As if being a teenager in America were not fucking hard enough: Matt Allsup, 13, was confronted by administrators at Garfield Middle School in Hamilton, Ohio, because he showed up for classes wearing black eye makeup, lipstick and fingernail polish. Matt's eyeliner is not as heavy handed Robert Smith; more Pete Wentz-esque — but the school has a rule against "extreme or distracting" makeup. Matt, of course, argues, "I do not find this distracting. At all." (He's a goth, you guys.) Anyway, Matt is now banned from wearing makeup to school. Matt's mom, Mindy Ball, is behind her son 100%. She thinks the administrators would never scold a female student for her makeup and says: "They're gender stereotyping. He's being sexually discriminated against. Nowhere in the rules does it say that males can't wear makeup." Here's the thing: Every student in the school has to wear a badge, which reads:"Respect. Personal Responsibility. Honesty. Compassion. Acceptance." And on the back: "Do you value the uniqueness of others?" What is this school teaching? Hypocrisy? Double standards? That what you look like when you show up is more important than whether you're ready to learn? Some people argue that students learn better when there are strict dress codes or uniforms; but isn't school also preparation for the real world? And in the real world, you have to pick out your own clothes (and makeup) and deal with the consequences. But in the real world, you're also allowed to express yourself. And there's nothing in the school "rules" about boys and makeup. Frankly, Matt may be learning a lesson the school never intended: This world can be small-minded, petty and unfair. Video below, because Matt's pretty adorable:
I know I'm going to take a boatload of shit for this, but kid, school is not about your frigging individuality and ability to express yourself. I grew up in the days of "values clarification" and I'm Okay, You're Okay and I think it has no place in the schools. I expect Little Penguino to sit down, shut up, and LISTEN. When she gets home from school, she can emote, dress in rags, and paint herself with her (eventual) menstrual blood if she wants. But people need to quit distracting kids from their one and only job at school, to learn history, math, English, Geography, etc. Enough!