(Todd A. Smith)

Discriminating against Black people for natural hair is racist and thankfully illegal in some states because of The Crown Act.

Furthermore, dictating how long a male can wear their hair is sexist.

However, that discussion rarely comes up when discussing gender equality.

I have always found the efforts of gender equality confusing.

I am a staunch advocate for gender, racial and all forms of equality.

As a man, I know I have had it a lot better than my women counterparts.

I can only imagine the hell they deal with daily from backwards men.

But when I hear many people advocate for gender equality, it is always doing things that are beneficial for women, even if there are separate rules for men.

One of the things that confuses me the most is why can girls in certain school districts have long hair, but the boys often cannot.

This issue is prevalent again because a high school junior from Barbers Hill High School in Mount Belvieu, Texas has been suspended from school since Aug. 31 because he refuses to cut his long braids, which violates length rules for boys.

The Associated Press reported, “After serving more than a month of in-school suspension over his dreadlocks, a Black high school student in Texas was told he will be removed from his high school and sent to a disciplinary alternative education program…

“He will be sent to EPIC, an alternative school program, from Oct. 12 through Nov. 29 for ‘failure to comply’ with multiple campus and classroom regulations, the principal said in a Wednesday letter provided to The Associated Press by the family.”

In a letter, principal Lance Murphy said that Darryl George, 18, repeatedly violated the school district’s “previously communicated standards of student conduct.”

However, the letter from Murphy also states that George will be allowed to return to regular instruction on Nov. 30.

But George will not be allowed to return to his high school before then unless he is there to discuss his conduct with the school’s administrators.

The Associated Press reported, “Barbers Hill Independent School District prohibits male students from having hair extending below the eyebrows, ear lobes or top of a T-shirt collar, according to the student handbook. Additionally, hair on all students must be clean, well-groomed, geometrical and not an unnatural color or variation. The school does not require uniforms.”

First off, what is the reasoning behind allowing girls to have a certain hair length but requiring boys to have shorter hair?

I know that in traditional society, males kept their hair shorter while their female counterparts often grew their hair long.

But it is also traditional for women to stay at home and raise the children and cook the meals.

It is traditional for women to not have corporate jobs.

Back in the traditional days, many women were forced to work as secretaries and domestics while their male counterparts enjoyed the executive suites, corporate accounts and corner offices.

It was traditional for girls to settle on becoming cheerleaders, while the boys competed in basketball, football, soccer and baseball.

And believe it or not, it was once traditional for women to be barred from having bank accounts unless their husbands gave them permission.

It was once traditional for girls to have to wear skirts or dresses to school, work or church.

And it was once traditional and commonplace for women to not have the right to vote, let along serve as vice president of the most powerful nation on the planet.

Thank God, this country has some new traditions because many backwards countries like Afghanistan still have oppressive rules and laws for females.

In 2023, we have the Women’s National Basketball Association expanding after many turbulent years.

In 2023, the women’s basketball national championship game between LSU and Iowa generated more buzz than the men’s final.

In 2023, we have many women making more money than their male significant others.

Although we still must address the equal pay issue, a wife earning more money than her husband would have been unthinkable 50 years ago for most couples.

Stereotypes and gender norms have become so different that women are no longer viewed as beautiful only if they have hair of a certain length or texture, many women have little or no hair at all and are seen as some of the most beautiful women in the world, while also dominating the world in their professions of choice.

So, why then does all the gender equality advancements only benefit females and not males?

If women can buck gender norms on issues like hair length, then why can’t men?

The rules should be the same for girls as they are for boys.

Years ago, there was a student born a male from Houston’s Nimitz High School who claimed discrimination when Aldine Independent School District outlawed him from wearing high heel stilettos and certain attire more suited for a night club.

However, Aldine did not even allow girls to wear such high heels.

Therefore, his claims of discrimination went unfounded and that’s how it should have been.

No one student or one group of students should have their own separate rules while people from a different demographic must follow stricter rules.

America is still fighting for gender equality and must stay vigilant to prevent any forms of discrimination against women.

However, America must do the same to stop sexism against males, no matter if the issues are big or small, long or short.

Todd A. Smith
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