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Heidi Shaffer, Published March 29 2014

Hot topic: Empowerment meant for girls and boys

For me, feminism is all about having the choice to be whoever you want.

As our cover feature today and several hot-button stories from around the country this week shows, finding out who you are starts as a child – boy or girl.

This week, 9-year-old Grayson Bruce made the rounds on morning talk shows after his school told him he could no longer bring his “My Little Pony” backpack because he was being bullied for it.

The North Carolina elementary school later apologized after his parents claimed Grayson was being blamed for the bullying rather than the school putting a stop to it.

A few days later, I stumbled across the story of 8-year-old Sunnie Kahle, who was denied re-enrollment to her private Christian school because of the way she dressed and acted.

“God has made her female, and her dress and behavior need to follow suit,” the local Fox TV station reported the school wrote in the letter to Sunnie’s grandparent guardians.

Her grandparents told the station that Sunnie identifies as a girl, but she likes to wear jeans and T-shirts, keep her hair short and play in the mud.

These are two examples of kids just choosing what they like, but our culture defines those behaviors as “male” or “female.”

Bottom line: Our culture has made these behaviors seem inappropriate. It’s time to let kids learn who they are without the fear of being labeled.