Gender stereotypes are just ridiculously annoying. I think that marketing things at different genders by making them pink or blue is stupid and supporting gender stereotypes when raising your children is not the way to go!
I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll start with the picture. I took this picture of a ‘boys apron’ at my local Wilkinsons. Why is it a ‘boy’s’ apron? Because it is blue and green. Wilkinsons have just pushed their stupid gender stereotypes on everyone who considers buying that apron. Forgetting about people buying things for their children for a moment, a young girl who picks this up and thinks ‘What a cool apron’ will then see ‘boys’ and is more than likely to think that they can’t have it /because/ it’s for boys, and the same goes for any ‘girl’s’ aprons, if a little boy picks up a cool pink and purple apron because they think it’s cool, and see it’s for girls they are bound to think ‘Oh, I can’t have that it’s for girls, I am a boy’
Children’s toys are just the same, pink little dollys for the girls and blue race cars for the boys. Don’t try and tell me that girls naturally go for pink and boys naturally go for blue (you’re wrong if you think that. ha ha.) because that is RIDICULOUS. Gender stereotypes are thrust upon children until that’s what they deem normal and so that cycle continues as they bring up their children the same way. My brother will probably kill me for saying this, (although it’s unlikely he’ll read this) but he’s two years younger than me, and we used to play together all the time, and GUESS WHAT?! I played cars and dinosaurs and adventures with him and he played barbies and dollys and mummy and daddys with me, because we enjoyed it all. My mother did an absolutely fantastic job of letting my sister, brother and I grow up in a pretty gender neutral household, we weren’t all pink dresses or blue baby grows. For a start we all wore a lot of the same things, and we all looked fabulous in them!
The thing is, my sister and I weren’t forced to wear dresses, but we could if we /wanted/ to, just as my brother wasn’t forced to play football and wear blue jerseys. Our bedroom, when we all shared, was yellowy cream and when we moved out my sister had her room painted pink and green, and I had mine painted purple and green. There were no restraints when I was growing up, I could wear shorts and shirts if I wanted but, and I regret this hugely, I also owned a baby pink tracksuit (one of my darker moments -shudder-).
My bedroom now is decorated with a ridiculous amount of posters, ranging from sharks to Doctor Who to Hello Kitty (Yes I’m sixteen, yes Hello Kitty is the best.) and that’s cool because I can like whatever I want.
Parents, you have such a HUGE part to play in this, because society goes ‘BUY PINK THINGS FOR YOUR DAUGHTERS AND GET THEM TO DO BALLET AND WEAR DRESSES’ and ‘BUY BLUE THINGS FOR YOUR SONS AND GET THEM TO DO RUGBY AND LIKE CARS’ and you just do it, maybe subconsiously, but once you’ve bought pink/blue things for your child you just continue until they are consumed, stop that, let /them/ choose. Also what’s all this about girls being super close to their mums and boys being best buds with their dads, why does that have to be a thing? Oh well Fathers go fishing with their sons and Mothers go shopping with their daughters. STOP. Why? Why do girls have to like shopping (I’m not saying I don’t) and boys have to like outdoorsy, manly stuff (I love fishing, so there) I know that it’s really common for guys to hate shopping and stuff, but if I only ever went shopping with my mum as a child and never went adventuring in the woods, or fishing, or bike rides or whatever else I did with my dad what would I be like?! (a lot fatter and a lot more boring is the answer) I am really really close with my mother, we’re really alike and I love her to bits, I love shopping with her, and talking with her, discussing news, politics, fashion (ha ha ha) and whatever else, but I am so close to my dad as well, I love car trialing with him (you have to drive up very steep very muddy hills, it’s the most fun you would not believe) and I love fishing with him and talking and laughing (seriously bad jokes are the new good jokes) and I just freaking love my parents basically. What I’m saying is, there’s this weird thing where the girls spend time doing hair and being ‘girls’ together in a family and the boys go out to watch the football or something, what’s that about? Be a family or include all your children, whatever gender, when you go out.
This is something else that I will definitely elaborate on in another post, but TV shows and Movies that are identified as for boys. Just stop. I will read, watch and enjoy anything I like thank you very much. Relatives (Although this happens less because they don’t really get me presents any more, just money, which is better anyway) would buy my brother Doctor Who memorabilia and buy me Love2Shop vouchers or something, unfair, I am just as obsessed with Doctor Who as the next person (if the next person is ridiculously obsessed with Doctor Who that is)
The problem is boys seem to have this impression given them by the rest of the world that ‘girly’ is bad and they have to be ‘manly’ and like blue and football and beating people up. What is that about?!
It’s the same for girls, we’re expected to be ‘girly’ and like pink, and barbie dolls and dresses, and stay away from ‘men’s’ sports like football and rugby, for some reason we’re supposed to be dainty and feminine, and girls are so often protrayed as weak. no.
Even with women’s leagues in Football and Rugby they’re still seen as women doing men’s sports, who gave sports genders anyway? Why are Netball and Hockey girl’s sports? I don’t know.
I was in a school uniform shop the other day and they had some stickers on the counter, I just went to have a closer look and fancy that pink for girls and blue for boys. Oh but there’s more, the girls stickers said things like ‘lipstick’ and ‘pretty’ and had pictures of fairies and princesses on and the boys said things like ‘awesome’ and ‘football’ and had pictures of dinosaurs and spacemen. I wanted the blue stickers, they were way cooler.
Talking of school uniform, why can’t girls wear shorts in the summer? ANSWER ME THAT?? We HAVE to wear tights and skirts or trousers. (To be fair the boys can’t even wear shorts in summer at our school but that’s another kettle of fish entirely.) At primary school we had ‘summer dresses’ and the boys had shorts, I mean my summer dress was okay, but just imagine how much more comfortable shorts would have been, pretty sure I wore shorts underneath anyway so I didn’t have any flashing my pants incidents.
Jeez, don’t even get me started on clothing, I am NEVER going to understand why girls can wear dresses and skirts and trousers and shorts (deliberate over use of the and there by the way) but guys are limited to trousers and shorts?! If a guy wears a dress or a skirt they’re cross dressing but if a girl wears trousers that totally normal? It’s just clothing, dude if you wanna wear a skirt you go straight ahead, you’ll look fab in it I’m sure. That’s discrimination ladies and gentlemen, who thought this up? Some stupid dude probably, in ancient Rome they were all wearing togas, that’s like a dress, and what? Suddenly dresses on guys is a big no no?
Same with make-up, whatever dude, you wanna wear some mascara, go for it. My mum’s boyfriend is a boss and wears nail-varnish, and people think he’s a bit strange, why?? Please someone tell me why! Oh yeah that’s right GENDER STEREOTYPES. (Don’t get me wrong, ladies fit shirts are built for boobs, but c’mon that’s not really what I’m getting at here)
The mass media shapes people opinions on almost everything, we assimilate everything that we read, hear, and watch, and create our own opinions, based on what we know. Although the gap between genders is a whole lot smaller than it ever has been before, the media still perpetuates the notion of ‘traditional gender roles’ and continues to influence people’s attitudes and depict certain people or groups negatively or unrealistically. The mass media just creates a reality to fit with the majority group of people, whilst unequally representing minority groups, and painting them in a negative light. This manipulation is the media’s way of interpreting everything, not just gender roles, and it sucks (don’t listen to them, they’re probably lying, or they’ve distorted the image of the ‘perfect person’ or ‘perfect life’ and it will neve be achievable – also who wants to be perfect, how boring.) Advertising is big on telling people how they /should/ be, and we need to stop listening. Magazines market things to us, and our children, in an extremely gender influenced way, pink pages for the girls toys, blue for the boys. Showing girls playing with the kitchen toys (which really really annoys me, WOMEN. DO. NOT. BELONG. IN. THE. KITCHEN. apart from the fact that the majority of the world’s top chefs are men, if I hear another ‘get back in the kitchen’ joke I might have to rip off my own ears.) and boys playing with the cars, what sort of message is that sending girls, boys and parents? They are directed by the manufacturer to specific toys, ordering your girl a toy from the ‘boys’ section, unlikely – not because you don’t want her to have a transformers action figure, but because the catalogue is telling you ‘perfect for girls’ next to the bright pink toy vacuum cleaner.
-GENDER NEUTRAL TOY CATALOGUES, was that so hard?-
Why is there a difference between ‘girl’s stuff’ and ‘boys stuff’ huh? I admit maybe the majority of boys and girls fit the stereotypes (although how many of those were shaped by adverts, parents and society?) but what about that minority of girls who really like wearing shorts and having short hair but then are ‘tom boys’ and the minority of guys who love pink and can’t resist a shopping trip, but then are ‘feminine’. DISCRIMINATION.
(definitely going to be writing more about this, I can feel it) (apology for badly arranged ideas)
EDIT: LOOK HERE http://pinterest.com/socimages/pointlessly-gendered-products/
EDIT 6/9/13: GO TOYS R US!! http://www.toynews-online.biz/news/read/toys-r-us-to-drop-boys-and-girls-labelling/040859