Kids are inundated with sexual stereotypes from an early age. The sharp gender divide between the toy aisles alone can make it extremely difficult for parents to fully impart to their children a sense of individuality, free of social expectations: just because they’re a girl, it doesn’t mean they need to be deeply invested in the color pink, and just because they’re a boy, it doesn’t mean that they’re required to play with Hot Wheels. (Though I can confirm that Hot Wheels are dope, regardless of your gender.)
However, casual instances of sexism at school and out in the world can make it confusing for kids who just want the freedom to like the things they like, free of judgement.
Australian father Steve Callaghan recently penned a letter to his daughter’s school, alerting them to an instance of casual sexism in their school activities. Best of all, he did so in the most entertaining way possible.
Apparently, Steve’s daughter had been told that the school would be dividing girls and boys up on Monday afternoon to do activities solely rooted in gender stereotypes. The girls would be getting makeovers in the library, while the boys would be going on a field trip to Bunnings, a large hardware store.
It’s the sort of outdated school activity that makes you ask yourself “What year is it??”
Which, incidentally is exactly what Steve did.
Steve wrote the school, politely asking if, perhaps, it had become the victim of some regressive time travel incident.
The letter reads:
I must draw your attention to a serious incident which occurred yesterday at your school where my daughter Ruby is a year 6 student.
When Ruby left for school yesterday it was 2017 but when she returned home in the afternoon she was from 1968.
I know this to be the case as Ruby informed me that the “girls” in Year 6 would be attending the school library to get their hair and makeup done on Monday afternoon while the “boys” are going to Bunnings.
Are you able to search the school buildings for a rip in the space-time continuum? Perhaps there is a faulty Flux Capacitor hidden away in the girls toilet block?
I look forward to this being rectified and my daughter and other girls at the school being returned to this millennium where school activities are not divided sharply along gender.
Twitter was fully supportive of Steve’s decision to contact the school, particularly considering that this sort of casual sexism frequently goes unquestioned.
Because, honestly — why do these young girls need to get mandatory, school-sanctioned makeovers? It seems like a majorly sexist misuse of time, particularly considering they’re already going to be in a library. (Though perhaps the school didn’t realize that girls can read.)
And, for the record, some girls actually prefer hardware stores to getting their hair and makeup done.
On the remotely bright side, perhaps this really is evidence of accidental time travel?
That’s probably wishful thinking, though.
Fortunately, there are parents like Steve out there who are willing to speak out when their kids are coerced into participating in such antiquated gender rituals — and manage to do so without being rude, no less!