Tuesday, 27 July 2010

What are Early Learning Centres Made Of?

There is the 19th century nursery rhyme What are little boys made of? it goes.

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of !
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice
That's what little girls are made of!

The reason that this comes to mind is that Jennie has mentioned this from the Early Learning Centre website.

For the little princess in the family we have great feminine outfits like Butterfly Fairy, Sleeping Beauty, Ballerina and Nurse’s uniform. Why not add a medical case for that extra touch of authenticity.

The boys are catered for too, with great Doctor, Policeman & Fireman uniforms, not to mention fantastic Pirate and Knight costumes. All these can be combined with a range of accessories so your child will really look the part.

Now hang on a cotton picking minute. I was one of four boys in my school choir, I did drama, I even wore tights for the ball scene in the school pantomime. All this before the age of 12. Plus my mother's old brownie uniform was part of me and my brother's dressing up box and often got used for military purposes.

When we were growing up we played football with the family next door, there were six of them and two of us. Only one of us fulfilled those childhood dreams of playing football for Northern Ireland, that would be the elder daughter of the family next door.

One of my nephews loves his gymnastics and is very good at it. But it isn't one of those sports that is seen as butch and macho, like football or rugby. At least not until later in life. As one of the kids who just loved to run I got ribbed for it at school. I even got to wear a predominantly green (the girls' uniform colour at our school) honours tie for it in the sixth form. Neither of those are seen as sports for men until you get really goo at it. Look at poor Tom Daley and the abuse he got as a public example.

I was also read recently, and I will try and refind the source, some man being interviewed about their childhood saying that they had their action men have sex together because their parents wouldn't buy them a Barbie because that was too gay.

I guess the moral of this story is that don't limit your children's imaginations or ambitions by stereotyping the genders. They will find other ways to use them themselves. In this day where we have female firefighters and male nurses. There are female doctors and male dancers. Have you seen how much lace in on a Jack Sparrow costume? Almost as much as the ballerina's tutu.

So maybe the earlier learning centre should stop gender stereotyping in its advertising. Thus speaks this New Romantic teenage boy from the 80s. Yeah gel, mouse or spray the hair got it all.

1 comment:

  1. Oh don't start me! When my littlun's were younger (and that's 15 years ago now) I used to grow livid at the free toys given out by McDonalds and the like, which were invariably "boys" or "girls" toys. .

    We did work in the NI Council for Integrated education on an Anti-Bias Curriculum, whereby schools would be wary of gender stereotyping even from an early age. But oh my we still have such a long way to go :-(