Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not Just in Our Back Yard

Mere days after the BBC article noting the female majority in Spain's new cabinet, a fabulously depressing article appears in The Guardian. Yes, folks, it appears that the United States does not corner the market on disappearing feminism. Nor do we alone smother our little girls in pink. The European Union is failing women and girls just as much as the United States is.

As Polly Toynbee writes in her article, "Girlification is destroying all the hope we felt in 1968"
The pink disease is far worse than it was 20 years ago. "Princess on board", read the yukky signs in family cars. It's almost impossible to buy toys now that are not putridly pink branded or aggressively superhero male. Bikes, sleeping bags, lunch boxes, nothing is neutral now, everything Barbie and Bratz. Princess tiaras, fairy and ballerina dressing up, pink, pink everywhere - and it damages girls' brains. That's before you start on thongs for seven-year-olds and sexy slogans on three-year-olds' T-shirts."
It is a must read article all the way through. I find myself waivering between being thrilled that there are other countries struggling to respect women as well (who wants to be a loner after all?) and mortified that there are countries anywhere still struggling to respect women.

P.S. I jest about the being thrilled that there are other countries struggling to respect women. It is mortifying all around.


Casmall said...

Great post. I've talked to parents who think this stuff is sacchrine and vapid, but still say its impossible to stop their child's little pink princes impulses. At young ages, I think the marketing of this stuff is just too much for their wee little brains.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Hey, the BBC gets enough links! From this day forth, all blogs looking to talk about Spain's female majority cabinet must link to this post.

This is a really interesting issue - I really have been feeling like it is harder for today's youngsters than it was back in my day. And, while marketing toys that play on this age group's desire to gender-identify is marketing genius, how companies are doing it is pretty insidious. The gender rolls we seem to be selling are boys=active, girls= pampered and pretty.

Mächtige Maus said...

If I could have figured out how to put the link to your post in my comment I would have. I just learned how to do the block quote yesterday. Baby steps I tell you!

The boy = active, girl = pampered is truly infuriating. I do have to give props to most Nike commercials because they seem to challenge at least the notion that women should not being involved in sports.

La Pobre Habladora said...

As always, part of the problem is how parents respond to this stuff. My elementary school aged nieces got their rooms painted pink - even the one who asked that her room be painted green. When they dressed up as pirates at one of their birthday parties recently, they were asked by half of the adults present "are you pirate princesses?" You gotta wonder here, who is the real sucker for marketing - the kids or the parents who don't want their kids identifying too much as the wrong gender. I mean, we all know what it means if your boy likes baking and your girl likes fire engines - right? Better mock them out of that while they're young... it will make their lives so much easier when they get older.

Mächtige Maus said...

Uh-oh...am I not supposed to like fire engines? I was apparently not sufficiently mocked out of that as a young girl.

I should give my mom props here. My room was decorated with a complete wall collage of animals, stuffed animals (Paddington Bear!), and nature. I never felt as if I had to conform to pink. There are few pictures of me, if any, in a dress (I'm not a big dress person you know). And when I was in the backyard making my own set of bow and arrows from sticks no one told me that I should not because that is not the proper little girl thing to do. Thanks mom!

La Pobre Habladora said...

Three cheers for Mrs. Maus!