Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right?
I admit, we appear to have a lot of different approaches to things. Like to me a pile of dirty dishes is a priority chore I need to get rid of pronto. My hubby doesn’t even see there’s a stack of dirty dishes.
My OCD issues versus his laissez faire attitude aside, now that girls aren’t simply reduced to being homemakers and baby machines we can reach for the stars as much as the boys.
I will be teaching my daughters there’s nothing that’s beyond their reach as long as they’re prepared to put the work in. No door should be closed to them in this day and age, and I am pleased to be raising them in such a time. Too bloody right too!
But there are still dangerous stereotypes out there that are being shamefully propagated by companies that should have our daughters’ backs.
I am a self-confessed baby clothes shopaholic. I love nothing more than dressing my little ones up in cute little slogan tops. My latest purchase from Next has “Little Unique One” written on it, I love it.
Sadly though on my latest shopping trip I found way too many items of clothing that reinforce the negative gender stereotypes. At its worst, the differences in clothing are like taking a trip back to the 1950s.
The general message to be gleaned from some clothing is; boys can be astronauts and palaeontologists, girls can be WAGs.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen girls clothing with slogans that irritate me, like “princess in the making” and “born to be pretty”. I know they seem harmless, but we’re sending a repeated message to our little girls. You’re only there to look good.
I love it when I can find a piece of girls’ clothing with things like dinosaurs on. Something that would usually only be seen on boys’ clothes.
I know we are all guilty of reinforcing stereotypes on some level. I want to dress my kids in pinks and pastels. I want to put them in sweet little dresses sometimes. I think that’s a matter of personal choice and it’s harmless. If other mums want to dress their girls in blues and blacks, that’s great!
But I think that’s harmless fun. It’s when we’re putting the message in black and white that I have a problem.
Take this tweet from @RocheJacques that caused a stir earlier this month. It’s truly shocking when you see the stark contrast side by side.
I couldn’t believe the different messages here. Boys are thinkers and girls just look good.
Here’s another one.
I was shocked to see Mothercare’s recent pictures online promoting Early Learning Centre toys featuring girls with rollers in their hair pushing round a toy vacuum cleaner. The brand defended its pictures, pointing out other photos of the household toys featured boys. But for me it was the dressing up the little girl as a 1950s housewife, not the fact she was playing with a vacuum cleaner. My daughter has a toy vacuum cleaner, but I don’t make her put on a servants’ uniform when she’s pushing it round the room.
I want to see an end to these, frankly offensive slogans. Let’s encourage retailers to ditch the sexist slogans by not buying them anymore. It’s simple economics for big brands. Although let’s be honest, they should just know better.
Let’s tell girls they can be astronauts, palaeontologists, inventors, doctors, scientists, whatever they want. Let’s encourage the message that it’s not about dreaming big, it’s about aiming high. Because girls don’t have to dream anymore, they can just do.
Our children look to us for guidance before they face the big wide world alone. Let’s not make them feel small before they set out into it.