Lewis Hamilton

OPINION

Lewis Hamilton’s apology for chastising his nephew’s princess dress may not be as sincere as you think

Photo: Getty Images

The formula one driver seems to think the backlash is a case of political correctness gone mad

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By Kuba Shand-Baptiste on

Social media is never more earnest than it is when the Christmas holidays roll around. Heartwarming stories of long overdue reunions pour in by the hundreds, virtual bonding over dramatic conclusions to Christmas specials ripple across the nation and as ever, home videos start to roll in.

Lewis Hamilton’s contribution to the ever-expanding roster of amateur Christmas content, however, proved to be more upsetting than it was heartwarming. On Christmas day, the Formula One world champion decided it would be a good idea to post a (now deleted) video on Instagram of his nephew wearing a princess dress, with the sole purpose of mocking him for it.

Speaking into the camera prior criticising the child for failing to conform to gender norms, Hamilton says: “ 'I'm so sad right now — look at my nephew.'” before turning the camera around in order to show his 5.7m followers the source of his discomfort: the fact that a little boy dared to wear a fun, sparkly, fancy dress costume for Christmas.

“Why are you wearing a Christmas dress?” Hamilton continues as the child, unaware of the malice behind the words, laughs along. “Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas? [...] boys don't wear princess dresses!” He adds, before the child playfully turns away with his hands over his ears.  

When you consider the frequency of stories of children being abused, killed and driven to suicide due to adults around them enforcing gender norms, it’s difficult to dismiss Hamilton’s choice to share this video 

It’s obvious that Hamilton thought this a funny exchange; innocent, gendernormative jibing, perhaps. But, as was rightly pointed out by several of his followers, celebrities and a number of publications, when you consider the frequency of stories of children being abused, killed and driven to suicide due to adults around them enforcing gender norms, or how damaging systemic gender discrimination can be for children who just want to express themselves, it’s difficult to dismiss Hamilton’s choice to share this video with millions of Instagram followers as anything but harmful.

Even the apology following the backlash seemed to be marred by hints of indignation from the Formula One driver. After posting the following:

– it was revealed that Hamilton liked a series of tweets from people who thought he had done nothing wrong, with many of them imploring him to take back his apology because, as one user wrote: “the world’s gone mad with political correctness”.

So, really, like so many men before him, Hamilton doesn’t actually seem to be sorry for what he did. Quite the opposite, actually. And as frustrating as that is, it’s important to remember that the sooner more of us take the steps to unlearn sentiments like Hamilton’s, the better.

@kubared

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