Here is something I read on Facebook.
While shopping this morning, I overheard a man bellowing at his wife:
“Come on, Kerry! That’s purple! You can’t give a boy purple. That’s a girl color. What’s wrong with you? I’m sick of all this gender neutral crap. There are only two sexes!”
I bit my tongue. And hard. The hairs on my neck always stand up when I hear a man yelling at his wife, and it was all I could do to refrain from interjecting.
I wanted to tell him that, while I validate his recognition of the binary nature of biological sex, until recently, purple was actually considered a masculine color. Historically, it cost a lot of money to create purple dye (They had to gather thousands of sea snails and scrape the pigment off the shells), so it was reserved almost exclusively for royalty, primarily male royalty.
I wanted to tell him that, in the Old Testament, the temple priests wore purple. In Homer’s Iliad, Ajax’s belt is purple, and the tails of the Trojan warriors were dipped in purple dye. Alexander the Great and the Egyptian kings all wore purple. Jesus was robed in purple prior to His death. George VI wore purple in his official portrait.
And since this guy’s remarks didn’t sit right with me, I did some additional research and learned that purple was still considered a pretty masculine color until the early 19th century, when the fashion authorities arbitrarily decided that men looked better in blacks, greys, and neutrals.
I wanted to tell him that, 100 years ago, his wife would have been arrested for the indecency of wearing pants, so fickle and ridiculous are the widely embraced rules of fashion.
I wanted to tell him that if he thinks he’s going to help defend the material reality of biological sex by rigidly defending superficial gender norms, then he is part of the problem, not the solution. I wanted to explain how many people turn to transgenderism as a result of feeling like misfits in the gender stereotype boxes people try to squish them into and that God created men like David AND da Vinci, and we need to give both types space to be who they are. If we’re busy focusing on color preferences, we are missing the actual issue. I mostly wanted to tell him to quit hollering at his wife.
But I didn’t. I’m trying to remember that I’ll never reach my destination if I stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.
Real men wear purple, too.