This is an example of stereotyping, bulling, prejudice and ignorance rolled into one. And it concerns cats! Awful.
A 10-year-old boy, Ryker, has a lunchbox illustrated with cats and it is quite colourful. It is not very masculine in appearance in the conventional sense. And so what? Each to their own I say. Live and let live. People need to accept that there is a full spectrum of characteristics on the male to female scale. Not every male is full of testosterone and not every female is super-feminine.
‘Masculinity is multifaceted and complex’ (Ryker’s uncle, David Pendragon)
Ryker was bullied because of his lunchbox. It makes me mad to think of it. He was bullied ‘because of its colors, or because it has cats’.
Here is the ‘boys must like dogs’ and ‘girls must like cats’ stereotyping. Because of the teasing Ryker stopped taking his cat lunchbox to school.
In support and in defence of his cousin, Ryker’s uncle, David Pendragon, a father of one, bought a similar lunchbox and took it to work. He posted on Facebook that he decided to
‘stand with my little cousin and show him that a man can love whatever he wants and not be afraid to express that love’.
Pendragon proudly takes his lunchbox to his workplace which is very corporate and conservative. The sort of place where you’d receive some comment if you carried around a colourful cat decorated lunchbox.
Uncle Pendragon is spot on. Boys and men can be whatever they want. And there are many masculine men who love and own cats as there are many feminine women who love and own dogs.
Pendragon’s stand against prejudice has gone viral on social media hence the news story and this article. Ryker is pleased that his uncle has his cat lunchbox and he has now received an apology from his classmates after the teacher spoke with them. And guess what; he has his cat lunchbox back in action taking it to school daily.
Some years ago one of the cat hating trolls on this site being bereft of an idea as to how to insult me called me gay. I am not gay. I am a normal male human. But the attempt at an insult (how can be called gay be an insult?) disclosed the homophobic stereotyping of a cat lover who happens to be a man. It is the same prejudice and ignorance at work.
Story: Huffington Post. The photo is from Facebook.