The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

The boy who stood up for his brother’s right to play a girl

with 13 comments

OK, as you probably already know by now, this is a movie blog. Every post here is one way or another related to the world of films and theatres.

However – before I ventured into blogging about films, I used to dwell in the game related part of the blogosphere. I still occasionally stroll into my old hunting grounds and that’s why I stumbled upon a little game related story that I loved so much that I wanted to spread it around, making an exception from my “it’s got to be movie related” rule.

This story made me tear up as I read it and it all played up in my head like a scene in a film. Perhaps that’s a good enough excuse to retell the story here?

I picked up the story by Kendra, whol picked it up from Geekosystem who got it from the blog of Kristen Wolfe who is an employee at GameStop. In her blog post she shares the story about how she became witness to a piece of drama in her shop when a boy wanted to buy a “girlish” game and got into conflict with his father:

Dear Customer who stuck up for his little brother,

you thought I didn’t really notice. But I did. I wanted to high-five you.
Yesterday I had a pair of brothers in my store. One was maybe between 15-17. He was a wrestler at the local high school. Kind of tall, stocky and handsome. He had a younger brother, who was maybe about 10-12 years old. The only way to describe him was scrawny, neat, and very clean for a boy his age. They were talking about finding a game for the younger one, and he was absolutely insisting it be one with a female character. I don’t know how many of y’all play games, but that isn’t exactly easy. Eventually, I helped the brothers pick a game called Mirror’s Edge. The youngest was pretty excited about the game, and then he specifically asked me.. “Do you have any girl color controllers?” I directed him to the only colored controllers we have which includes pink and purple ones. He grabbed the purple one, and informed me purple was his FAVORITE.

The boys had been taking awhile, so their father eventually comes in. He see’s the game, and the controller, and starts in on the youngest about how he needs to pick something different. Something more manly. Something with guns and fighting, and certainly not a purple controller. He tries to convince him to get the new Zombie game “Dead Island.” and the little boy just stands there repeating “Dad, this is what I want, ok?” Eventually it turns into a full blown argument complete with Dad threatening to whoop his son if he doesn’t choose different items.

That’s when big brother stepped in. He said to his Dad “It’s my money, it’s my gift to him, if it’s what he wants I’m getting it for him, and if your going to hit anyone for it, it’s going to be me.” Dad just gives his oldest son a strong stern stare down, and then leaves the store. Little brother is crying quietly, I walk over and ruffle his hair (yes this happened all in front of me.) I say “I’m a girl, and I like the color blue, and I like shooting games. There’s nothing wrong with what you like. Even if it’s different than what people think you should.” I smile, he smiles back (my heart melts!) Big brother then leans down, kisses little brother on the head, and says “Don’t worry dude.” They check out and leave, and all I can think is how awesome big brother is, how sweet little brother is, and how Dad ought to be ashamed for trying to make his son any other way.”

Since we live in a time where cynicism rules, people on the webs have of course already suggested that it’s “too good to be true”. Here’s Kristen’s response to this.

I believe her.

And I also believe, sadly enough, that there are too many boys out there who would like to try something “pink”, be it a game or a movie of their choice, but who are bullied out of doing it, by their fathers and other people in their surroundings.

Not everyone is blessed with a big brother who stands up for them. But perhaps this story can inspire a few more to do the same.

Written by Jessica

January 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. Yeah, I had seen this story at one of the feminism blogs I read. So great of the brother! So not great of the father. I got around any of this when I was young by having female friends and playing with their “girly” toys at their house.

    Bondo

    January 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    • I imagine it’s been posted a bit here and there already but I figure some may not have heard it. I love the magic of good storytelling.

      Jessica

      January 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm

  2. Very sweet.

    Someone should tell the little boy “It gets better”.

    Henke

    January 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    • It’s not that much of a comfort when you’re in middle of the crappiest years, but indeed it should be pointed out. It does gett better.

      Jessica

      January 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      • Nice story and hope the little boy has enough power to get through the tough period, he will face from his father and others in his entourage who are narrow-minded and stupid. Big Brother should be commended for their actions.

        Olof Plym Forshell

        January 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

        • At least he has a grat big brother. Not everyone is that fortunate.

          Jessica

          January 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  3. This story definitely struck a nerve with me – because my favourite colour is pink. Thank you for posting, because I was one of those who hadn’t come across it yet.

    Lewis Maskell

    January 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    • Thanks. It’s a good story and I think it probably will spread rapidly considering the power of twitter and facebook. But I don’t think we’re at the point where “everybody” has read it yet, so I wanted to share it with a few more.

      Jessica

      January 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

  4. Well, I immediately recognized Mirrors Edge. I’m a man and I really enjoyed the game. Plus games like “Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!”. At a certain age it all doesn’t matter anymore, my favorite movie is Before Sunrise and I’m not ashamed of admitting that.

    Sadly, kids can be cruel. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d like my boy to pick a pink controller. Other kids are cruel, won’t they bully him? In a way it’s protecting him from harm.

    Carra

    January 13, 2012 at 12:03 am

    • Well I beg to differ there. I don’t have a boy, but if I had, I’d never ever try to talk him out of picking a pink controller if that was what he wanted. If it would lead to him being bullied, I’d address the bullying instead, speaking to the other boys parents and giving him every support he could get from me.

      And I still need to watch Before Sunrise! I think I’m going to haunt the last remaining video store in my city today and see if they don’t have it in some remote corner. Thank you for the reminder!

      Jessica

      January 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    • Is there any better way to lend weight to the mockery of other children than the father backing them up?

      Klepsacovic

      January 14, 2012 at 2:04 am

  5. Very old post, but the truth deserves to be seen.

    Kristen Wolfe’s tumblr has been private for a long while, following a large amount of scrutiny about her story.

    There were multiple inconsistencies. She starts off by claiming “you thought I didn’t notice”, but quickly points out her intervention and “ruffling” of the kid’s hair.

    In an earlier post she mentions how she’s incredibly uncomfortable with physical contact, to where she likens any unsolicited physical contact (even a hug from a friend) to a form of rape, due to her troubled past. She locks down, feels nausious, and resents the person doing it.

    When this earlier post was brought to her attention, with a follow up of why she would “ruffle” a kid’s hair, when she had reason to believe he was abused, seemed entirely out of character. She blocked the person asking it, and set the previous posts to private.

    Then someone went to her workplace and asked about the story, and rather than address the points (like her co-workers saying it never happened), proceeded to lock her site down claiming people were stalking her in real life.

    While I don’t condone any attempts to track her down in real life, her actions and reactions, combined with how defensive she’s been about this since day one (when someone pointed out that the purple controller in question doesn’t exist, and she mistakenly linked a pink controller for a different system as proof before deleting both posts), leads me to believe it was just a fictional “pick me up”, greatly embellished story of the day for her little blog that got too popular for its own good.

    And of course, she’s now trying to lock down any proof it ever happened, but unfortunately this is the internet, and once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

    Which is sad. As much as I wanted this story to be true (parts of it at least, fantasizing about abusive fathers isn’t exactly a healthy thought), it had too many loose ends, no proof other than “I said so and if you doubt me you’re anti-gay”, that ended with her having to close her blog entirely.

    Matt

    February 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    • I guess “never check a good story” still is valid. It was very well told and I can see why it got wings. Anyway: thanks for bothering to put it right here, even if it’s just an old post at a small blog. Cheers!

      Jessica

      February 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm


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