So I have waited forever-and-a-day to write about this…maybe because the memory of being bullied is so fresh in my mind, that I was scared to open this box again and admit that this really happened…happens.

But it is time…


…So my beautiful boy was born with a full head of hair. From the moment he took his first breath, his hair became his identifier. People would stop us  randomly to “ooh” and “aaahhh” at this extremely cute, tiny human with this head of hair.

Yes, as parents, we loved it 😉


When he was about 2 months old the “oohhs” and “aahhs” from the general public became

“what a beautiful girl”

“It’s a boy”

“oh ! he is way to pretty to be a boy”

“…thank you… I think??? “


What does this even mean? “he is too pretty to be a boy”?


Are all boys “not pretty”?

Do we not use the word “pretty” for a 2 month old boy?

Did you just compliment my son or insult him?


So Mishka grew older and his hair longer… by now random individuals think they have the right to ask my 3 year old son

“why don’t you ask your mom to cut your hair?”

“is your mom trying to make you a girl”.


First of all… Talk to me asshole, I am standing right here!

Second of all… who the hell do you think you are to comment on anything regarding my son?!

You! random individual, just made a 3 year old boy, that you don’t know from a bar of soap, feel uncomfortable with himself and how he looks.



What are we teaching our children? When did it become socially acceptable to comment on the way people dress, the way they look, the way they wear their hair?

Why do people say “he looks like a girl” like it’s a shame ? Are you implying that girls are less than boys? Are woman weaker than men? If a girl is sugar and spice and everything nice, what is a boy? Does a boy only become a man when he shaves his head?


It then became time for Mish to go to a new school. Grade R was something my little boy was so excited about. (mostly because he would meet so many new friends and the bonus …no uniform yet).


Why, when boys push, and hurt, and fight, do we look the other way and say “boys will be boys”?

Why, when kids are mean and degrade other kids, do look the other way and say “kids can be so cruel”?

Are kids born cruel?

Or are we cruel for not trying to change the way our kids see others?


We arrive for the first day of school. Mishka is wearing his favourite shorts and t-shit and his black flat-cap over his legendary locks hanging between his shoulder blades.


He is confidant

He is excited

He just wants to play

He is Mishka


What happened over the course of the next few days made me realise that while I’ve been busy teaching my son

Not to see colour,

Not to see gender,

Not to BULLY,

To love all,

To play with all,

To care for all,

To have empathy for all,

To embrace the unknown,

I never prepared him, nor was I, prepared to be bullied.


When did boys become less than other boys because of personal style?

Can you only play “cops and robbers” with short hair?

How much pain needs to be applied before boys are allowd to cry and not be told to “shake it off “?

Do tears make a man weak?

Do insults make a man strong?


Day 3 of grade R


He is nervous

He is scared

He clings to me while his teacher tells me that I need to leave, “this is normal”

He is not Mishka

He is me… 25 years ago


I notice that he is not eating lunch, he gets nightmares and he cries… no he pleads not to go to school.


“why do you look like a girl?”

“Shouldn’t you use the girls bathroom?”

“Mishka should take ballet”


You! RANDOM INDIVIDUAL have taught your sons and daughters the SAME thing you were taught.

YOU taught them that whenever something doesnt fit their NORM , you INTIMIDATE “it” until it becomes “NORMAL”

YOU taught them that you should ONLY see what you were TAUGHT TO SEE

YOU taught them to CRITISIZE and BELITTLE whatever they don’t UNDERSTAND.


You taught them to BULLY MY SON


Mishka and daddy went for a haircut the day after that, my son went back to school the next day


He is confidant

He is excited

He just wants to play

He is Mishka…with short hair. Or me 25 years ago with straight teeth.


No harm done right?


Some of you might think “whats the big deal? It’s only hair, it grows back!”

That’s not the point is it?


What if it was your son or daughter?

What if you loved that child beyond measure?

What if you could not protect that child?

What if their “mistake” could not be fixed with a R100.00 haircut?

What if it is a disability or an illness?

What if schools do not allow that?

What if somone told them they don’t belong?


What if you are a part of the problem?

What if you are bullying through your child because no one taught you?

What if you could make a change?

What if you could stop this.

Why don’t you?

Stop this?







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