|from the blog Hot Rods For Girls (click photo for link)|
So how come we don't see the flip side of that commercial on Mother's Day? A little boy sewing a dress on a new sewing machine with mom, or something like that? As always, it's about society seeing traditionally male activities as valuable and something to aspire to for a boy or a girl, while traditionally female activities are thought of as more frivolous, and therefore a step down for a boy to do. It's really amazing to me that despite all the talk of gender equality and even all the real accomplishments of women's rights activists for centuries, that pervasive, insidious, and infectious thread of females (and female ideas, activities, etc) being inferior still has such a grip on all of us. It can never be eradicated, but I wonder if it can at least be diminished to a minority view?
I (presenting as male) coach girls sports. I see my players run the gamut from "girly-girl" to decidedly anti-feminine. My approach to trying to establish that feminine does not necessarily mean weak or less sports-able, is to incorporate ideas, movements, and metaphors from both more masculine and more feminine arenas. I might make allusions to football one day and ballet the next. Hopefully, in some tiny way, this helps them to understand that whatever kind of girl/woman they are or want to be, whatever profession they go into, nothing about those decisions is any less valuable or valid because they are women.