I’ve been totally absorbed in the “Everyday Sexism” project since it first began. It is a brilliant idea, addressing a very real and important issue; allowing the stories of women to be heard; showing everyone – male and female – that sexism occurs every day, everywhere.
And it’s no laughing matter.
I feel like, as a thirty-something, fairly ordinary-looking woman, outside of the workforce, I don’t bear the brunt of sexism as much as some others may. I’m kind of invisible, and I don’t actually mind that.
I make my voice heard when I need to.
But I do carry around with me, all day, every day, a small girl child. A small girl child who might love her fairy wings and tutus, but who is only just getting to grips with gender difference and what it means to be a girl child.
And sexism definitely is there, every day, for her.
At a recent festival, she’d decided she wanted a big, red balloon sword. She was offered a small, pink one.
At a cafe, she wanted a blue cupcake. The worker laughed and said, “No, you’ll have pink, won’t you?”
A lady at the bus stop said, “Won’t it be wonderful when her hair grows, so she looks like a girl?”
A lady in a shopping centre, when she was climbing on the couches, tutted and said, “Got yourself a real livewire, there, haven’t you? You’ll need to stamp that out pretty quickly.”
And so it goes on. Every. Day. I’m sure mothers of boys get it, too, but I can only see it from our perspective. Her perspective.
And yes, I buy her tutus. And yes, I buy her fairy wings. But we have dinosaur boots, too, and she plays with trucks and footballs and she loves construction sites. My girl is a complex little human being, whose ideas about herself should not be dictated by her reproductive organs. And I’m worried for her.
Everyday Sexism is doing an amazing job of calling out sexism in grown women. But what about our small girls?
I’d love to hear your stories. I’d love to hear how you reacted. And I’d love to hear your hopes for your own little ones.
Think of it as a kind of “Everyday Sexism” junior edition. Because the way it is isn’t the way it has to be.