Having lived and worked in a girls boarding house and shared the last two years of my life with around forty teenage girls from all across the globe, I cannot imagine a world where these incredible women should have any fewer rights or opportunities than anyone else because of their gender. As you can see I’m all about empowering women and this has to start young. We are seeing a lot in the media at the moment, trying to dissuade gender separation in young people, whether it be in the classroom, in the playground or at home. There are great videos such as this one that reminds young girls that job roles such as being a surgeon, a fighter pilot or a fire fighter is possible for girls too and the Channel 4 documentary, ‘No more boys and girls: Can our kids go gender free?’ discussed the question: “Is the way we treat boys and girls the real reason we haven’t achieved equality between men and women?” (BBC Media Centre) It tried to strip away blue vs pink, the affectionate nicknames for female students vs male students (sweetie vs boss) and the idea that boys are stronger and tougher and their female classmates are meant for the sidelines rather than running the race. It was an interesting experiment to watch and actually made a whole lot of sense. How can we expect our girls to strive, achieve anything they put their minds to and stand up to their male counterparts if, in the most important stages of their lives, they are being referred to as sweetie, love or honey when their male classmates are referred to as boss, mate and sir? The same goes for clothing. How often have you walked down the clothing aisles in shops, and in the boys section found designs with spaceships, animals, superheroes and slogans that tell them they are ‘out of this world’ or ‘fierce and heroic’, yet the girls aisle seems to be awash with pinks, purples and pastel colours that remind young girls that for them it’s all about appearance with slogans such as ‘beautiful’ and ‘pretty in pink’. A perfect example was highlighted by the Huffington Post back in 2013 when the comic book company Marvel had Avengers t-shirts produced that for the boys read “I am a Hero!” and yet the Girls option read, “I need a Hero!” UGH *cue dramatic eye roll*
So apparently girls are incapable of helping themselves and it is up to a male to come to the rescue. This video of Reese Witherspoon sums up perfectly what is wrong with this in the move industry. She highlights that she simply refuses to read scripts any further whenever she sees the following line said by a female character:
(Looks at her male character equivalent)
“Oh no! What are we going to do now?”
It really is ridiculous. Women are so important in crisis situations because they have strong minds and can often come up with great solutions to any problem at the same time as supporting those around them. Of course boys can be heroes, but so can girls; 100% of the time.
When discussing the program, ‘No more boys and girls: Can our kids go gender free?’ on Good Morning Britain, the topic of girls and boys clothing was discussed, with presenter Kate Garraway claiming that she has often spoken to shops about the options for girls and boys and yet the store management have claimed the reason that they do this is because this is what girls want. Well, I don’t think that is entirely true having watched this video.
My favourite part of the above video has got to be when Daisy sneakily says to her Mum behind the camera; “I think girls want to be heroes and explorers too, so I’m going to go and put some in the girls section!” Yet, this comes with an after-thought of; “but why should she have to?!”
Young girls and their parents clearly want more equality amongst the girls and boys clothing available to them and if the evidence found after the experiment in the school used in the Channel 4 documentary is similar to that across the country and indeed across the globe, then making these changes and treating boys and girls equally from day one, will mean a change in how they respond to each other later on in life.
One company trying to make an impact is Scarf Monkey; “Inspirational designs for aspirational girls.” It is a new business trying to make a big change to the girls clothing market. It’s founder Emma, became annoyed at the limited clothing options for her daughter that would appeal to her feisty and outgoing nature, that weren’t all pink, tell her she was beautiful or have pictures of kittens on them. So she decided that if the stores were not going to provide them, that she would just create them herself and that was when Scarf Monkey was born.
The idea behind Scarf Monkey is this:
“We think kittens and princesses are great! But we also think girls should be able to wear other things too: Instead of kittens, why not tigers? Instead of unicorns, why not dragons? Instead of glittery stars and love hearts, why not spaceships and astronauts? For us it’s all about choice, more choice for more girls.”
The slogan is a great one. T-shirts that inspire girls to be what they aspire to be. They have girls shaped t-shirts meaning that they can feel comfortable in their clothing rather than being swamped by the unflattering shape of a boys cut. They have t-shirts in all in different colours, including pink but also funky orange and yellow ones, cool green and blue options and shades of grey, black and white. The colour is up to them, as is the design. If they are wild at heart, into animals or see themselves as the next great zoologist, the animal collection is for them. If your daughter, niece, cousin or friend is out of this world or wants to reach for the stars and explore the planets then the space station collection is ideal. Whether they are into karate, football, dance or skateboarding, they can find something they will like in the sports field collection. There really is something for everyone. Plus the company tries hard to make sure that they look after the environment as much as possible, making it an even better source from which to buy from.
Watching Emma make the t-shirts, it’s not hard to see the heart and soul she puts into them. Each t-shirt is designed and printed by her and each one has gone through a meticulous trial and error period to make sure that the t-shirts are to the highest possible standard. No t-shirt will be sent if it is not 110% right and Emma has such a passion for this project that I guarantee that you will receive the best possible service.
When it comes to gender equality, an individual’s response to the way society thinks may seem like a drop in the ocean, yet one person can inspire another, change the way they think, or the clothes they buy and in turn, their young girls might just change the way they think about themselves.
If we can send confident young girls to school each day, then those confident young girls will become confident women who can send themselves on any path they choose.
Click the following links to find out more about Scarf Monkey:
Click the Scarf Monkey logo above to head to the Website!
Click above to go to their Facebook page
Click above to go their Instagram page
©Scarf Monkey (Copyright for heading photo also goes to ©Scarf Monkey)