaps the best comment comes from Jess Townsend:

Author: YOU are part of the problem.

Remember J.Crew President Jenna Lyons, who painted her son’s toenails pink, and the subsequent right wing freak out?

As The New Civil Rights Movement reported last April, the online catalog spread showed Lyons playing with her young son Beckett, and painting his toenails pink — a shade she says in the piece is his favorite color. “Lucky for me,” the copy reads, “I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

There are real issues in the world. Wearing pink or blue really isn’t one at all.

Now, let’s see how long it takes Dr. Keith Ablow to freak out!


Image via Facebook

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BJLincoln December 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

He will stop if and when he wants to. I painted my son's toenails when he was interested at a young age. He is grown and str8. When will people understand that no matter what a parent does, some kids will be str8 and some gay. So what if he likes pink shoes today. Tomorrow he will like something else. That is part of being 5 years old. Trying new things and not feeding into the whole pink and blue mindset is not going to make the kid LGB or T.
I miss mine being 5. What a fun age!

Alex_Parrish December 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

The whole pink/blue gender-specific myth is stupid. It is an imposed practice which did not even happen until just before WWI. Previous to that, pink was considered a stronger color and was preferred for boys, while blue was a softer color and preferred for girls. What the hell is the matter with adults that they even care? Leave the kid(s) alone fer chrissake! Grow up a**holes!

eastdragon42 December 12, 2012 at 6:11 am

I remember reading something about this on the Straight Dope a long time ago; just re-dug up the article. There's some debate on whether pink was universally preferred for boys; instead, both colors were used interchangeably for both sexes up until WWII:

However, the article does agree that after WWII, the color designations of blue for boys & pink for girls became a lot more prominent.

Regardless, IMHO I think it's a fairly silly thing to get all worked up about & there's no need to say that one sex should or shouldn't be using a particular color. When I bought two sets of toy blocks/legos for my nephew & niece, the pieces for the boy's toys were all blue & the pieces for the girl were all pink, so I opened them up, mixed them up to 50% of each for both, & re-wrapped them. Didn't feel it was necessary to reinforce a silly societal viewpoint of which gender should have which color, and neither my nephew nor niece seemed to care about the colors either. :-)

osckar30 December 12, 2012 at 12:30 am

In equatorial Africa it is still the practice to dress a new born boy in pink & a girl in blue

Qwerty50 December 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I wish we could move beyond gender stereotypes when dealing with children. Right now, as another example of gender stereotyping, the makers of the easy-bake oven are under fire to make it appear than only little girls would like this particular toy. NOT TRUE! I would have loved getting that oven as a little boy, but I got the Lincoln Logs while sis got the oven. (Although I liked Lincoln Logs too, by the way.)

thatsdrfreak December 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm

We could learn a lot from young children. They don't care about color, gender, appearance, race, etc. Intolerance is learned.

Raytheist December 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I think it would do all those grown-ups some good to review the original post. The boy did not get negative comments, and some of his own peers complimented his choice of footwear. The grown-ups freaking out about what "might happen" should pay attention to what DID happen, and just get over it.

g2-5bba245eb6db01d36e28de6648a6336a December 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm

People should remember that pink is traditionally a colour associated with male children up untill very recently it was considered too strong a colour for girls. Blue was the traditional colour for girl babies.

To associate a colour with gender is a pretty strange superstision that humans have developed.

It does not signify anything other than preconceived ideas

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