11 Facts About Women You May Have Forgotten

3 07 2012

It may seem that I am stating the obvious here, but judging by things I’ve heard recently a reminder may be in order.

Whether it’s Chris Evans saying that women are much better at making beds than men or a woman’s voice suddenly rising above the murmur on the bus, saying “well duuuh, all women love shoes”, everyone seems to have an opinion on what women are like.

Something I feel sums up society’s view of women is the range and positioning of women’s magazines in the supermarket. Generally the women’s magazines that are placed at the front, at eye level insinuate that women should be interested in: men, fashion, make-up, hair, dieting, weddings, babies, celebrities, keeping house etc. Magazines that deviate from these norms, eg Diva are placed on the top shelf at the back, somewhere on the border between the “Women’s” and “Angling” sections.

So, without further ado, here are a few things you may have forgotten about women:

Continued on the Huffington Post.


UPDATE: Sexism in toys

9 07 2011

As an update to my previous post about sexism in the toy industry, I would like to share a few links.

Firstly, here is a more detailed study on the gender stereotypes promoted through toys.

The Pigtail Pals blog has the slogan “Redefine Girly” and is well worth following.

Pink Stinks is another great website. They campaign to challenge the “culture of pink”, enthuse girls about the opportunities available to them, improve girls’ self-esteem and self-confidence, raise their ambitions and provide positive role models.

Sexism in toys

29 05 2011

I was just reading this post about the way women are portrayed as sex objects in popular culture and the influence this has on children. It brought me back to a pet hate: the difference between girls’ and boys’ toys.

Firstly, what is the purpose of toys and should there be different toys for boys and for girls?

Toys are, essentially, tools for play. In play, children explore their place in the world. They learn how to interact with objects and other people. They use play as a means of exploring ideas they don’t fully understand. Toys, therefore, serve to assist in the mental, social, physical and emotional development of children.

Do we want our children to all learn the same things, or do we want boys and girls to learn different things to fulfil different roles in society? What do we expect of our children when they grow up? Do we want to give them equality of employment opportunity? Do we want them to form and sustain stable relationships? Do we want them to treat one another as equals? Do we want them all to be capable of looking after themselves and their children in their own homes?

Personally, I would answer yes to all of the above. This is not, however, what we are teaching them. We are teaching them that boys should be doing something active, something ‘clever’, bringing home the bread and that girls should be making themselves look pretty, caring for children, cooking and cleaning.

Out-dated, you say? Couldn’t possibly be happening in this day and age, you say? Look at the facts.

I have scrolled through the first eight pages of the ‘role-play‘ category on a major toy retailer’s website. I only reported on toys that were either pictured with a child or used an overtly gender-specific colour scheme. The charts below were created from my findings.



Who does this affect? Everyone. It affects parents and children, yes, but it also affects the rest of us: this is the training we are giving to the people who are our future. They will be the doctors, the politicians, the civil servants, the emergency services personnel, the mothers, fathers, entertainers, teachers etc etc etc. Do we want female representation in these professions? Or do we want men to do that so that women can stay at home and cook, clean, look pretty and make babies?

Please consider this when buying children’s’ toys and clothes. Girls don’t intrinsically like pink, purple, sparkles, high heels etc, they like them because they’ve been taught to. Make sure they get a balance in their toys and clothes – let them be active and get dirty, don’t let them focus on make-up, clothes, cooking, cleaning, looking pretty etc. At some point, girls will need to earn a living and boys will need to be able to look after themselves. Don’t do them a disservice by not making sure they all learn to do both.

For anyone interested in the raw data, here it is.

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