Pink is for girls, blue is for boys.
You would hope that in 2013 we had progressed beyond such obvious stereotypes. But no—walk into any large toy shop and pink is still for girls, blue for boys. And colour is just the tip of the iceberg.
Open a kids book and still the characters are predominantly “he”. Hats off to the Julia Donaldsons of this world who have female and male characters in her books. Sadly, she is in the minority. I constantly change characters when I read our children books so that female characters feature as much as males.
Simple observations you might say, but why then do we still take it for granted?
Meanwhile in a conversation sometime ago at my house…
My daughter, Aurora, age three: “Look at my rabbit.”
Friend: “What’s his name?”
Aurora: “Its a she and her name is big rabbit.”
I was thrilled when this conversation first happened as our naming all the toys “she” had worked. But when friends and family come around to visit 99% do not think twice about about presuming all the toys are male. Pah, you may say its a toy it means nothing; but I disagree.
It’s the little things that mount up to a big message and this is the insidious way that the patriarchy in which we live perpetuates itself.
I am a feminist—not because of the number of books I have read, but because I am a woman living in the world. A world where, on a micro scale, I still get post from women of my own generation addressing me Mrs James Mountain (my jaw drops every time). Am I a possession of my husband? I ask myself.
And on a macro scale, a world where, “603 million women still live in countries where domestic violence is not a crime, and 2.6 billion have no criminal legal protection from marital rape.” Taken from the 2011-2012 Annual Report from UN Women.
Feminism is not something that just concerns women—it concerns all of us. When one suffers, we all suffer. The whole basis of yoga is union, union of Ida and Pingala, of masculine and feminine on a micro scale of the body and on a macro scale of the universe.
This does not depend on sexuality, gay, straight, black, white we all have masculine and feminine within us. Union is the only route to liberation. But there is no use cultivating union on a yoga mat if it does not translate into daily life.
It’s about humanism and equality; we all deserve love and respect.
According to both UN Women and the World Bank, countries where women have the same rights as men also enjoy greater financial and social prosperity.
There are fundamental differences between males and females and these are to be celebrated—but also numerous studies have shown that a lot of our behaviour is learned not innate. And there is still not enough balance.
My concern as a woman and mother is that whilst ever the simple daily expressions and experiences of our children are so male dominated, regardless of what we do at home these inequalities will continue.
I love men—my husband is one of the biggest feminists I know! Only through education and awareness of those tiny things that mold and shape our children can we change society.
I don’t want to live in a female dominated society but I would like to see equality.
True equality—and it has to start with the kids.
Like elephant equal rights for all on Facebook.
Ed: Bryonie Wise