I tried to buy my daughter some sandals suitable for scooting and climbing trees etc. The woman in the shop kept bringing out white and pink strappy sandals that were totally unsuited to a small child in the park. The footwear gender divide is very stark, it may seem trivial but white fancy sandals say: girls should be neat and tidy and not run or climb. Then as a present for being sensible she presented my daughter with a pink hairbrush that dyes your hair pink!
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I had arranged to meet someone at The Pheasant pub, Great Chishill, near Cambridge early on a Friday evening in April this year. It’s one of those chocolate-box pubs in a chocolate-box village and was very busy. I wasn’t sure whether I could take my dog inside, so I opened the door and asked someone who seemed at home there if dogs were allowed. Another man heard my question and shouted in a posh voice: ‘The only dogs allowed are those behind the bar’. There was a great roar of laughter from around the pub. At this point the young barmaid stepped up and told me where I could sit with my dog. Presumably she is expected to put up with these sort of comments as part of her job.
Yesterday a tried to talk to my husband about my desire of having a third child. He said “no way! Imagine it turns out to be another girl”
Saw a male representative call large toy animatronic spiders “Very Boys” on a video of a toy fair. I find this kind of ironic considering that female spiders are usually larger than male spiders. Large Tegenaria (House Spider) females are usually what scare people indoors. Female spiders are usually larger because each has a large abdomen for producing eggs. It was clear that the man presenting the toy spiders thought that they would be suitable for “boys only”.
I find it kind of sad (given that I am female and interested in spiders) that females are being stereotyped as being “Little Miss Muffett” while the boys are all deemed to be “Spider-man”. I have seen numerous scientific studies that claim that women are more afraid of spiders because the neurotoxins in poisonous ones could damage female reproductive organs. Having a natural fear for self-preservation is a fair point.
This however, doesn’t explain how I trained myself to be calm around spiders and read up on which ones are poisonous. It also doesn’t explain the women on the internet who keep tarantulas as pets: one woman even let her spider climb right inside her mouth and out again! It also doesn’t explain the internet videos of petrified men who while shuddering and try to remove a large house spider from the ceiling.
The truth is that poisonous spiders can cause men a world of hurt and damage to their reproductive organs also. So please don’t have a go at men who are afraid of spiders: human beings evolved to avoid neurotoxins and this includes a fear response. It is a cultural thing that men are encouraged to suppress their fears and women to express them.
In short, everyone starts being somewhat afraid of spiders for bodily preservation reasons. Some people may start out being more afraid than others due to natural variation in the fear response. Tropical spiders that sometimes hitch a ride in bananas can bite and cause organ damage with neurotoxins.
However, people can train themselves to not panic and learn about spiders with proper training. With spiders that are safe to handle, people can be trained to be calm and respectful towards the spiders. I remember watching one male professor of Arachnology on the TV. He talked about trap-door spiders and he explained how he managed his intense fear of arachnids by studying them.
Everyone regardless of gender should be more educated about wildlife.
I am very sad that I live in a house with arachnophobes: because of them I could never keep a tarantula as a pet. I would love to learn more about tarantulas and how to be safe around spiders. It is my dream to handle a tarantula (safely).
It is sad that children’s wildlife education is being hampered by toy manufacturers who colour the animatronic butterflies pink “for girls” and call the large animatronic spiders “very boys”. In fact, it is the male butterflies that often have prettier (less dull) colours than female butterflies in real life!
I feel lonely, because I was so touched by how a female garden spider would carefully make silken hammocks for her eggs. The spiderlings would hatch out in the springtime. People thought that as a female it was weird that I was interested in spiders. That was until they found a spider in the bath. I have “saved” numerous people at work, school and home by removing the “offending” spider.
As a girl, I was fascinated by spiders and butterflies.
There are men who study butterflies professionally, so butterflies aren’t just for girls toy companies!
I miss “The Really Wild Show” on TV where the presenters taught children of all genders about spiders and butterflies.
Disappointed, and very worried to read that fundamentalist Christian schools in the UK were found to be teaching girls that they should obey men, as well as that homosexuality is wrong and other disturbing stuff. Children should be free from sexism, homophobia and religious indoctrination during their school days!
I was told I had only come to Oxford University for the ‘marriage market’
A few years ago I was out at a club with my friend. It was at the end of the night, and we were making our way through the crowd near the door. A guy grabbed me, started kissing me on the mouth and then immediately shoved his hand inside my pants. I pushed him away but felt too embarrassed and ashamed to tell my friend what had happened. I didn’t tell anyone about it until years afterwards. Thinking about it makes me feel dirty and ashamed, which in turn makes me angry because I did nothing wrong. If a similar thing happened again I would make a big scene and report it to the police straight away. Sexual assault should never be trivialised or ignored and perpetrators should not be allowed to get away with it.
I was flicking through one of my cookery books this evening (a baking-based one, that was written by a former Great British Bake Off contestant), & I noticed some gender stereotyping in some of what this author had written. I quote:
In the introduction: “[the author’s cousin] is nearly 40 now & [she!] still remember[s] being in awe of these amazing bakes, iced in pink for the girls & blue for the boys.”
In the blurb for a recipe for a baby shower giant cupcake: “Blue for a boy, pink for a girl or half-and-half if you don’t know yet!”
In the blurb for a recipe for raspberry iced fingers: “These are such pretty iced buns- they would work fabulously for a girly tea party.” (the icing is pink).
In the blurb for a biscuit recipe: “These flavour combinations work extremely well, & the colours are so pretty it’s the sort of thing I’d do at a girly afternoon tea.”
Why on earth are some people so determined to gender colours, & describe pink as a ‘girly’ colour & blue as a colour aimed at boys? And it’s a bit depressing that in this instance, these views were expressed by a woman.
At work a week ago I was returning a carton of milk to the dairy case. I was wearing my hair in pigtail braids because it’s too thick to do much else with it. Well, an old man I passed saw me and felt the need to call out, “A milkmaid!”
I’ve since switched to a different, older-looking hairstyle, not because of that alone but because I am harassed at work SO MUCH that I’ve come to expect it every time I go in, and I suspect it’s due to both being female and my youthful appearance.
Oh, and a few weeks ago a male customer stopped and stared at me for several seconds after his transaction was done, then left saying sarcastically, “Keep smiling.”
I don’t go to work to smile and look pretty. I go to do my job and earn money. That’s IT.
So we’re having a training session in Entrepreneurship a day Strategic Planning. I’m one of the consultations the University (in Jamaica) hired to facilitate the workshop. Just as I’m about to begin the session with my group (a group of about 5 persons from a community group) one of the men interrupts me.
Him: Can I ask you favour?
Me: Sure. (thinking it was related to the topic).
Him: Can you fix me a cup of coffee?
The rest of the group is either laughing from embarrassment or shaking their heads. So instead of just ignoring him or insulting him (like I would usually do to men who are so rude) I decided to ask him why he asked me that favour. I had expected him to say something reasonable or even lazy like ‘oh you’re closer to the table’ or ‘I don’t know how to make coffe’. But instead he says
“Oh me like when woman make my coffee.”
I was so irritated. Not only with the fact that he was wasting my time but the fact that he thought it was OK to interrupt my session to reduce me to his maid. I became further irritated when a group member told me to ignore him because was on the driver (ie – wasn’t even a part of the class). I was the most educated person in the room but he wanted to reduce me to a server all because ‘he liked when women made his coffe’.