[Editor’s note: Elizabeth took her son shopping to find the perfect “Inside Out” backpack. She retells the story here, using the beloved characters.]
Joy: School is almost here! It’s time to go school shopping.
Fear: Ugh. How much is this going to cost?
Anger: Why is that Skylanders backpack already broken? It only lasted for one half of his kindergarten year.
Joy: So now he gets a new backpack for first grade. One he’ll love and adore. He can pick out whatever kind he wants and he’ll be so excited for school. Here are the backpacks. Let’s look for the “Inside Out” bags.
Fear: What if we can’t find one he likes?
Sadness: He’ll have to keep using that broken one.
Anger: Where are they? Why are there so many minion backpacks. When will the minions be over?
Joy: Here it is. It’s an “Inside Out” backpack and he loves it. He loves it and he’s going to have a great year at school.
Fear: It’s pink.
Joy: But he loves it. He can’t stop holding it.
Sadness: Yeah. But the other kids will laugh at him and he’ll cry if he takes that backpack to school.
Disgust: What’s wrong with people they would laugh at 6-year-old?
Sadness: Not people. Other kids. Kids are awful and mean. And love to laugh at little boys who don’t follow along with everyone else.
Joy: But this backpack makes him happy. Why can’t he have the bag that makes him happy? A pink backpack isn’t going to turn him into a girl.
Anger: Why is there only one freakin’ “Inside Out” backpack. And why is it PINK! Doesn’t Disney know boys liked “Inside Out” this summer?
Joy: Let’s get him the bag. It makes him happy. He’ll still have on boy clothes and boy shoes and play with boy toys and do boy games.
Fear: They’re all going to laugh at him.
Sadness: Then he won’t like the bag anymore.
Fear: And he’ll always be known as the boy who brought a pink sparkly bag to school.
Joy: Why does it matter that it’s pink? Pink is just a color. It’s just a mix of red and white. It doesn’t matter if a girl carries a blue bag or one with IronMan on it. Why should this bag, which is really only pink on the back and straps, mean he’ll be forever labeled the pink bag boy? Haven’t we moved beyond that as a culture.
Sadness: Let’s see what they have on Amazon.
Joy: They have lots of choices!
Disgust: That’s purple, still too much of a girl color.
Sadness: That’s too shiny.
Disgust: Too small.
Anger: That’s labeled a girls’ bag.
Fear: How much is this going to cost? $50!
Joy: There’s one! It’s black. It’s not $50! Our pictures are small all over the bag and the large pocket has a big picture of all of us. There’s a rainbow and it’s sparkly but mostly the bag is black. Let’s see if he likes it.
HE LIKES IT.
And no one laughed.
I think it’s going to work out fine.
Photos: Pixar; Elizabeth Foster