In honour of International Women’s Day, let me show you a little something that happened on Twitter.
@DrAshleyCook asked @NextOfficial: “why is this only for boys? And also, where’s ?! ” (link to tweet)
Next, in their wisdom, answered over two tweets (tweet 1, tweet 2): “Hi there are many members of the Justice League not included on this tee…” “These 4 went best with the space we had . Sorry if this has caused you any offence.”
Note the fake apology.
Which is wrong on so many levels. 1. It doesn’t answer the first question: Why is this only for boys? 2. So the four who went best with the space just happened to be male? 3. Actually, all design wisdom suggests that any group should consist of an odd number of things to be most pleasing to the eye.
So I call bullshit.
De “nye” Bratz er her, kan Brio fortelle meg denne uken. Bortsett fra at illustrasjonen er tegnet, og ikke bare et bilde av dukkene, kan jeg ikke si jeg ser noen stor forskjell, men så har jeg heller aldri studert “orginalen” noe særlig inngående. Trutmunn har de i alle fall. Men skal vi tro Brio er de mindre utseendefiksert enn før:
De populære dukkene som tok verden med storm er tilbake, men de er ikke helt som før! De fantastiske Bratz dukkene blir relansert med helt nye verdier og utseende. Make-up’en har blitt nedtonet, og budskapet handler om å være seg selv og å gå sine egne veier!
Helt nye verdier og utseende, faktisk. Og det handler altså om å være seg selv. Og hvordan velger Brio å feire denne revolusjonerende nye filosofien?
Den 5. september inviterer vi derfor alle jenter til «Lekelørdag» i våre BRIO butikker. Der får dere sett de fantastiske, nye Bratz! Vi har en fotovegg og rosa løper slik at jentene kan ta selfies sammen med Bratz – og det vil være en mulighet til å vinne en photoshoot med en profesjonell stylist!
Selfies og photoshoot. Jeje. Rosa løper, dessuten, for det er bare mannlige stjerner (eller skal vi si bare “stjerner”, i motsetning til “kvinnelige stjerner”) som kan gå på rød løper.
Lørdagen er over, og vi unnlot å besøke vår lokale Briobutikk. Jeg kommer vel ikke akkurat til å løpe ut og kjøpe den “nye” Bratz til jentene, heller. Jeg tror det finnes bedre måter å lære dem å være seg selv og gå sine egne veier på.
Screenshot av elendigheten
Søndag var sjuåringen invitert i dobbeltbursdag, to av jentene i klassen feiret sammen. Lørdag var vi derfor på gavejakt, og når vi passerte Notabene på City Lade ville hun inn der for å lete. Etter å ha avvist robothunder til nesten tusenlappen som for dyre var jeg med glede positiv til Ein-Os “Lag din egen ringeklokke”. Riktignok var de merket 8+ og jentene blir 7, men de har også nettopp hatt om elektrisitet på skolen, og blant annet laget en krets med bryter og lommelyktpære sammen med læreren. Til rett over hundrelappen hadde de akseptabel pris, og vi gikk derfor til kassen med to stykk.
Betalingen forløp smertefritt, og så ba jeg om å få dem pakket inn. “I to pakker,” bidro sjuåringen med. Og damen bak disken fant fram papir og satt i gang. Når hun hadde pakket inn begge og satt bånd på én sa hun , i sånn småprat-modus, “Jeg antar det er til to gutter?”
“Nei,” sa jeg. “Det er faktisk til to jenter.”
Damen, som holdt på å måle ut bånd til pakke to, pauset, kikket på båndet hun hadde valgt og så på båndene hun hadde å velge mellom, tydelig av den oppfatning at hun hadde valgt feil farge. “Ja, ja, grønt blir vel bra,” sier hun endelig, og fortsetter med det båndet hun allerede var i ferd med å ta. “Grønt blir bra,” sier jeg med ettertrykk.
Der og da var jeg rimelig høflig og smilende, men allerede på vei bort fra disken ytret jeg et “Herreguuuuuud!” i retning mannen (desverre, hadde jeg nær sagt, for lavt til at jeg tror damen hørte).
Fargevalget er nå en ting. Grønt er tydeligvis guttefarge. Det er slitsomt, men bare et symptom på det mer underliggende problemet.
For hva er det med dette som sier at det er en gave til gutter?
La oss lage en liste:
- Innpakningen er oransje, ikke en av de godkjente fargene for produkter til jenter, som består av den lange lista: rosa og lilla. Dessuten er det ingen hjerter eller blomster på pakka.
- Man skal lage en ringeklokke, en dings ingen jenter har bruk for. Hvis settet hadde vært ment for jenter hadde det vært noe skjønnhetsrelatert man skulle lage, til nød en elektronisk lås til dagbok.
- Jenter er ikke interessert i elektronikk eller annen vitenskap. Det eneste som kan få jenter interessert i STEM-fag er om de kan få lage noe man ellers må på parfymeri for å kjøpe, f.eks. er kjemisett for å lage leppepomade en fin gave til jenter om man vil være litt politisk korrekt og late som om jenter også kan interessere seg for kjemi.
- Det står ikke på boksen at den er ment for jenter, altså er den ment for gutter.
- Det er ikke bilde av to jenter som slenger med håret mens de smiler til hverandre og ignorerer selve produktet på boksen.
Det er til å grine av at døtrene mine (og dine, og sønnene for den saks skyld) må vokse opp i et samfunn der overstående liste er så godt innarbeidet hos flertallet av oss at vi må gjøre bevisste valg for å unngå å leve opp til “reglene”. Det verste er at det er skjedd et tilbakeskritt på området, når jeg var liten var det riktignok også “gutteleker” og “jenteleker”, men det var ikke sånn at ting måtte være rosa for at det skulle kunne selges til jenter. Tror du meg ikke?
Vi trenger en norsk versjon av den britiske kampanjen Let Toys Be Toys. I mellomtiden fortsetter jeg å kjøpe leker, ikke gutteleker eller jenteleker, til barna vi skal i bursdag til. Jeg prøver, i alle fall.
Lego recently unveiled a new series aimed at girls: Lego Friends. Lego themselves unashamedly admit they have been marketing to boys for the last twenty or so years, and that now they are targeting the “other 50%”. They’ve redesigned the minifig, creating the minidoll, and have launched 14 sets to start with.
Some people are up in arms about it, some people shrug their shoulders and wonder what the problem is and some people recognise that gendering toys is not neccessarily ideal but why should Lego be the ones to take to the barricades, they need to make money after all?
I’m a bit torn, though leaning toward the “up in arms” faction, and I’ll try to summarise what I think is wrong (and also what I think is right).
- The new minidolls: Firstly, they look like Polly Pocket rip-offs. The fact that they are “curvy” and have “breasts” (yes, they do, not cup size DD mercifully, but still) is problematic for a whole host of reasons, but ok, they’re not too bad as these things go. However: Yes, women have breasts. Girls don’t. At last not girls in the target age for these sets. In fact, it’s quite difficult to tell boys and girls apart before puberty if they are wearing “neutral” clothes and hair styles. But I guess these “Friends” are supposed to be grown up? In which case is perhaps having a tree house a bit weird? Mostly they seem a bit confused in terms of age, actually.
- What I notice though, is the lack of male minidolls. What, the five girls live all alone as humanoids on a planet otherwise inhabited by yellow-skinned, hard-cornered aliens? Where’s Ken?
- Another point about the new minidolls is that apparently the legs can’t be posed separately and the hands can’t be turned, seriously limiting the number of activities the girls can take part in compared to minifigs (and compared to Playmo figures, for example, whose hands can turn when they need to hold the handlebars of a bike). This is both Not Good because it limits play and Not Good because it feeds into this whole “girls should be watchers rather than participators” thing, though I’m (reasonably) sure the latter wasn’t what the designers intended and it’s just a “natural” limitation in the way they are designed. (Natural, but not unavoidable, I’d say.)
- The colours: Yes, little girls like pink (this is – overwhelming evidence suggests – because they’ve been conditioned to like pink, but still, they do). And the colours as such aren’t a problem on their own, except in as much as “normal” colours are missing from the series. Unless your neighbourhood has been painted pink as a stunt from Mattell (yes, it happened, google it) you are unlikely to find a whole community made up of pastel-coloured houses. The idea that lego bricks have to be pastel coloured for girls to play with them is ridiculous.
- The set themes: I’ll give Lego credit for the Inventor’s Workshop and, grudgingly, for the tree house, but they are a bit like the token minority actor in a sitcom: Including one black character doesn’t make your show “not racist”. The sets are overwhelmingly embarrasingly stereotypishly “girly” and this is Not Good.
- Talking about “not racist”, the five friends include the token minority characters. Naturally. Hang on, I went back to have a better look at them. I assumed Emma was supposed to be generic-asian and Andrea was supposed to be generic-of-african-decent, but now I see they both have green eyes. That’s just weird.
- What do you mean “the other 50%”? Has it escaped your attention that girls already play with legoes? Not all girls, by any means, but do ALL boys play with legoes?
- If you’re a boy and you would like a beauty parlour set (or a tree house, for fuck’s sake), are you allowed to buy one? Ok, no matter how it was packaged I imagine some parents would balk at buying a beauty parlour for their son, unfortunately, but if it was just another Lego City set wouldn’t the chance have been greater? Even keeping the Friends series but adding a few male mindolls and NOT trumpeting “Lego for GIRLS! FINALLY!” would be a huge step in the right direction.
- Following on from that: If you sell a girl a beauty parlour in the Lego City series, perhaps the next thing she wants is the hospital. And then the police station. And then the construction sets so that she can pretend to build more beauty parlours (if you insist, though I’d rather build a mad scientist laboratory or something). Wasn’t “selling more Lego” your goal, or have I misunderstood?
- Once upon a time Lego was marketed to “kids”. What happened?
- I quite like the minidolls to be honest. Yes, there are major issues with WHY they were designed at all, but I quite like the result (except for the lack of mobility). I hope they realise quite quickly that they need to include some male characters as well, though.
- New sets. More parts being made in more colours. Yay! And the diner is quite nice.
- Uhm. That’s it.
So. I think we’ll call it a FAIL. Which doesn’t mean the lass might not end up with some of these sets, in among all the other Lego (Toy Story Lego has been a favourite with both mother and daughter so far, and she LOVES Cars).
Si at du skulle begynne å jobbe på min arbeidsplass, som konsulent, bare for å ta en helt hypotetisk situasjon. Og si at du ikke har vært på “hilserunde”, eller at jeg kanskje ikke var der når du var på runden, slik at vi ikke har hilst på hverandre før. Si at vi havner ved samme bord i lunsjen (sannsynlig, vi er ikke så mange på avdelingen) og at samtalen rundt der jeg sitter kommer inn på å våkne av drømmer og ha følelsen fra drømmen hengende igjen. Og si – helt hypotetisk fortsatt – at jeg sier at jeg av og til våkner og er skikkelig sur på noen jeg har drømt om.
Helt hypotetisk altså.
Da foreslår jeg at du ikke velger å starte din deltagelse i samtalen – og ditt bekjentskap med meg – med å si at “Det er helt normalt at du våkner og er sur, du er jo dame.”
Hvis du gjør det kan jeg nemlig komme til å få et ganske dårlig førsteinntrykk av deg.
Yeah, I don’t much like Twilight. Or, rather, what I’ve heard so far means I’ll not see or read it voluntarily. So, no, I don’t know much about it. But this. This is good. And what makes it particularly good? This line: “You know, being stalked really isn’t a big turn-on for girls.”
Male is the default; female is exceptional.
Case in point:
The lass has pink clothes. Probably more than I would ideally have chosen, in fact, because I’m not that fond of pink myself. However, most of her clothes are colours that I consider gender neutral (but then, to me, gender neutral is pretty much everything except pink and baby blue), or at least not pink-on-pink, but say, pink and brown, pink and grey and so on. Hence – which follows from the above theory – she is continually taken for a boy. Today she wore
- jeans (very “girly” pattern in silver on the back pockets, but quite plain otherwise)
- red and silver trainers
- long-sleeved t-shirt in yellow, green and red
Both the IKEA employee who was running a “fairground” where the kids got to throw tiny softies at a target for the chance to win a big softie (for free, everyone got a prize, did I mention I love IKEA?) and a mother with a daughter (ok, now I’m doing the assuming, but the kid wore all pink from head to toe) a little younger than the lass automatically referred to her as “he” and “the boy”.
Why? Why when everyone knows about half the kids you meet are going to be female is “male” still default unless you shout your gender from the rooftops by wearing pink-pinkety-pink? What the f*** are we teaching these kids? When did this start applying to toddlers and not just babies (come to think of it, when did it start applying to babies)? I’m the daughter of a feminist, and wore practically no pink as a child, did everyone assume I was a boy, or were they more practically minded in the 70ies?
Disclaimer: I don’t “mind” the lass being taken for a boy, as such. It doesn’t matter on a personal, individual level, I’m just worried about what it says about our society’s expectations for girls (and boys).
The irony? I haven’t been extremely opposed to pink so far. I have even purchased a few pink-and-princessy garments for her myself. But because I am now continually made aware of how much “people” read into the pink/not-pink choice, I am getting to the stage where I might just ban pink from the house. Just when the lass is getting to an age where she might actually start caring.
Mind you. Perhaps that is just the point in time where it is important to start introducing rules and not just go with the flow?
This is turning into a series, it seems, but, you know: WTF? Why is this one without a head, then? The more I look at this image the more disturbing I find it.
Sorry for the crummy picture, I’ll get a better one if I see the poster again.
The main tagline reads “when your body gets tied up in knots” – and it’s an advertisement for a naprapat center (I think, the print was so small, I really coudn’t read anything beyond the main “slogan” from where I sat, which, frankly, fails it as effective advertising, too…).
Stealing my title from Shakesville (see Assvertising), but, really, how else to describe this?
Mind you, it fits nicely in the series: Today in disembodied things, too.
The text reads: “Life flows better when you can use the same card for something that highlights the whole of you or just a little detail.”
The whole of you? Really?
Note to advertisers: Most women have heads. I think – I might be wrong here, but I’m willing to chance it – it might be just ever so slightly difficult to get along without one.
There has been a Panorama programme about sexual bullying (or, rather, sexual harassment) in schools, involving shockingly young children as the perpetrators. Several of the blogs I read have commented or linked, and you can read more here and here, to start with.
I think I’ll refrain from commenting much, at least for the time being (in fact the subject is almost too depressing for words, though that’s hardly constructive), but Naomi’s comment on Abby’s post highlights a related issue that’s increasingly relevant to me in my daily parenting, and which really annoys me no end. To quote:
In cartoons, an animated animal is male by default. A male sheep, say, will look roughly like a sheep, but with whatever human charateristics their particular character has. A male animated dog reading a newpaper and listening to the radio is simply a dog reading a newpaper and listening to the radio.
Female animated characters, on the other hand, have bigger eyes, longer eye-lashes, an hour-glass figure, a wiggly walk and so on, not to mention make-up (which those cartoons in which their male counterparts do not even wear clothes).
These female characters are often brought in to an otherwise all-male (i.e. all just pigs and rabbits and things) cast when the storyline requires one of the characters to fall in love, or to be almost distracted away from some world-saving task by the batting of those log eyelashes …
This puts across the following messages, and more, to children:
1. Male is the default; female is exceptional.
2. ‘Feminine’ appearance is universal and natural for females of any species.
3. The anatomical differences between males and females of any species are much, much greater than they really are.
4. The role of the female is sexual, and is defined in relation to the male.
5. The male is the agent, the female is the object of his attention.
And so on.
And it’s not only cartoons. A while back someone asked the participants at Tett inntil for tips on which boxes to look for to find “female Lego Duplo figurines”, excluding the rather tacky princess series. As a responsible parent, she wanted female role models for her daughters, police women or firewomen and similar. My question was: Well, how can you tell that they are not female? Most Duplo figurines are “degenderised”, they have eyes, nose and mouth, as do, to my knowledge, both men and women. Only the princesses have skirts. A few have beards, they can be assumed to be men (though I have heard of bearded ladies).
This feeds directly into the argument Naomi is presenting: “Male is the default; female is exceptional.” Because, of course, there ARE female Duplo figurines – apart from the princesses. We have one from the Zoo set at home, she has longer eyelashes and a ponytail, and a more, well, made up look in general (defined lips and so on). However, most female zoo-keepers I’ve seen don’t look like that. Granted, some of them have long hair, and would naturally wear it up while at work to prevent it from getting in the way, but then, so do quite a few male keepers… And would you really put on make-up to go clean out the elephants’ cage? So why do we assume – because of course we do – that the un made-up Duplo zoo-keeper with the sensible haircut is male?