Sassy in pink

A seventh grader chooses to fight school administrators who suspended her for having pink hair.

Published August 22, 2008 9:00PM (EDT)

With apologies to my nephew Will, Amelia Robbins is my new favorite 12-year-old. The Missouri seventh grader was suspended from school as soon as it started this year because she'd dyed her hair pink over the summer -- with her mother's permission, and as a tribute to her late father, who died of cancer. (Reports don't say whether he died of breast cancer, but if not, call it artistic license.) Administrators argue that the dye job is a "distraction" to other students, but with the full support of her mom, Amelia's choosing to fight the suspension rather than adopt a more conventional hair color. "I don't feel like I should have to, because i'm expressing myself as an individual. Because they constantly tell us be different, don't follow the crowd." Nice one, kiddo! It's never too early to start calling out your superiors' hypocrisy!

I'm probably so taken by Amelia's story because I would have loved to dye my hair pink at 12, but my mother would have killed me -- and had the funeral home bleach it back to blond for the wake. But I find her so utterly charming in this CNN video, where she comes off as somewhat dorky, very bright, trying a little too hard to sound grown-up, and totally unwilling to take B.S. from authority figures. Which is to say, she sounds like someone who will grow up to be a fine feminist blogger. Rock on with your pink hair and your fight against the powers that be, Amelia. And send us the link to your blog someday.

By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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