So, I was going to blog about the fact that for the first time in fourteen years – yes, years – I actually threw up (literally my worst fear)…but I don’t really want to go down that path and relive the horror today. So instead, I’m ranting about something that has been said probably a million times already but I don’t care. It’s happening.
My husband is the youth & family pastor at our current church. I thought a great idea for a kid’s program would be all girls ball hockey. I feel like girls often don’t get the same opportunities to play sports as boys, and when they do, it’s usually co-ed (at least from my experience). I really valued having a safe space for girls to just have fun and be active…so Thursday nights all girl ball hockey was born.
On our first night, we set up the gym. Nets, extra sticks, regulation soft balls, and hockey tape littered the room. We bought two colours of hockey tape: pink and blue. Since there were no boys, I assumed we wouldn’t run the risk of kids automatically categorizing the tapes. I was wrong.
As my husband taped up his stick with pink tape, a little girl came up to him and laughed.
“What are you doing?” She asked.
“Adding some tape to my stick,” He said.
She laughed again.
“Look everyone! A boy is using GIRL TAPE!”
I don’t usually have the guts to stand up for what I believe in, even with little kids. But on that fateful Thursday night, I did.
“Why do you think that is ‘girl’ tape?” I asked.
“Because it’s PINK!” She said.
“Colours are for everyone, both boys and girls, even pink,” I said.
She looked at me as if I just told her unicorns were real and bunnies could fly. She then ran off with her hockey stick and joined the rest of the girls.
This girl was five years old. Five! At five years old, she has not only already clearly internalized societal gender norms, but also acted on it. She didn’t just say that the pink tape was girl tape, but she made fun of my husband for using it. Because it’s “okay” for women to do traditionally masculine things (i.e. play hockey) but it’s not “okay” for men to do traditionally feminine things (i.e. use pink tape).
Another interesting (but not really that surprising) post I noticed on my Facebook feed the other day had to do with a rapper:
Huh, a female rapper? When I asked Google to give me the definition of a “rapper,” here’s what showed up:
A rapper is any person who performs rap music. Why did that article have to specify it was a female rapper? Because it’s surprising that a female rapper raps about something other than sex? Honestly, it would be just as surprising if a male rapper rapped about something other than sex too – so that can’t be it.
And if it was a male rapper, you can be 99.99% sure it would just say “A rapper who raps about more than just sex” and not “A male rapper who raps about more than just sex.”
Rappers are assumed male, but so are a lot of other professionals. Let’s look at doctors. How often do you hear “female doctor” VS “male doctor?” What about nurses? Now, it’s weird. Nurses are assumed female, doctors are assumed male. The assumed position of power is almost always given to the man.
What’s the point of this post? I don’t really know. I guess I just wanted to vent about something other than my anxiety or emetophobia or about the stupid statistics class I’m finally taking after multiple failed attempts.
Hopefully, if you take anything out of this post, it’ll be to just be more aware of what’s around you. More aware of how women (and men) are portrayed, and how important choice of words truly are.