Playing with my 3 year old little girl and her Peppa Pig figures I watch first in amusement, then in horror as she insists that Peppa needs rescuing from the dragon by her little baby brother. When I try to turn it around and tell her that Peppa is quite capable of rescuing herself, she says no and proceeds to get George to rescue her. I try again with Peppa rescuing her brother and whatever I do it returns to Peppa needing rescuing and leaves me pondering where I am going wrong in my mission to raise feminist children.
At only three it’s innocent play though isn’t it? but is it? Or is it proof that we still have a long way to go. As obviously the hard work we are putting in at home is being wiped out by the sexist stereotypes she is being fed from somewhere, but where? Maybe it’s actually watching Peppa and if there was ever a good reason to stop watching the annoying little pig, it’s this!
In our house both her and her brothers have a choice in their toys. Her favourite colour is currently pink, but by her choice, she wears as much blue as she does that colour. There are no obvious stereotypes with me and her dad both working, both doing housework, both cooking and her brothers helping out too.
We have open discussions on sex and sexuality, living in a pretty diverse family. And they know that I go to the gym not to change how I look, but to feel strong and healthy.
In recent days I have found myself scouring the books we read with them. But since watching the shocking video – The Ugly Truth About Children’s Books. If you haven’t watched it, you must! I’ve been really aware of the books we share together!
Whilst wearing my feminist t-shirt today, the 7 year old asks me what a feminist is. I tell him it is about boys being treated the same as girls and he just says ‘oh’ like it shouldn’t even be an issue and it shouldn’t and I wish it wasn’t. He asks a bit more and I show him this video and I think he understands it a bit better.
So I will continue to challenge the stereotypes I see in my everyday life and in my role as a mother to my children. As that, to me, is the most important thing I can do. Raising my boys and girl to know they can be anything they want to be, to respect themselves and each other.
And maybe, most importantly, I will continue to tell my little girl, so that she knows, that Peppa or any other girl/women does not need a man to save her. She is quite capable of doing it all by herself!