Today I have a wonder post from a very good friend Lucy who blogs over at Lucy's Mad House. I've known Lucy for a few years and she never fails to cheer me up when needed, she is a great person and my BritMums roomie of the past two years! Today Lucy has a different type of post for you, something which is far from her usual style BUT a wonderful post and something I've touched on here before.
So without further ado I pass you over to Lucy:
Something that has never been much of an issue for me but over the last couple of weeks I have heard and read a few things that make me want to stand on my soap box and say my piece loud and clear and I thank my very good friend and fellow blogger Clare for inviting me over to do just so.
Who has a boy that plays with baby dolls and prams or dresses up in girls clothes or even wears their sisters/mums make up or nail varnish?
Who has a girl that likes Lego, cars and pretty much anything that her big brother likes?
Loads of people probably, all of my children have played freely with gender specific toys and clothes at a young age before society and the media made them feel uncomfortable doing so.
It was only the other week that my 3 year old son found some nail varnish belonging to his sister who coincidentally hates nail varnish and make up and in fact wearing pretty “girly” clothes. He proceeded to paint all of his finger and toe nails, when I asked him if it bothered him that some people think its girly he couldn't care less, he just wanted to wear nail varnish.
So whether you are for or against, your child will naturally want to try new things and why not let them? Women have fought for years about gender equality yet when in the hospital playroom with my youngest daughter and a little boy wanted to play with the pink baby stroller, straight away his mum said, “no you can't play with that, it's for girls!”. To me that says she is teaching her son that looking after children is for women.
My son saw a children's sewing machine in a TV advert and says he would like one, despite being a little young, he sees me sewing on mine so wants a go for himself. I went direct to the company and asked if they produce them in neutral colours, the answer was no it only comes in pink with big flowers on it, why is sewing for girls when there are men out there that are tailors and fashion designers?
Toy brands hear this, please please can you start producing more gender neutral toys, in neutral colours that may help society stop stereotyping. It's not going to make any less money being in different colours its going to help society evolve and be more accepting of a boy that wants to play with a doll or a tea set.
I read about a couple today who kept the gender of their child a secret from the world until he started school. There may not have been enough research into the effects but I can't see how it could be harmful at all. He will have had the chance to play and explore, I actually feel sorry for the parents that people couldn't seem to accept it and branded the mum a freak!
We all probably think we are modern and I am sure at some point we have all been guilty of gender stereotyping, I know I have and its because society, brands and the media have all made it that way but we need to change this and all these recent things have made me think about the way I react when my child wants to wear nail varnish or dress up. After all children learn by example and so we need to be setting a good one. I have done a bit of research on this and found some facts that I found to be interesting.
Boys are taught to be tough and not cry about things – this leads to them being unable to open up about their feelings later on in life. Ladies this is also why men find it hard to communicate in a relationship.
Gender Stereotypes associated with Women:
- Child rearing
Gender Stereotypes associated with Men:
- No Emotions
- Math and Science Oriented
- Money Maker
So mums, you need to be loud, messy and show more discipline and dads you need to tidy up, play tea parties with your kids and be more submissive :) if you are doing so already then good on you. This sounds good to me, I can be a right messy cow at times!
Stereo typing in the media
In adverts women are used to promote cleaning products, household items and baby products. Men are used to promote beer, lawn mowers, cars, D.I.Y products... What? So women don't drink beer or mow the lawn? And men don't clean or look after babies?
The truth is in our house, my husband does go out to work while I stay at home with the kids but when it comes to manual labour or D.I.Y, if we had a lawn it would be me mowing it, any odd jobs, painting etc, it's me that does it, my husband loves cooking and is amazing at playing with the kids and he makes a lovely cuppa.
Lets try and think of some brands that have been fair and not made their products gender specific, I know there are some toy companies that have specific gender neutral toys, I applaud them.
The ones I can think of are Mr Muscle, I always remember that because the man in the original advert looked like a school teacher that I never got on with and I seem to remember a Shake N Vac advert with a big beefy guy hoovering.
Which brands can you think of? I'm sure there are more out there.I would love to hear about any toy companies who sell gender neutral toys too.
Thanks for reading
PS: Just to make you all chuckle, whilst finishing this article an advert came on the TV where a man was looking after the baby and the woman was working in the phone shop, well done O2!