Purple Gatorade

by Kelly Clark

Hello world! Welcome to my new blog: He Throws Like a Girl.  As a social justice educator I have spent my entire adult career working to end prejudice and hate.  I have seen a lot during this time, but the recent death of baby Roy Jones, just 17 months old caused me to stop and think. Baby Roy was beaten to death by a man who was trying to keep him from acting like a girl.  Many bloggers have asked what is it about our society that would cause a tragedy like this?  Well I’ve been thinking about that and I’d like to share that thinking with you. I think my “purple gatorade” story is the perfect place to start.

Purple Gatorade

One day I was driving through a suburb that I wasn’t really familiar with so I stopped into a gas station to ask for directions. While I was at the counter a dad and son came in to pay for their gas. Dad sent the son to the cooler to get a drink. The son, who was 9 or 10, came back with a bottle of purple Gatorade. What I observed next may have fallen on the deaf ears of the other patrons in the station but my social justice seeking ears have never forgotten. Dad said to the little boy, “You don’t want that one, that’s a sissy color.” He proceeded to take the boy back to the cooler to pick another soft drink.  Major life lesson taught and probably learned – purple is for sissys and being a sissy is NOT a good thing.

The moral of the story is that all human beings should be allowed to like or choose any color as their favorite, even purple. When we force each other to choose colors or behaviors based on gender, race, or sexual orientation we fail to acknowledge each others humanity.

But something more sinister is lurking in this story. It is what is behind the death of Baby Roy. Somehow we have gotten it into our collective heads that acting like a girl is one of the worst things that a boy could ever do and we train our boys accordingly from birth: blue blankets, blue clothes, trucks, building blocks, toy guns, and NO purple Gatorade!

Some would say the Purple Gatorade story is about homophobia – the fear of homosexuals. I would say it is more about misogynythe hatred of women or anything feminine. He Throws Like a Girl will be my medium to explore the connection between the two.  I hope you’ll stay tuned!



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