10 year old Christian McPhilamy doesn’t let the haters get him down.
2 years ago, Christian saw a commercial for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He saw children his age who were sick, who had lost their hair to chemotherapy. And unlike those among us who sympathize, then move on with our day, Christian’s resolve ran as deep as his compassion.
He was a tad too young to start researching the cure for cancer (we’ll give it a few years), so he decided on the next best thing:
He would grow his hair long enough to donate it to those children in need.
For two years, Christian refused all haircuts, backed in full by his proud parents. But not everyone was so understanding.
You may expect children to be cruel, but adults, too? Adults who knew and understood the reasoning behind Christian’s project didn’t hold back from criticizing him, even bullying him. Some called him “girl” (because being a girl is such an awful crime). Some offered him money to cut it, unable to bear the idea of such youthful non-conformity.
But in what way was Christian refusing to conform? Is long hair on a boy or a man still such a taboo, a mark of the undesirable “feminine” in a male? Sure, the notion that long hair equals feminine demonstrates a superficial understanding of gender and gender performance, one that does men and women a tremendous disservice.
But why is femininity such a dirty word, anyway?
And why do passers-by feel so entitled to police others’ bodies, even that of a little boy?
It’s no wonder that only one in 50 donations of hair come from a boy.
In the face of others’ sexism, as well as their fear of his budding individuality, Christian prevailed, proving that good deeds build strong character. Instead, he took time to explain his mission, to widen some minds. As his mother, Deanna Thomas, notes with pride:
"He held his head high and he never once said that he wanted to cut it off."
Christian has since cut and donated his hair to Children With Hair Loss, and has settled on a buzz cut for the summer. It’s more in line with what’s accepted from and expected of boys, but Christian is as unconcerned with becoming a poster child for progressivism as he is about playing by the “rules.” He’ll just gonna do his own thing, 'kay?