This topic came into my head whilst I was shopping for body wash and I saw the exact same product being targeted for both men and women separately. The one for ladies being pink and aimed to ‘feel uplifted’ whilst the one for men was blue and aimed to ‘feel sporty’. So this got me thinking, about how many small levels of stereotypical norms we live in, that most of us haven’t even questioned and children are growing up to think are normal. I spoke in a previous blog post about the matter surrounding women being extremely important to me and hence I thought it was an important blog post to do- and to be honest I can’t believe I haven’t spoken about it already!
From Barbies, to plastic kitchens and tutu’s and fairies; just a small variety of things many girls grow up thinking are ‘girls toys’ and hint at the type of things they can grow up to be as women. So whilst a boy can dream about being a fireman when playing with his truck, a girl can dream about being a fairy and be told that’s ‘so cute’, when we all know it isn’t even real. A lot more new parents are trying to make a point by treating a daughter in the same way they would treat their sons. Telling girls that it’s okay to fall and get muddy, it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake and yes of course we can play football! Psychological research has shown that these first few years are crucial for children and can have a severe impact on their personalities later on in life- from independence and risk-taking to finding a partner. So not only is it morally the correct thing to do but it’s also going to affect them!
I think in society when we look at clothing in particular, women have evolved to have it easier in certain aspect. It is much more ‘socially appropriate’ for a lady to wear a suit than it ever would be for a man to wear a dress or a skirt. For meetings as females we have a large range to choose from, from pencil skirts, to A line dresses or trousers. However, if a man wore a dress to an interview or meeting, he wouldn’t be taken seriously and definitely get called unpleasant things. It’s a shame that as a society are beliefs are still so, even with the likes of Sam Smith and Harry Style trying to break norms with high heels, colour and patterns in their outfits.
So the thing is, what can we do? To begin with I think with younger children around it’s important to stay away from these norms and break barriers. Whether they’re you’re own children, younger siblings or whenever you come across them; as a generation of their own, it starts with us teaching them that it’s fine to be whoever you want to be. Next, I believe we need to let brands know that we don’t need categories for men and women unless the product can scientifically affect us due to biology. Fashion and beauty especially should be worn for an individual and not with intentions to fit into a particular lifestyle. All in all, I think most of us know what is typically right and wrong, which we can voice aloud with the use of social media platforms to help us progress even further from where we were 10 years ago.