girls dont need limits!

Now to me, feminism is simply this. The right for females to be treated as equals to men. Notice I don’t say ‘the same’ – men and women are not the same. They don’t have the same physical make up or even brain patterns, but that doesn’t mean they, or we, are better. We are all better at some things than others. Men maybe say, physically stronger than women – but I’d love to see a man give birth (wowsa! I mean I really would). I have never thought more about inspiring feminism in others – until now.

So according to research, we begin gendered listening at the age of 4. That means that we begin to pick up on the differences in the way males and females are talked about and thought about.  Now I have a nearly 5-year-old and I can tell you this – it is real. My daughter has already made passing comments as to things like, “only mummy and grandma cook” (and by cook I mean burn) to her father’s suggestion that it’s his turn to burn the fish fingers today, and that “boys don’t wear pink” when I dared to suggest that one of her more androgynous dolls with a pink jumper be a boy. These comments shocked me and have made me re-evaluate the way I interact with my girls. I try (and I mean try, this is no way perfect) to do more traditionally ‘male’ jobs like fix broken toys, take the bins out (why did I choose that one?). Her dad does the washing up and hangs clothes out of the washing machine. I don’t think this is anyway enough, however. Little children are constantly given cues as to gender roles on a daily basis, and they make social evaluations of males and females at a very early age they begin to try and figure out where they fit.

Now the feminist in me initially went all tiger mum and OTT on gender neutral clothes, bright colours and above all my message was NO PINK. I didn’t allow her grandad to call her ‘his little princess’, instead I insisted she be called a ‘little leader’, ‘mini warrior’ or at least to want to be a Queen as she IS actually a ruler. And you know what? At the age of 2 1/2, my eldest refused to wear any of the expensive, colourful leggings and jumpers - all in favour of the pinkest, most glittery, feminine dresses you can imagine. She wanted to ride unicorns, stroke kittens and wear the and most extravagant, embellished dresses she owned (not bought by me at the time may I add).

But guess what?  She didn’t suddenly lose all brain power, she didn’t need her grapes peeled or need carrying around in a carriage – instead, as she dressed in her finest finished off with plastic dress up shoes, she stated she was in fact a ‘Princess Leader’. She continues to be a very powerful, confident and clever little girl. I realised it’s NOT what you wear that matters, not what you like (I mean who doesn’t like unicorns anyway?), but how you think about yourself, the world and how you react to it. If I can at lesst try and bring my little girls up allowing them to wear what the hell they want, AND still be who they want to be, without judgement (from themselves more than anything – as I’m afraid the world will always judge!) but be confident doing it, then we’ve done our best.

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