|Burning with creativity|
So there we were the other day I was about to start decorating my bra for tomorrow – a task almost as daunting as the 26 mile walk itself – when Boy Two piped up. “Mum, I’ll do it, you’re rubbish at this kind of stuff.”
Then later after we’d created a splendid costume of foundation garment, ribbons and pompoms we were watching TV when the adverts came on. I don’t watch much television at all – generally I’ve got better things to do. So I was fascinated by the things they were trying to get girls to buy. Apparently girls like glitter – especially on straps, dressing and undressing things and tacky makeup sets. Who knew that having an xx chromosome could do that to you, it must be a new thing.
“Yuk,” I said.
“What’s yuk?” Boy Two replied.
“All that stuff for girls. It’s a bit much isn’t it?”
“Hmmm,” he was puzzled. Already, for him, some of the images of girls don’t match his reality. He can’t see that girls are really all that different to boys. After all, he explained, they play football just the same as boys.
One of his best friends Little G has a mean right foot and is just as likely to be found in midst of latest rough fling-you-in-the-wheelie-bin game as her male peers.
Yet, she has a particularly lovely sequin cardi that at least two of my Boys covet. Boy Three wants to stroke it whenever he sees it and I’ve seen the others casting admiring glances. And who can blame them it’s beautiful.
Perhaps it was introduced at the same time as the xx chromosome thing, but now xy chromosome humans need to be dressed entirely in blue or shades of sludge while reading books about snot and other forms of horrid. I missed that decision too.
I’m not consciously raising feminist kids, I wouldn’t know how to do that. But at every turn I try to tackle the sneaky shoots of sexism, hopefully with more success than I do with weeds in the garden.
Lately we’ve dealt with “girl” as an insult. And “you’re supposed to do it because you’re a woman”. And while I can’t do anything about the confusing gender messages coming from every direction, I can try to help them with the almost impossible job of making sense of it.
I call it a work in progress. Meantime, I offer an image of Boy Two decorating my bra for the Edinburgh Moonwalk tonight. He’s using a boxing glove – it was lying around the kitchen, of course – to stop the cup collapsing while he works.