I’m staying with friends at the moment who have small children. There three year old daughter has got new lego which has both pink and purple bricks. I commented about this and another friend, moaned about the world being obsessed with making little girls into “pink princesses”. While I share this complaint, why is there so much obsession at the moment with pink and blue. being for girls and boys. The way I see it, having pink lego bricks, is saying you can be “girly” in a non traditional girl area. Maybe it helps us to remember that we don’t have to conform to the stero-types, we can twist them on there head, in this case by being girly but not being girly. Maybe in life we need to remember to subvert the status quo and say no we don’t have to conform to the boxes that others want us to be in, we can embrace stero-types when they are true of us, but go our own way at other times.
I need to rant somewhere, and what’s the point of a blog if I don’t use it for that purpose occasionally! There maybe more of these ranting blogs in November when they will be sparked by thoughts going into my novel!
Why are females taught from a young age to “act hopeless, flutter your lids and get a man to do it.” In other words be the damsel in distress, it is the way to go about life. We have it re-enforced in lots of both obvious and subtle ways. It’s in the stories that we hear as small children, sleeping beauty, snow white, you get the idea. Then as we get older we are introduced to chick lit, that genre that says the only way to be happy is to get your man, and that you have to act in a certain way for that to happen. It is re-enforced to us in lots of subtle ways that men are more important and that it’s their world and if we follow their rules we can also join it. We see men dominating politics, sport, business and lots of other worlds. If you ask a small child they will often assume that Doctors are men and nurses are women, which tells us a lot. If you grow up within certain parts of Christianity, questioning this becomes even more difficult because you can be made to feel like you are questioning God. It is selected what you are taught from the bible, and how it is taught. Women are seen as doing the caring, or flirting. They don’t get important roles, they should be silent, and as a female you can feel second class, but when you look more that’s not what is actually going on. However that’s how you can be made to feel, and if your not careful that can be used to stop you being who you are meant to be. Selected parts of the bible can be taken to make you feel that you should be and act a certain way, and others can misuse the bible to give them power over you. It’s time to reclaim the way that females are seen both in the world, and more importantly to ensure that Christianity doesn’t give anyone the excuse to force women to be who they are not, and ultimately stop the bible being misused in a way that is harmful.
Lots of things should be happening in my world, instead I am getting excited (and nervous) about NaNoWriMo 2010. I think I will be following the main character who grows up being expected to be a traditional girl, and how this is expected to carry on into adulthood, until she meets someone who makes her re-think her world. This has set me thinking about how much we are ever who we are because of who we are, and how much is because of those around us? For example I had had a few ideas bouncing around in my brain, but this wasn’t really one of them. But I had had a “interesting” chat with a friend recently about gender, and how we develop our concept of gender (and how that effects our theology, view of God etc.) Am I therefore being influenced by others, and how much are others just bringing to the surface things that are buried in me? It’s reminded me to be careful to ensure that I’m being true to me, and not allowing others to change me from who I am. In this case I decided that it was just reminding me of something that was important to me that had maybe been buried by a few other things. I partly came to this conclusion as when I started to outline my plot I realised that the main character was very loosely based on my childhood, and the character that makes her re-think her world is loosely based on my great-aunt. It will be interesting to see what happens when I start however loosely with real characters.
In other news I have my essay back (I was amazed at how quickly it was back) and I got a lot better mark than I expected.
There are lots of things in my world that are not as i would like them to be. I also have an essay that is refusing to behave. I have therefore started to thinking about NaNoWriMo mainly as a way to distract myself. Due to various conversations I am thinking about how girls learn about role models and what role models we are given. I was fortunate growing up to have amongst others a great-aunt who thought it was important for women to have strong female role models from history. I was talking to a six year old girl today about WWI and about people from all over the world fighting, and her comment was “but not girls, only men”. So I explained that mainly yes, but sometimes women fought to. I’m now letting the idea of women from history and how i’m going to make it in to a novel bouncy around in my brain.