One of my favourite things to write about is gender/sexism/perceived roles and all that malarkey. I did a feature recently on the campaign Pink Stinks which is basically a backlash against shops like ELC (Early Learning Centre) which have lots of pink merchandise, clearly aimed at girls, that's fairly limiting and narrow in terms of what they can do with them, and what they can do with them is fairly domestic; like a pink toaster or vacuum. Basically, Pink Stink's point is that this is giving our girls a clear message; that the home is their place. Happy toasting girls.They say ELC is saying; "see this domestic stuff, boring isn't it? well that's your life get used to it".
Thankfully the sisters running the campaign are more intellectual and articulate than myself and they make a pretty strong argument. And I whole heartedly agree with them. Sexism is rife in our society, we can't deny that. Take this week's antics with those sky neanderthals. Then the news coverage that said "and look she's actually rather good for a girl", well, not quite but they nearly did.
That all said though, I'm a bit pants at enforcing feminist rules into my own family life. OK, I will say I'm certainly no where near dressing Rosie in a 'Future WAG' t-shirt, which are apparently a popular choice with many. I want her to have ambition and aspiration, far beyond who she'll marry. Furthermore I get enraged with films or stories when some vain eejit of a Prince assumes the fair maiden will be desperate to marry him. I can indeed, be regularly seen swearing at cartoons, declaring how I'd never have married such a vain, self-righteous drawing!
But when it comes to pink and dresses and hair stuff and nail varnish, I'm kinda like "yeah whatever"... it's no big deal. It's fun, it's OK. And today Rosie and I went to watch a ballet, and I whispered to her in the theatre; "what do you think the boys are up to?" and I tried not to laugh when she said; "probably just at home trumping".
She was wrong of course. Clive is at least as capable a parent as I am. They'd gone for a walk in the country, to a cafe and been pretty civilised. I guess when it comes to gender it's all about letting them be them. Charles loves playing with his 'babies' and I swear I haven't forced him to, in some mis-guided attempt to right the world of all it's sexist wrongs. He loves giving them pretend milk, reading to them and throwing them down the stairs to see how hard they'll bounce. I'm sure when he hits nursery he'll be duly informed that "boys don't play with babies", but for now he can play with what he wants, in blissful ignorance of that kinda nonsense. Oh, and if he asked for a day at home trumping I'd let him have that too!
Here's Charles getting some very fresh air whilst we were ballet-ing it up!