I’m annoyed at the amount of sexist crap available to inform our kids about what it means to be a boy or a girl.
This week Tom told me he wanted to play Angry Birds with Elizabeth, but he couldn’t. Why? Because she’s a girl. Also, Gavin, the swimming teacher is not a real teacher, because teachers are girls.
But is it any wonder, he’s starting to see rules about what girls and boys can and can’t do? Children are conditioned into this way of seeing the world, from birth. Boys and girls are presented almost as if they belong to entirely different species.
1. Good luck to those expectant mums (and dads) who choose not to find out the gender of their baby before the birth. Heading to the shops, full of pregnant happiness, dying to splash out on some cute little gender neutral outfits; your excitement will turn to exasperation when you are faced with rack upon rack of very blue and very pink. If you look hard enough, you may find a tiny section of white and cream. But this will consist of about 3 baby grows and possibly a hat. And two of these items will feature Winnie the Pooh and will be rubbish.
2. Once your bundle of joy has arrived, and you’ve discovered if you’ve got a blue one or a pink one, the conditioning really begins. Whether you’ve got a big, strong boy or a beautiful baby girl, there no way of avoiding the stereotypes.
Take, for example, the Aptamil advert. None of that for Jem, thank you very much because the attitudes evident in this most patronising and moronic marketing campaign, make me want to throw something through my tv.
“Aptamil Follow On Milk ….their future starts today.”
If they are a boy that future will be as a mathematician, or a climber, or a scientist developing baby milk. If they’re a girl; a ballerina. It’s so ridiculous that I cannot believe someone in 2015 didn’t say – “Is this not massively sexist? Should we really make the girl baby a ballerina? Might mothers not find this a bit insulting?”
It’s Cow and Gate and a bit of boob for us. I don’t reckon he’ll be a ballerina though – he’s enormous.
3. As we’re approaching Christmas, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time feeling pissed off in the toy aisle. The difference between girl toys and boy toys is startling, and it seems all toys do have to be marked clearly as being for boys or girls.
Take Lego. It used to be just Lego, suitable for children. Any children. Even girl ones. But now there’s girl Lego. It’s especially for girls because it’s like boy Lego. Except it comes in a pink tub.
Don’t worry girl parents. There’s pink girl Lego available, suitable for your child’s girl fingers and girl brain. Obviously, girls are far more sociable than boys, so it’s called “friends”. Instead of building cars or boy job related buildings such as fire stations and police stations, your girls can build palaces, cafes or juice bars, and of course, stables. Lucky, lucky them. There’s far less of it than there is “normal” lego but, don’t worry, it’ll probably take your girls longer to build than it would if they were boys. Girls aren’t very good at building things.
4. The expectations that are set for how boys and girls should be isn’t just bad for girls. Running, pushing, wrestling, fighting are suddenly what constitutes play. This baffles me. My gentle, loving little boy all of a sudden likes pretending to be a monster. But then, look at what they’re surrounded by; look at the role models our boys have; look at the toys on offer;
Spiderman, Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, WWF Wrestlers, Star Wars, Angry Birds.
Nerf Guns, swords, light sabers, wrestling rings.
And later on, there’s a whole world of video game violence to enjoy: Grand Theft Auto, Street Fighter, Call of Duty – Black Ops, Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, Modern Warfare 500. Kill as many people as you can, as quickly as you can.
All encourage competition and aggression so is it any wonder this emerges in boys’ play. It sucks.
But don’t worry, folks. If your girl child wants to join in pretending to murder their friends, Nerf have just the thing….
As crap and annoying as girl Lego is, it is nowhere near as ridiculous as Nerf Rebelle. Feast your eyes on this.
Yes. Nerf guns for girls. Like Nerf for boys, which will make you “the fiercest protector on the battlefield”, but shitter. With Nerf Rebelle (pink of course) you’ll be the “most stylish” spy around.
I am not making this up.
It is a gun, that TURNS INTO A HANDBAG!
So happy Christmas shopping, parents. If you see me in the the Entertainer with steam coming out of my ears, you’ll know why. I could try and buck the trend but I somehow doubt Tom would be happy unwrapping a Baby Born and Disney Frozen Snowglobe Elsa on Christmas Morning.