Maybe you’ve seen these interior decorating choices for little girls’ rooms. Perhaps you’ve seen the tiny shirts emblazoned with these seemingly innocent, yet subliminally superior messages.
“Boys, noun. Noise with dirt on them.”
“Mommy’s a queen, I’m a princess, and daddy is lucky.”
“Mommy’s shopping buddy. Daddy’s broke!”
What kind of message are we sending to our children, both boys and girls, when we endorse this kind of attitude as parents? That it’s OK for little girls to feel superior to little boys? That men are the submissive, subservient support to their wives and daughters? Are the males in our society now the butts of women’s jokes? I have a feeling that if I put up a wall decal on my boys’ rooms that said, “Girls, noun. Gold diggers in pink”, I’d make the news with my offensive, berating attitude towards all females ever. So why is it acceptable to teach our daughters to treat the opposite sex as inferior, when we would never encourage our sons to do the same?
I saw this quote from Doris Lessing (image courtesy of imgur.com, user CremedelaHwhipped) recently:
Maybe some women will cry, “Feminism empowers my daughter and me to step over these boys” or worse, “my husband knew what he was getting into”, but how has this become the societal norm? Really, why has ” feminism” been misconstrued for “female superiority”? Why is it acceptable to disrespect an entire sex? Simply put, if we all treated others with the same respect and kindness with which we would like to be treated, these types of messages on playroom walls and tiny onesies would go by the wayside.
I was relaying this idea to my husband last night. He is an excellent source of wisdom, and while the two of us rarely interact with other adults, we often have meaningful, deep conversations. While my scope of perspective is currently focused on our home and our children, his also involves his career and coworkers, who usually represent the complete antithesis of whatever we believe. Captain Laser Pants had been mulling over a similar concern, but not with wall decals and toddler shirts. Essentially, the conclusion we found while talking together (he and his coworkers often openly debate social and political issues) is that people are encouraged to feel superior to others. Comedians capitalize on sarcastic, belittling observations relaying the message that everyone that disagrees with you is an idiot. Marketing gurus push the message that you’ll be better than x demographic if you take part in their product. News sources bank on the principle that their viewers feel superior to other news source viewers, and anyone who watches any other news source is ill informed and ignorant. It’s perfectly normal to invest in arrogance and treat anyone different as inferior.
Circling back to the ides of calling my children noise with dirt. Discrediting my boys’ worth before even getting the exquisite joy of knowing them? Shame on you. I’m not an idiot, I know these wall decals and tee shirts aren’t aimed specifically at Mini Gwinn and 2.0, but they fall under the blanket statement and idea that “boys are dirty and loud”. All kids are dirty and loud, don’t kid yourself. And your daughters aren’t princesses, unless you’re royalty. Stop putting our children on different playing fields. They’re children, not walking advertisements for their parents’ ideas. In the parenting community, others rely upon me to teach my children well, and I do the same for others. Please, for the sake of all our kids, stop peddling superiority.
Really. This was a well thought out post in my head. Maybe I’ll come back with an edit or two after more coffee and sleep. For now, this is an unedited, first draft stream of consciousness post.