I like to think I'm not sexist. And a bit of a feminist of course. But two recent online articles I came across have made me question whether I'm really as non-judgemental and non-stereotypical as I'd like to be.
I am so guilty of this. Teenage girls - fine. I ask them about their career aspirations, schoolwork, part time jobs, hobbies. No problem. Younger girls - not so much. I'll be honest and say I struggle to converse with young children anyway, but part of my job is to go into schools, so small talk is inevitable. But what is also inevitable, is that if that small talk is with a girl with sparkly hair grips, painted nails or cute pigtails, sure as hell I will mention those sparkly/painted/cute things. Shocking really. Not so much the fact that I do it, but the fact that seemingly tiny, unconscious slips like this are what help keep society focussed on female appearances. Girls under six thinking they're fat? That's obscene.
I love the conversations in these articles, which show how easy it is to talk to a little girl about her mind rather than her looks. So bloody simple. And next time the chance arises, that's exactly what I'm going to do. Put a bit of thought into what I'm asking and see what happens.
I must stress I am not a Motherist per se, and I have nothing against stay-at-home mothers. I have the upmost respect for anyone that chooses to reproduce, however I am most definitely guilty of point number one - buggy bashing.
Not literally - I'm not in the habit of bashing anyone, least of all babies. But I do hate big buggies. And it's just occurred to me that perhaps I'm being a bit of an arse here.
If someone is coming along the pavement towards me in a wheelchair, I move aside without so much as a second thought. I get out of the way, whether that involves stepping onto the road, or squeezing myself up against a wall. They can't help being in a wheelchair and therefore can't help getting in the way, so to speak. Out of decency and respect, I move aside.
I move for buggies too, but often, I'm seething inside. Does it have to be so big? Surely that child should be walking by now. Couldn't she just move over a bit? Do they have to push their buggies side-by-side?
Yeah, I'm very sisterly.
But as the article points out, why should their precious child be jolted by a pot hole or a kerb just so I can stride on by to the post office/supermarket/pub/wherever. And as for two mothers walking side-by-side with their buggies - if speaking to each other is the only chance they've had to talk to another adult all day, can I really blame them for making the most of it? They're not assuming they have a God-given right to the pavement - they simply have a right to the pavement, as do I. But they're pushing a small human being in a pretty bulky item that is probably a nightmare to manoeuvre, will it kill me to get out of the way and be happy about doing it?
Let's face it, no one is perfect, but do you harbour some prejudices, or feed into some stereotypes that you're not proud of?