“The girl who was once happy with a cardboard box and a spatula, is now asking for makeup, handbags and fake nails”
BY JENNA WIMSHURST
As my niece gets older and starts telling me what she actually want for her birthday, I find myself in a bit of a pickle.
The girl who was once happy with a cardboard box and a spatula, is now asking for makeup, handbags and fake nails. Everything I despise.
How the hell do I try to challenge stereotypical gender roles whilst still being her favourite aunt? Obviously being the slightly kooky lesbian aunt just isn’t enough anymore…
As I walk down the “girls” aisle in the shadow of death I take a look at the toys and I see… pink.
Pink fluffy stationary, pink dollies, pink makeup sets, pink ballerina outfits and maybe, just maybe… something purple. Parents, how about we stop the demand and try to get them something that’s, oh I don’t know – not pink?
In the good old days when my niece was too young for makeup and too old for the cardboard box and spatula combo, instead of getting her Barbies, dresses and fairy outfits, I would get her something fun, educational and interesting like a dinosaur mask, Lego or a plastic gun with skulls on.
I bet there are parents out there who wouldn’t even dream of getting their daughters a plastic gun with skulls on it. But I bet they wouldn’t think twice about getting it for their son.
Bizarre, because really as a parent you probably shouldn’t be getting your child any type of gun, regardless of whether your child has a penis or a vagina. Poor parenting people, poor parenting.
In fact, in the 1800’s blue used to be “for girls” and pink used to be “for boys”, but this has obviously changed since then and people have really embraced these new colours to represent gender with every ounce of their being.
People are so scared that their kid is going to be gay that they will make sure that their daughters are dressed in the most feminine pink girly outfit ever, and their sons are dressed in the most masculine boy’s outfit ever.
Putting your son in a dress or a pink top isn’t going to make him want to kiss boys, get into musical theatre and start an obsession with RuPaul’s Drag Race when he’s older.
Similarly, putting your daughter in a pair of dungarees and giving her a sword to play with isn’t going to make her want to kiss girls, build a granny annexe and start an obsession with the best recycling practices when she becomes of age.
My cousin used to push a toy pram around the garden and my nan said that if his parents continued to let him do that, he would end up gay. Well, he grew up, got married to a woman and had two kids, so shut up Nan!
Ok, so that’s not the best example to support my argument because my cousin did end up divorcing his wife and marrying a bloke, but I doubt that the pram pushing had much influence on him the first time he found himself naked in the gym shower with another guy.
Other stupid gender stereotypes that you should really knock out of your children when they’re young is that girls are vulnerable and boys are strong.
You may not realise but the choices you make when your children are young have a huge bearing on their adulthood and are a barrier to their success.
If a boy can only go out and play football and a girl can only pretend to be a mum or use her Easy Bake Oven then what the hell does that mean for their future? The boy can go and have fun and the girl can make dinner?
A guy on my Facebook recently became a new dad to a baby boy, was he bouncing? Who cares. What the new dad did care about was that his new son was seen as a stud, even at a few hours old:
“Watch out ladies, this one’s going to be a right LAD,” his status read.
In other words, he’s going to womanise his way around the town he lives in, be a dickhead to women and probably get someone pregnant before his 17th. What odd aspirations to have for your new offspring.
Could you imagine if he’d had a baby girl?
“Watch out fellas, this one’s going to be a right slut!” Ha! No… There would be no such post.
And if there was a post like that, it would be taken down quicker than a picture of my nipple on Instagram (#FreeTheNipple).
If a boy wants to be a delicate flower who expresses emotions and shies away from physically demanding activities, then great. Similarly, if a girl wants to strap on a hard hat, get her builder’s bum out and shout obscenities across a building site then, well, that’s an issue that’s a bit more deep rooted and you should really look into that.
But you get my point…
My advice to break down the prejudice and gender discrimination is to let your child play and wear what they want (to a certain extent obviously, don’t let them wear a Borat mankini to Christmas lunch).
What if a girl had the capabilities to cure cancer but instead of giving her a science set she was given a Braid Your Own Hair kit?
And what if a boy had the capabilities to be the best ballet dancer in the world, but instead of giving him a pair of ballet pumps he was given a pair of football boots?
The world would sorely miss out…
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