Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Girls and Men

I'm the F-Word.

I'm a feminist.

This scares men. This scares women. At first it scared me. I heard name calling, like feminazi, and I heard just generally nastiness-from both women and men.

I used to say silly things like, "I'm not a feminist, but I believe in equality for everyone." Now I'm like, WHAT? What does that even mean!? I have no clue what that means. That is like my dog saying, "I'm not a dachshund, but I am a dog." See how ridiculous that is?

Because I am a feminist and would like to be more of an activist I tend to get excited about things that show inequality and stereotypes. For example, I grabbed this screen shot off of the K-Mart website when I was gift shopping:

The sections for girls dress clothes is called "Pretty Little Girls". That is fine and appropriate. Little girls have every right to be pretty. And this section is for kids under twenty four months so they are most definitely little girls. What gets me though is the boys dress sections is called "Handsome Little Man". Once again, little boys have every right to be handsome. In fact, I encourage everyone to dress up if you want. But what gets me is that boys are called men. If you are wearing clothes for twenty four months and younger you are not an adult. You are a most surely a child.

I am aware that this is a popular saying in the baby world. I know quite a few people who call their son their little man. I just don't get it. I have yet to hear people call their daughter their little women, unless you are the four March sisters (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott). 

What these titles of man and girl represents is power. Traditionally a man has more power than a woman. This is if they are of equivalent age and race. An adult has more power than a child. American culture (and many other cultures) gives men more power than any other group (unless race comes into play, and then differences begin to emerge). Calling a boy child a man is giving that child more power than the girl child who is still being referred to as a girl. 

Calling a section Handsome Little Man many not seem like a big deal. But these things do matter. Advertising is never done without great thought. These companies are trying to sell something, and they pay lots of money to make sure they sell their product. They do what works. It is our responsibility to see and question these things. Why does this work and what are the implications? 

Small changes, such as referring to boys as boys and not as men, has the potential to change thought processes. Small steps can change the world for girls and women. 

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