There no longer seems to be a grey area. No ‘kind-of’.
You are expected to be either completely for the cause, or completely against it.
Sometimes, this makes sense. For example:
- Domestic Violence – completely against
- Equal Marriage Rights – completely for
- Secular education – absolutely and completely secular
- Lycra in my cosplay – no way, uh-uh, not for me
But there are some things that are not life/death, or even moralistic in their conundrum-drumming.
Today’s example of “Taking your advocacy for a First World Issue too far” is gender-specific clothing.
I’m talking pink for girls, and blue for boys.
Now, before you get all defensive and start muttering for Thor’s sake, woman – can’t we just let kids wear what they want, that’s my frackin’ point!!
We don’t do gender specific clothing in EG Inc. The spawnlings can wear whatever they want (outside of school uniform requirements). I seriously cannot be stuffed arguing this point with them. Pick your battles, minions.
But it amazes me how often complete strangers will point out how confused poor Zaltu will be because I have dressed her in blue today. Or if she is wearing torn jeans and a Batman t-shirt, then I at least saved the day by adding a pretty yellow bow.
Apparently, unless she is wearing a skirt she must automatically be in the extreme Tom-Boy camp. But if she happens to wear a t-shirt with a pink flower on it, then clearly she is in the extreme Pretty Girl camp.
I have this one particular shopping centre Zaltu and I frequent about once a month – we buy the requirements, and then stop to watch the ice-skating with a milkshake and a doughnut.
And every time, every time, I am admonished by some absolute stranger on my parenting. More often, it is about Zaltu’s outfit. Apparently, this week I was lucky I had remembered to put the pretty bow/clip in her hair to stop from confusing her gender identity. Poor Zaltu was only wearing her favourite jeans and blue dolphin shirt.
Over the last year, my responses have been progressing from “Thankyou for noticing her favourite hair clip WITH her favourite-colour shirt” to “At what point between your table and ours, did you think it was okay to come over and pass judgement on a two-year-old?”
EG Dad says I’m doing it all wrong.
He thinks I should be submitting all comments to scientific evaluation:
“Now, for this survey, on a scale of 1 to 10 – how much do you think I should care about your opinion on my daughter’s outfit?
Okay, now on a scale of 1 to 10 – how much do you think you can @#$% off?
And remember, this is for posterity, so please – be honest.”
Whatever happened to simply being a kid who likes clothes?
Why do we have to join any extreme group on this issue, or any issue that doesn’t involve basic human rights and equality? I don’t think Zaltu (or her brothers, for that matter) care about whether she is wearing a pink shirt for all pretty girls out there.
She is simply wearing a shirt because I told her she has to wear a shirt to play in the park next door. It’s a little cold outside.
I am all for encouraging children to wear whatever they want. However, this should not then make them the pin-up poster for the cause. It should not be their social uniform every day, to the point they are interrogated if they wear something else the next day.
It has become so prevalent, where even though I picked up a wicked pair of boots today, I cannot talk about it to anyone without the awkward feeling of explaining myself.
I’m not a Tomboy. I’m not a Pretty Girl. Neither is Zaltu. Nor are most other females I know.
We are not walking talking stereotypes for you to label for your marketing or judgemental pleasure. We are not dressing to fit the category you are trying to shove us into. Just because we are female does not mean we have to be the same as all females all the time. If I bought a pair of shoes today, that does not make me a ‘girl’. If Zaltu plays with Lego Friends today, that does not mean we are abandoning all equal rights in play. If I choose not to take the spawnlings to see the new Ghostbusters, it does not mean I am spitting in the face of ‘girl power’ (thank you Lisa, for a damn good article about this).
We are somewhere ‘In-Between’ and we shouldn’t have to justify, defend, or explain that to anybody.