Today I saw something very upsetting, well perhaps I am being a little over dramatic, but it did bother me. It was this Peppa Pig back pack that you can see below. On this occasion it's not the character that particularly upset me (though I dislike it) nor the colour (thought I am sick of the plague of pink we see in the girls section of shops these days) it is the words at the top for which "P is for". Of all the empowering words this back pack could have displayed that begin with "P": Passionate, Powerful, Plucky, Positive... the designers chose "Perfect, polite, pretty and pink" Could they have come up with a series of more passive, submissive, insipid words to put onto a little girl's bag?
What about empowering girls? Instead of labelling and encouraging girls with a word like "perfect" they could have encouraged girls to be individual, instead of "polite" what about teaching compassion, and instead of "pretty" how much better would it be to encourage girls to be courageous or hard working or kind? This bag is just a small example of the worrying deluge of stereotypical toys, clothes and accessories for girls. I thought we had come on a bit since the 1950's but it seems we have taken a back step in terms of liberation of women and girls. I know I sound over dramatic but you only need to take a little look in the dressing up section of most toy shops, the boys are entitled to creative, proactive roles such builder, police man and doctor where as the girls are relegated to caring or fantasy figures such as nurse, princess and fairy. No there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be a nurse but when the aspirations in terms of career end there, we have to ask what is going on?
Just take a look at this add from the 1980's and compare it with the lego promoted to girls, and this website for a girly lego http://friends.lego.com/en-gb/ today:
I for one hope that if my next baby is a girl I will be able to resist the avalanche of pink and offer a whole rainbow of colours, careers and even personality traits to my daughter. Children's brains are like sponges, they absorb everything they see and hear indiscriminately, so although it might seem like I am over-reacting here, girls are taking on an insidious message that tells them how they are expected to behave, what they are expected to look like and what their aspirations should be and I think this is so wrong. I really hope that there is a change in the way girls are being portrayed by manufacturers so they can feel empowered instead of being pushed towards passiveness and vanity.
I intend on contacting the designers, manufacturers etc of the above back pack to express my concerns.
In the mean time I would like to share with you some links to websites where people speak much more eloquently that me on this topic:
I am sure there are more websites and articles out there, please let me know what they are if you have seen them, in the mean time you can join the pinkstinks campaign and like their facebook page if this sort of thing bothers you.
Right I am off to write a strongly worded letter.