Is there something gendered about love? The answer, of course, is no. Men love, women love, and gender-fluid people love.
So why is it that the most common illustration of love, a cartoon-like take on the human heart, is so often found on women’s — particularly girls’ — clothing and not as much on the garments of the opposite sex? I think we should all agree that we all should have equal claims on the symbol of love.
But not everyone feels quite this way.
This week, a mom took to Facebook to share the story of how her 3-year-old son Harry was the object of ridicule because he wore heart-patterned socks to nursery school. The most shocking of all? The people mocking Harry were a child and the child’s mother.
Here’s how Harry’s mother, Shona Campbell, described the situation in a Facebook post she addressed to the other child’s mother:
“You may have thought I didn’t hear you but let me assure you I did!! When your child pointed out my SON had love hearts on his socks, and mocked them for being GIRLS socks you absolutely tore apart my faith in this world, because you agreed and laughed along with your child.”
Campbell went on to rail against societal conventions that limit what children wear and play with, noting that Harry likes pink and dolls, too.
“Why should we teach our children that certain things are for girls/boys?? If my son wants to wear a dress, he can!! If he wants to wear a big fluffy hat, he can!! And if he wants to wear socks with love hearts, HE CAN!! I am bringing up my son to be whoever he wants to be and I do not appreciate people like you poking fun at him, telling him he’s wrong for what he wears or dictating what he should or shouldn’t do/wear.”
Campbell’s impassioned post went viral, with over 100,000 shares and climbing. She later posted a follow-up status, saying she was grateful and “overwhelmed” at the support she’s received and added that she would “always stand up for and defend” her child.
As Campbell has likely realized, plenty of other people are prepared to defend Harry, too, especially in his choice of socks.
In attempt to stand in solidarity with Harry and all the other heart-loving boys out there, Babble asked men to share photos of themselves proudly posing with hearts. Campbell has already received many encouraging messages since going public, but it never hurts to spread a little more love.
Because #RealMenLoveHearts — and there is nothing wrong with that.
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