MADE FOR GIRLS
what does it mean – made for girls? girls will like this. this product is aimed at girls. bic biro released pens specially made for women. what? ‘this pen is made to fit a woman’s hand’. seriously, that was their claim. they also made it in feminine colours – pink, purple, pastel colours. what we’ve all been waiting for. no longer do men have to suffer us using their pens. no more confusion as to who should use which pen.
but bic are no different to every magazine ever that has targeted either men or women. media for women cover fashion, beauty, children and how to get mr right to notice you. for men, it’s all about sports and current affairs, impossibly perfect women and cars.
we’ve all seen the campaign, ‘like a girl’. it’s powerful. to do something ‘like a girl’ is to imply you’re doing it badly. you’re weak. you’re insufficient. you throw like a girl. you drive like an old lady. it’s an insult. because you’re born either male or female – and sometimes both – you are pre-programmed to do things in certain ways. you should like some things more than other things. if you’re a girl, you should enjoy shopping, makeovers, bubble baths, girl talk and sleepovers.
i often think about the boys. although girls get it tough, we do get away with a lot more than boys. it’s ok to cry like a girl. it’s ok to dress like a boy. it’s ok to wear makeup or not wear makeup. it’s ok to love sports. it doesn’t matter if you prefer action man over barbie. these are all ‘acceptable’ things for girls to do. it’s our prerogative. boys aren’t ‘allowed’ to prefer pink over blue, to take bubble baths or love glitter. just as there are expectations for being a girl, there are just as many for being a boy.
think of all your peers. would they just accept if a boy in your class came in wearing a skirt? or makeup? or a pink backpack? but it should be ok, right? if a girl walked in wearing jeans and a hoody nobody would blink, right? we live in a modern and accepting society. people should be free to choose. boy or girl. do you wake up in the morning and think: “today, i am going to be me!” or do you riffle through your wardrobe trying to find whatever camouflage you may have to best conform? that’s the sad fact.
the other day i was on the underground and i saw a guy with a pink fan. i admit that i did do a double take. but why? fans, on the whole, are uncommon. perhaps i would have had the same reaction if it were a girl. but if i’m being really honest, i don’t know if i would. of course it’s fine. of course i don’t care. but i was annoyed at myself for having thought about it. i’m annoyed at myself for remembering and writing about it now. i truly don’t care about these things. obviously these situations still grab my attention. and they shouldn’t. gender fluidity should no longer be unusual, and yet it is.
education and enlightenment are the best weapons we have against ignorance. we can’t help having thoughts or making quiet judgements in our brains. unfortunately, it’s years of programming that our educated rational mind has to override and ultimately change. it does need to change. the way boys and girls are spoken to needs to change. boys are raised to be tough and girls told never to get angry. this is very victorian. life has moved on, we need to move along with it.