So I challenge you to replace the words girl and boy in your vocabulary for a day with kid, or child or a gender neutral equivalent. For extra bonus points, listen for it in others and either a) rephrase in your head or b) have a discussion on the impact it may have. (And why do labels matter? A little info in this blog post)
Over my day, here are a few of the things I noticed:
I started with our usual routine which includes walking the dog walk. Stopped at the traffic lights and said “We’ve got to wait for the man to turn green”. Hmm.. why is a man telling us what to do? No I don’t want the signal indicator changed to a person wearing a dress… As you may or may not have noticed, girls also wear pants. So I can just change my terminology: “We’ve got to wait for the signal to turn green” or “We’ve got to wait for the green person to say its safe to cross the road”. Mischief managed!
I’m researching a busy board to build for my toddler. The google search returns an image of a board decorated with hazzard tape and the slogan “CAUTION: BOY AT PLAY”. They’ve obviously never seen my house after tiny tornado Riley hits… *rolls eyes*
The baby owns a mix of clothes – all colors and styles. More often than not its blues and grey with little embellishment, so many people assume she’s a boy based on her clothing. A cashier the other day complimented her handsome hair. She said it was beautiful, but she shouldn’t call it beautiful – so it was handsome. I eventually corrected the gender assumption – cos hey – 50-50 chance at this age right? But can someone please explain to me why a boy can’t have beautiful hair?
Making a hairdresser appointment I see their latest post on Facebook: “WooooHooooo its beach weather!! Book in to get your kids haircut before heading to the beach this summer….shorter hair on boys will make sun-screening ears and necks so much easier and washing out sand a breeze & girls with a lovely trim will prevent sun damage to fragile ends and combing after swimming far less a struggle”. Think I need to try for bonus points when I take the baby in for her fringe trim.
Then something more puzzling that genderist – a poster in a store: Bows make everything better. Yeah there was a picture of a girl wearing a big hairbow but I didn’t take that as meaning the product was only for girls. I just seriously do not understand how a bow does that. Probably with far less calories than a cookie.. but still…?!?
Also – I don’t understand why department stores separate ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ clothes – surely if everyone walked past every item you’d make greater sales. And there has to be a saving on printing if you drop the words boy and girl too right? 😛 I walk through both departments and more often than not buy from boys as its usually a more durable material and I prefer the colors and styles (why a girls tee needs gathering in the sleeves is beyond me). Am off to plan how I’ll explain to Riley that wanting rockets on your socks doesn’t make you a boy even if the socks are labelled boys…
So what gender labels did you encounter that just didn’t need to be there?