Tag Archives: Gender

Bad (Kinder) Eggs

In the olden days (i.e. the ’90s) I used to love Kinder Eggs. For me, these chocolatey ovules of joy represented the ultimate confectionery treat – I was only ever allowed one very rarely because they were significantly more expensive than your average chocolate bar, but with significantly less chocolate, a factor which really bothered my dad who has always been a huge advocate of value for money. Another reason I wasn’t allowed Kinder Eggs frequently was because they resulted in my house being cluttered up with all kids of crap, but crap I treasured very dearly, like these turtles:

kinder

Let’s face it, to a child, what’s the only thing better than chocolate? Chocolate in the shape of an egg. What’s even better than a chocolate egg? A chocolate egg CONTAINING A TOY!!!

However, now I don’t like Kinder Eggs anymore. Because THIS

kinder eggs

Kinder-pink-and-blue

Source

I know I am usually against gendered products aimed at children, but maybe Kinder have a point here. I mean, I remember being a little girl and being so confused and pissed off when I opened my shell to find a toy that was either a vehicle or – even worse – had to be constructed – ew! In such cases I would cry, throw it to my dad and return to brushing Barbie’s hair, hoping that my next egg would contain something pretty, pink and sparkly to reinforce my princess identity. [Note: Sarcasm intended]

Look, these sorts of products are not harmless. They reinforce and push gender stereotypes onto children and this is damaging. Few things anger me more than overhearing a parent say to their child “you don’t want that, that’s for boys/girls!” What if the kid is attracted to that item? What’s wrong with letting them play with or eat exactly the same things as their opposite-sex counterparts? Boys especially are often mocked or teased by their own families for showing an interest in “female” products – what does that do to their self-esteem, and also to their attitude towards females? I hear boys being bullied for being “girl-like” all the time, reinforcing a view that being a female is a Bad Thing, or at the very least a Not As Good As A Boy Thing. This is dangerous. We should not reinforce this. Especially with f*cking confectionery.

I am a disappointed egg.

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Powerful Poetry: No more page 3

There is a huge campaign at the minute to rid the UK of page 3 culture. This is an extremely important and interesting topic which I’m not going to cover in detail here now, as there are plenty of others who have done a great job of that already. But I did want to share this video, which I just found via Twitter. It’s by the wonderful poet Hollie McNish (whose videos I have seen before when I became slightly obsessed with this performance). Please just give it a listen and think about it. I could watch this woman perform all day.

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Intimidation should not be a normal part of a woman’s daily routine.

As far as days go, today was a pretty shitty one for me. I won’t go into the details, mostly because they are boring and financial-related (the joys of unfunded-PhD life) and they will sort themselves out. That’s not what I’m writing about here, but I’m just setting the mood, as all good writers do. So I am sent home from work early at 3pm (part of the problem stated previously) and I ponder what to do with my night. Initially I go home, get my pyjamas on and watch Secret of our Living Planet on BBC iPlayer and generally feel sorry for myself (by the way, that is an absolutely splendid show so do check it out, but it’s just not how I wanted my Saturday night to go…). Via Twitter I heard about a free comedy night that was happening in town and I thought… Ach ok, why not. It will at least get me out the house for a while and I like comedy! Excellent. I knew one of the acts that was going to be performing, but apart from that I was basically going on my own, but I’m fine with that. I’m a social primate, I like meeting new people. All is good.

So I make myself an omelette, pour a glass of wine and get ready to go out. At 6.45pm I leave the house, having consumed said omelette and single glass of wine. A few seconds after leaving the house, a car full of young men goes past and peeps the horn vigorously as they all shout at me out of the rolled-down windows. Let me again remind you that it is 6.45 in the evening. It is still very much broad daylight and there are lots of people about. Naturally this pisses me off and so I do what I always do in these situations: I give them the finger and move on. This is often considered by my friends to be an unwise move, but it makes me feel better so I don’t care.

I feel it appropriate to tell you at this point what I was wearing, although I hate myself for doing so. I know (or at least sincerely hope) that most of you who read my blog are not of the opinion that a woman deserves to be verbally/physically/sexually abused because of the clothes she chooses to wear, but there will no doubt be some stragglers who stumble upon this site and think “YEAH BUT U WER PROBABLY ASKIN 4 THAT SORT OF ATTENTION”. Not that I ever feel I have to answer to these types of morons, but I’ll tell you anyway, just so we’ve all got a clear picture in our heads. I was (still am) wearing 80 dernier black tights with shorts, a baggy t-shirt, a knee-length black cardigan and biker boots. Not that it matters, I could be wearing a fucking pair of knickers and a crop-top saying “I ❀ COCK” and I should still feel comfortable walking around on my own before dark.

5 minutes later, as I begin to walk down a hill, I notice a 40(ish) year old man pushing his bicycle up the hill in my direction. I feel his eyes on me but think little of it. As he gets closer I can’t really ignore the fact he is staring at me anymore, and so I meet his gaze (which, it turns out, is combined with the sleaziest half-smile I have ever seen) and I try to make the least impressed facial expression I can (you know, that one that says “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU STARING AT?”) But he clearly misreads my signals and his creepy half-smile turns into a full blown horrifying grin and he says “hello baby” in a foreign accent. I glare at him briefly, put my head down and continue walking.

I stroll on, with my headphones on in my own oblivious world for about 30 minutes until I arrive at the comedy venue. I have one beer, have a good laugh, talk to some lovely people, then decide at 10pm that it’s time to go home. So I get the headphones back on and off I trot.

So it’s now 10pm and it’s not fully dark but it’s certainly getting there. People always either consider me brave or stupid or a combination of both because I have absolutely no problem walking home on my own at such an hour. I can take care of myself and I’ll be damned if anyone is going to make me feel like I have to pay for a taxi out of sheer fear. Speaking of which, I got to a set of traffic lights (at which I was the only pedestrian waiting to cross) and a taxi was sitting waiting at a red light beside me. I saw the driver staring at me but, again, I ignored it. People stare at people all the time, human nature innit? Stop flattering yourself, Lauren! Then as the light turned amber and then to green, he tooted his horn and winked at me. If it’s a choice of getting in a car with that guy or walking on my own, I’ll take the latter thanks.

About 5 minutes later, as I’m walking through the centre of town, a group of guys in their 20s are fooling around as guys in their 20s do. As I walk past (with my headphones on but turned down), I hear them shout at me. “Alright darlin’?” When I keep walking without turning around or missing a beat, their calls become more aggressive. “Oi. OI!” When I still don’t react, they respond with “fooking slut” and then they all laugh. I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed the joke.

I’m not complaining that tonight all these awful things happened to me. Quite the opposite actually. I have heard stories of women who have been followed home, physically attacked, and had to go through so much more than this. Like I say, I really try not to let these stupid little things get to me. But this is really just an average Saturday night for a woman walking around alone. Most of the things I have described here, many women would just shrug off and not even see as a problem. And that is my problem. All of these things are acts of intimidation. They are not compliments. I hate that being a woman by default means that you are probably going to be subject to these sorts of things on a very regular basis. And I am sick of it.

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