Saw a pre-teen boy today in the grocery store wearing an Alex Morgan U.S. women’s soccer team jersey today. Told him I thought it was cool. He looked surprised that a.) I would recognize the jersey, and b.) that I would tell him it’s cool. His mom said “Thanks, usually nobody knows who it is, and if they do they give him a hard time about wearing a girl’s jersey.”
But why would I? Alex Morgan is a freaking phenomenal player, and the team U.S.A. jerseys are pretty cool. Plus, I’ve seen plenty of girls wearing Lionel Messi and Ronaldo jerseys. And, let’s face it, it’s a fucking t-shirt, it’s about as unisex a clothing item as you can find outside of socks. However, still, it didn’t surprise me that the kid had gotten a hard time. Because that’s how society is.
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But it was interesting to be, especially given that it was the fourth of the July, because here’s the thing: THAT kid’s action is a sign of true independence. THAT is a sign of true rebellion. THAT is a sign of truly not giving a fuck what other people think and following your own path, societal brainwashing be damned.
Because societal brainwashing is all that is.
Ask yourself: Why would anyone think that it’s wrong for a boy to wear a professional women’s team jersey, or a girl to wear a men’s, like a Lionel Messi jersey? It’s a t-shirt. Like I said, it’s about as unisex an item of clothing as you can get for a kid. Yeah, men’s pants and women’s pants fit differently, because men’s and women’s bodies are different. But pre-teen boys and girls who haven’t gone into puberty yet are pretty much just stick figures, so there’s not much difference in clothing tailoring. So really, it has nothing to do with it fitting too tightly or oddly, it only has to do with the mental perception of it being worn, and that mental perception is based entirely on society brainwashing people into thinking that it’s wrong.
U.S. women's soccer player Alex Morgan

U.S. women’s soccer player Alex Morgan

There’s literally no difference between that and racism, or sexism, or homophobia. Or from people thinking it’s right or wrong to eat certain foods, from pork to beef to bugs. Literally, from a behavioral science standpoint. All of them are learned behaviors. All societal mores are learned things. Case in point is when you look at how those mores have changed over time. There have been various times in history when pink has been seen as a masculine color, or men have worn kilts or togas, or makeup, or powdered wigs, or men have had long hair and women have had short hair, etc. And all of those trends were adopted and taught. They’re not due to any biological imperative or genetic predisposition. They’re entirely due to children being taught as they grow up that something is “right” or “wrong.”
So wouldn’t it be great, if on “independence” day, people would put forth more of an effort to truly be independent, to truly be the rebels that they wish to be? Not the “rebels” their beer and car and energy drink commercials try to convince them they are if they use their products, but people who rebel by thinking for themselves and utilizing logic and common sense and independent critical thinking to break free from the subtle cages we’re shuttled towards by society?
There’s no reason for racism. No reason for sexism. No reason for homophobia. Treat people like the human beings we all are and see people for their actions and character rather than the traits they can’t control, or the traits that society is trying to convince us are “wrong” or “weird.”
Let people wear what they want, and look how they want. Let them live their lives, find their happiness and be themselves. As long as they’re not intentionally hurting anyone else, who cares? And do the same yourself. Don’t cause harm to others and follow your own path. Don’t let society program you. Question that programming. Think for yourself.
THAT is true independence.
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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
Want To Be A True Independent American On Independence Day?

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