There is a creative fella out there who has designed some wonderful posters using sentences that he has found himself saying to his children.
I love them. My favourite is “Stop riding that penguin, we’re leaving!”
At least once a day I finish a sentence and find my eyebrows furrowing in wonderment at what I just uttered.
“Oh! You did a poo in daddy’s shoe?!”
“You are really worried that the evil witch that lives in the drawer might lick you, huh?”
And lately, far, far too many sentences along these lines “Ah, see, I am not sure that that fork/ clothes peg / dog IS just for girls/ boys. I like to think ANYONE could use it?!”
If I wasn’t bothered by it it would be funny. Ramona is forming strict ideas about what is for boys and what is for girls along quite arbitrary lines and without being wholly sure about different genders to begin with. Ramona was wearing her daddy’s hiking boots and when Juno tried to grab the laces Ramona announced that she mustn’t because “You are a boy! And these boots are for girls!” (Juno isn’t and they aren’t.)
These conversations are okay, of course. Ramona is simply processing the idea of gender its meaning and the language we use around it all. I don’t have (many) worries about her forever believing that forks are only ever to be used by womankind.
However, I can’t say I don’t care. My response to her when she says these things doesn’t reflect my normal response when she says something that isn’t factually correct – normally I just repeat what she has said back to her “Ah, you think x x x x?” because I think constantly correcting children must be a pain in the ass for them. But I can’t help myself when it comes to this boy/ girl stuff… I tend to say something like “Ah, you feel these are just for boys, eh? I wonder if it could be for everyone?”
And when she came to me with a Marvel comic and told me it was just for boys I had a CONNIPTION. She loves Spiderman and it pained me that somehow she had decided it wasn’t for her. I went through the comic and showed her every female superhero in there. (There were none. I had to pick them out as arbitrarily as Ramona decides who is a boy or girl.)
I shouldn’t worry. I am fairly certain that Ramona is going to grow up eventually knowing that colours belong to all people and that no one product/ idea/ career belongs to one gender.
I don’t really know many adults that hold fast to the idea that pink is just for girls and that if you like pink you must be a bit girly.
But there must be some.
Because apparently the new pink Pritt Stick is “just for girls.” Clearly the people sitting around the board room believe that not all children are allowed to love all colours and that there are some products that 50% of children can’t have.
Or that they can have but only after admitting that there is something wrong or weird about it.
And this is what winds me up. I mean *really* winds me up.
By scrawling “Just for girls” on anything pink/ to do with baking/ to do with dolls / certain items of clothing companies are saying that the boys that like pink/ baking/ dolls/ skirts are strange. This is CRUEL. It gives pre-schoolers the impression that they don’t fit. It makes the playground a bully arena. It gives other kids ammo to start firing at anyone who is a little different. It sets them up for life to repress their real desires in order to suit society’s idea of them.
Pritt Stick don’t actually believe that pink is just for girls. I don’t imagine the Pritt Stick boardroom to be filled with women in pink tutus on one side and men in blue suits on the other side gleefully discussing the merits of a “Just for Girls” glue to help girls feel so much more in touch with their feminine side.
Oh no. I am pretty confident that they are all too aware that this is a false distinction (and it is false – the majority of boys and girls under two choose colours with pinker tones as their favourite colour – then they get older and half of them realise they aren’t allowed) but these marketing folk are pushing it out as a way of further commercialising childhood.
Because if they can convince parents and children that boys and girls can’t share products than we will have to keep buying more, a pink glue stick for the daughters and a blue for the sons. Each new child will need a whole new set of clothes, a whole new set of toys and, clearly, a whole new set of craft supplies.
(Craft supplies, for goodness sake!)
And it is just another deadlock on the door that traps us into consumerism and another bar in the cage of society’s oppressive gender limitations.
Pink Pritt Stick? *harumph* We are not buying it!
PS- I sent them an email about their stupid glue and you can too, if you like, using this contact form.