A mom of two who has a devoted following on Instagram has opened up this week about the pain of shepherding her 4-year-old son through teasing over his long blond hair.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been really raw on here. Parenting is so hard y’all. So so painfully, gut wrenching hard,” began Brittany York in her long, personal post on Wednesday, which featured an adorable snap of her younger boy, Knox.
“School has been really rough on him. I’ve been getting notes and phone calls almost everyday about how upset he is over different incidents that have occurred at school. I mean I get it, he’s got long hair. I can totally see why he might be mistaken for a girl. And they are only babies.
I know 4 year olds can not possibly understand that their words can be hurtful. … But it doesn’t mean the brokenness it creates in his little heart is any less painful. This is who he is and all he knows and it’s wrecking his whole world.”
Her share inspired more than 1,300 likes and a slew of empathetic comments, including, “Going through the same thing with my little guy with longer hair,” “He is so handsome and sounds like the sweetest boy,” and “In a world of conformity, I hope that even through the darkness he can still see the beauty in being different and embracing who he is as an individual at an early age.”
Others suggested she simply get him a haircut, including one who noted, “Getting a haircut would alleviate the problem, so why not do it?”
Knox is certainly not the first young boy to face bullying over having long hair, and he won’t be the last. In August, a Florida news anchor praised his long-haired son, 9, for being an “independent spirit” in a world that still largely equates masculinity with short hair.
Also last month, a 4-year-old boy was kicked out of school in Texas for having long hair.
And in Texas last year, a high school student started a petition to change his school’s policy that boys’ hair must not be worn beyond the ears.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Nicholas Clark, of Abilene, Texas, told KTXS. “It’s discrimination. Why should a girl have two types of hair — short or long — and a guy can only have short?”
On Thursday, York added another photo to Instagram — this one of her sitting with Knox on their front porch — and issued a lengthy thank-you to her online supporters. She wrote that they had gone out for ice cream and talked about Thor, and about not changing who you are for someone else.
“But we also talked about how hair is just that, hair. Hair doesn’t make someone who they are,” she continued.
“For now, he’s sticking to the ‘No cuts, no buts, no coconuts’ train he’s been riding the last few years and I’ve made him well aware that as long as he has long hair he will unfortunately always have to deal with a few negative comments along the journey.
“现在，他信奉着前些年的‘不剪头、没借口’的信条，我也提醒他只要他留着长头发，他就不得不应对那些针对他的消极的指指点点。”（译者注：No cuts, no buts, no coconuts直译是不啰嗦，别废话的意思，此处用了cut剪头发的意思）
But his hair is his comfort and a huge part of him during this stage in his life. I know I’ll have some who completely disagree with me, but I am his mama and I believe my [sole] purpose is to encourage and empower my children.”
Her post has inspired more than 2,100 likes, plus encouraging comments including this one: “You are such an inspiration to us all and how lucky is he to have someone like you who encourages him to be who he wants to be.”