Can’t unsee it

A bit of a philosophical post today. If you’ve read any posts on here, you’ll know that i’m a loud and proud feminist! (yep, regardless of ALL the connotations that word has… I DON’T CARE)

I have two sons and as a result, I rail against gender based marketing of toys and books and against gendered educational options.

I identify as a cis-woman, so of course I’ve had sexist comments thrown my way, and been affected by sexism in general.

However, I live in Aotearoa, and it is really a wonderful country. When reading some of the stories on the Everyday Sexism project, I sigh, I yell, but then I quietly say to myself, “thank goodness I live here, it’s better here”.

Yes, I know I am talking from my own privileged, somehow miraculously LUCKY perspective! However, I do feel that when you read a story like “I was attacked on a [form of public transport] and no one did anything”, I really really hope that the decent kiwi people that live here would do something. (Of course the popularity of @nzsexism really tries hard to burst my happy little bubble and I am in NO WAY minimising any New Zealand experiences at all!)

So, this is why I’m waxing philosophical this morning. Some “small” incidences I’ve noticed today have really reminded me that we have to remain ever vigilant, and we have to help everyone “see” sexism. Because once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.

Last night on One Network News, this short clip about the Black Sticks (New Zealand’s women’s hockey team) being confirmed for the Commonwealth Games started with a FASHION SHOOT, and the 1:49 clip had a whole 35sec of their new outfits and how it was important that the players had input in the attire!! The clip on the Crusaders (regional men’s rugby team) did not mention their clothing at all.

Then this morning, at a local Warehouse, one that I had visited a few times before, I looked up and saw a big sign that said “Boy’s Toys” and another that said “Girl’s Toys” – at least their online categories don’t have that!

Of course, the Warehouse is merely a retailer, the manufacturers have already created this false divide and packaged some toys pink and others blue (urgh) but the Let Toys be Toys do show us that sometimes retailers can reorder the toys in a different way regardless of what packaging the manufacturers have put them in.

So, sorry my long suffering husband, I cannot help but sigh about half the hockey story being taken up by their clothes. Or by the fact that the captain felt she had to have full makeup on to be interviewed.

Sorry toy retailers, you cannot keep forcing our girls to play with dolls and our boys to play with guns.

And please, spread the word!

PS: If you want to hear more come to NetHui NZ 2014 and let’s chat about it!