Firstly can I recomment the fantastic Pink Stinks! campaign which aims to challenge the ubiquitous “culture of pink”. And whose blog highlights this delightful nugget that men should apparently be taking advice on women from a 9 year old boy who talks like, well, a nine year old boy. Alex Greven talks about girls in typically gender stereotypical ways – apparently “There’s a Girl for Every Boy” (“You are like a magnet and girls are the metal”) (i.e. you’re the active agents, girls are just big lumps, cold, hard metal) and ““Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil,”” (of course I’d question what a 9 year old knows about car maintainence too!). Apparently this (the none year old dating guru, not degendering cultural products) was picked up by the Metro but I can’t find that, so here’s an MSNBC link instead and a preview chapter of the book. Pink Stinks highlights the hypocrisy between promoting this and complaining about sexual bullying in schools – “here’s a boy who talks about girls like they are animals. And somehow we are supposed think that this is cute?”. I’d also flag the hypocrisy in general of how newspapers report young women’s sexual choices – from the Metro apparently teenagers (19th February) prefer music to sex but (17th February) girls are shagging from the age of 12 (and by the way that may well be disclosure of child sexual abuse but let’s not be picky shall we).
Who ever thinks a nine year old giving dating tips isn’t an example of the sexualisation of youth would do well to read this from the Times Educational Supplement where this scarily paralell story is told:
At a school where I was teaching, a nine-year-old girl asked me with genuine furrowed-brow anxiety: “Is Playboy rude?” She had been given a Miss February Playboy necklace as a gift from an older sister and some of her more worldly classmates had begun to make her feel that it might not be the obvious and uncomplicated object of envy she had imagined.
Around the world and in other news – Spain may soon allow first term abortions after a report recommending the legislative move was approved by Parliament. Currently Spain and Poland have the most strictive abortion policies in the EU.
The BBC has profiled Lt Col Yvonne Bradley (right) who is the US military lawyer who helped free Binyam Mohamed.
Lactivist has published a Breastfinding Bingo! card for all those tired arguments by those who complain about public breastfeeding. It’s fantastic!
These dolls may be causing more damage than good among the children they are hoping to help. The underlying racism may go undetected at the superficial level, but my fear is that these young South Asian children will nonetheless receive the subconscious message that the ideal desi Muslim girl or boy is light skinned, wears the hijab (or cap for boys), doesn’t wear traditional desi clothes, and speaks Arabic with an Arabic accent, not a South Asian or English one. I worry that the message being perpetuated by these Desi Dolls is that to be a better Muslim, one should try to be more Arab and less desi.
And finally, a sports story, over at FemAcadem is a piece on the treatment of a female coach/manager (I dunno, not my thing) of a football team who, on being “allowed” to be in charge of a local league game was verbally abused by men chanting “Get back in the kitchen” and worse and the opposition manager refusing to shake her hand at the end of the game.
As for the press, they were just as bad. From last Thursday, in thelondonpaper, columnist Brad Ashton wrote:
She was upset that nobody took her seriously…what did she expect? Powell was no more than a managerial mascot, part of a gimmick for her club that generated plenty of publicity but did little for the club’s reputation…Whether she likes it or not, women and men’s football simply don’t mix…far greater names have been subjected to far worse.
What did she expect? Maybe she expected the simple courtesy of being taken seriously, given that she probably knew more about the technical aspects of the game than the majority of those watching. Maybe she expected that in 2009, it was no longer socially acceptable to abuse an opposing manager purely on the basis of their gender.
Now I was with Ashton on the tokenism point right up to where I realised he wasn’t arguing that tokenism isn’t enough but that the problem was being female. Apparently we women should know our place – sadly for Ashton I disagree where that is!