I don’t know if anyone has seen the post by Shona Campbell, an amazing woman outraged by a fellow mum who laughed at her sons socks, just because they had red hearts on.
This struck a real cord with me. I hate gender stereotypes with a real passion.
In my book, why can’t kids just be kids? Why should there be a boy/girl divide?
Until I had the girls, this didn’t even cross my mind. One of three sisters, we played with everything, from our bucket full of cars to our Barbies and dinosaurs. We were never made to feel weird about it and always thought it was the norm. Then senior school happened and it all changed. We were called tomboys for liking cars, made fun of for climbing trees and damn right bullied for hanging out with the boys instead of the make-up clad girls.
So when I had The Kid, I was really adamant that we would keep things neutral, which of course went out the door within ten minutes of her being born. The Hub shrugged, “she’s a girl. what do you expect?” Umm, more than just pink clothes to be honest. From there it only got worse. She was the first grandchild so was, of course, showered with gifts. We received everything, from pink fairy books to pink bottles and dresses. So you can imagine the reception I got from my dad of all people when I turned up frazzled from another shit night sleep to his reply of “oh, you put her in jeans.”
What the fuck?
Of course, it only got worse as she got older. She would pick out her favourite colour, pink annoyingly, and say it was because she was a girl. What? I went mad. “Boys can like pink too,” I told her sternly, to only find out that The Hub had told her he liked blue because he was a boy……
So then the dreaded pre-school party season started and it seemed to get worse. Different party bags were given out depending on gender and, of course, a meltdown ensued when one of the boys wanted the same bag as his sister. His mum seemed to whisk him away quickly, muttering under her breath that his sister had a pink party bag because she was a girl and he had a blue one because he was boy. Fine. Each to their own.
It didn’t really click until The Kid was given a party bag after a rather crazy weekend, and was told kindly she surely didn’t want a blue glow stick as she was a little girl and little girls like pink. I was seething, but let it go after a stern look from The Hub. She of course swapped, and didn’t say anything about it, but it got me going, and, of course, made me notice gender stereotypes more. They are everywhere and it pisses me off!
Surely kids regardless of gender should be free to embrace what interests them – be it mud, diggers and cars for girls, or fashion, dolls and make-up for boys. Why does it matter?
Why do we still teach our kids that certain colours, toys and behaviour are the right things for girls/boys? If The Kid or The Babe wanted to dress as Spiderman or continue their obsession with Paw Patrol, I would be over the moon. I would support them if they wanted to be footballers, accountants, bricklayers, scientists or firefighters.
I believe in bringing the kids up to understand that they can be anything and achieve everything. I want them to be able to figure out who they want to be, not who the rest of the world wants them to be.
So blow all the pink dresses that were bought for The Babe, and see you later to all the Barbies and princess gowns The Kid was given at Christmas. My kids will play with whatever they like, regardless of what our closed minded society says!