3 articles Tag male

Your Baby is an Amorphous Lump (and Other Reasons to Stop Getting Offended)

genderless-babyIf there’s one thing which really boils my piss it’s the whole ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’ thing. I’m sure there’s some sort of societal explanation for why it’s so ingrained in our minds, but it’s something which seems more prevalent than ever – I spend a fair amount of time browsing Facebook groups and the amount of times I see people asking if anyone is selling a “baby walker for a girl” or whether it’s acceptable to put a girl in a red pushchair or a boy in a purple pushchair just drives me mental.

We were in Waitrose yesterday buying glue for my cousin who was doing an art project for college and my girls noticed that there were glues which were ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’. I was pretty proud when Sausage scoffed at the idea of gendered glue, and I’ll tell you what I told them: Unless you need a penis or a vagina in order to operate something, it’s NOT exclusively for one gender. If you want blue glue, having a foof DOESN’T preclude you from buying said glue.

All of this brings me to something else I saw today in another Facebook group (STOP JUDGING ME). A lady mentioned that her and her Husband were talking about what their baby son would look like in a dress, so they bought him one in the Tesco sale for a bit of a giggle and then posted the pictures for us to see. I had to giggle at the comments below – people seemed genuinely surprised that this lovely little boy looked…LIKE A GIRL. Yep. Dressing a baby in a dress made him look like a girl. Shock. I think the woman and her Husband are pretty awesome and it made a point so succinctly.

Let me let you in on a little secret: your baby is an amorphous lump. Generally speaking, unless you know what it is, it doesn’t often look like a boy OR a girl. This is why it is absolutely ridiculous when people are offended by people mis-gendering their child. Yes, I get that dressing them in blue or pink is a handy way to indicate what they are but A) why does it matter how people interpret your baby’s gender and B) WHY DO YOU CARE IF THEY GET IT WRONG?!

Sausage was our first baby and as such was bought a whole ton of girly stuff by both us and well meaning relatives. I remember finding it infuriating that I’d have her dressed head to toe in pink but old people would still refer to her as “he” and I’d be thinking “BUT SHE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL!”. But did she? Did she REALLY? Defining features are absolutely unapparent on MOST babies and I guarantee if we’d have dressed her head to toe in boys clothes, people could just have easily identified her as a boy.

With BB, we were far less strident about plastering her in pink. BB is a really different creature to her big sister and has always been super physical, and the sad fact is that a lot of baby clothes from the girls sections just aren’t geared towards girls who run around and dig in the mud, whereas boys clothes are a lot more forgiving. Equally, last summer when we wanted to get her some shorts for running around in, the only ones we could find which weren’t pretty, lace-edged impractical things were a pair of grey jersey shorts from the boys range in H&M. She’s been called a he a fair few times and I don’t even correct people now because it simply doesn’t matter.

All I’m saying is, while you may look at your little darling and think they’re the most handsome/prettiest creature ever born, a random onlooker very likely just sees BABY. Not Baby Boy or Baby Girl. JUST BABY. Don’t be offended when they get it wrong, it’s a waste of your energy and if you think about it, it’s really not all that offensive anyway. Use your energy more wisely…like, spending it looking for clothes which are green, purple, yellow, red or white…all colours which I suspect are yet to have been pigeonholed!

The Continued Emasculation of Daddy Pig

The Continued Emasculation of Daddy Pig

Having two kids with a 5 and and half year age gap means that I’m suffering enjoying a lot of the same programmes a second time around, and BB is at that age where EVERYTHING must be Peppa Pig (save for a couple of times a week when she takes a brief foray into Topsy and Tim, her previous programme du jour). This means that, during the week, Peppa is usually on in the backgroud for much of the late morning/early afternoon period while I work and do housework and BB mills around doing what it is that toddlers do (picking her nose and sticking stickers on my furniture, mostly).

Watching the same episodes of Peppa over and over again means that you notice certain things and one of those things is what I like to call “The Emasculation of Daddy Pig”. See, there seems to be a running theme in Peppa; Daddy is a bit useless and is fair game for mockery. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of banter (HASHTAG BANTZ), but he seems to really get the rough end of the deal, and it’s got to a point where it’s verging on misandry. Jokes are made about Daddy Pig that no-one would DARE make about Mummy Pig because it would have people getting into an Everyday Sexism frenzy…so, let’s take a look at what those episodes might look like…

Mummy’s Fat Tummy

Everyone decides (after years of mockery) that Mummy Pig needs to get off of her fat arse and lose some weight, so Daddy Pig forces her to do exercise videos and go on bike rides (on a bike which is dangerously small for her). Everyone is waiting at home to take the piss out of how unfit she is.

Mummy Fucks Up The DIY

Daddy Pig has an important meeting to go to, so he asks Mummy Pig to hang a painting. Of course, Mummy is a hapless fuckwit and manages to knock a whole load of plaster off of the wall. She’s terrified that Daddy Pig will have a shit-fit at her when he gets home so she quickly re-renders the wall before he gets there. Once he gets home, he takes over because he’s obviously so much more capable than her and puts the painting up with a single flick of a hammer.

Mummy’s a Greedy Bitch

The whole family visits the supermarket to buy lots of healthy things off of their list. When they get to the checkout, they realise that Mummy Pig has put a chocolate cake on the conveyor belt and although they all agree that Mummy is a greedy, ‘naughty’ bastard, they all let her have it anyway (despite the fact that she’s clearly the main breadwinner and as such can buy whatever the fuck she wants).

Mummy Pig Doesn’t Speak French

Peppa gets a phone call from her French pen-pal and despite claiming she can speak French, Mummy Pig isn’t able to communicate with Delphine and, in fact, doesn’t even recognise that she’s speaking a foreign language in the first place, declaring it all to be “nonsense” and revealing herself to be a braggart who lacks any form of common sense or intelligence.

Now, I’m just going to put this out there; if ANY of these episodes were real and this kind of mockery, fat-shaming and stereotypical sexist bullshit was aimed at Mummy Pig, there would be OUTRAGE. But, because Daddy Pig is only a man, it’s okay to disregard his feelings and bully him on a daily basis, because don’t be silly, men don’t have feelings!

The worst part is, Peppa Pig was created and is written by TWO MEN! That leads me to one of two conclusions – either Mark Baker and Neville Astley are weird, self-hating males who think it’s okay to deride their own gender OR they think that they’re somehow appealing to the common housewife who obviously hates men. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with either conclusion, if I’m honest. I want my girls to grow up knowing A) everyone has different strengths, regardless of their gender and B) bullying people based on archaic, clichéd notions is just wrong.

I’d love to know what you think about this. Am I reading far too much into Peppa bloody Pig and need to seriously get a life? Or is this something which gets on your teats as much as it does mine? Leave me a comment below.

What Men Want – International Edition

I was looking at a website recently which makes magazines available for download, issues from far flung lands that you wouldn’t be able to buy on British shelves and a certain percentage of those magazines are what you’d call ‘Lad’s Mags’. Whilst I’m in full support of the ‘No More Page 3‘ campaign, as I feel that bare boobs have no place in a mainstream newspaper, my feeling is that there’s a time and a place for topless modelling and a magazine aimed at 16-35 year old men is definitely it.

But I digress.

As I was scrolling through the pages of the website, I noticed that there was a distinct difference in what is considered ‘beautiful’ in different parts of the world. It got me thinking about how perceptions change when you factor in cultural influence and how it affects people’s attitudes, especially towards women. I also wonder if culture has more to do with it in the respect of what passes for common decency and what people will display on their shelves.

England

What do you see when you look at these covers? BOOOOOBS!

There’s clearly a trend in the UK at the moment for large breasts, full, pouty lips, a shit-load of make-up and long locks cascading over shoulders. Meh, what’s new? But what I do find alarming (and call me a hairy-armpitted feminist if you like) is the fact that the woman on the cover of the Summer Special doesn’t even have a face. The message that sends to me is “It doesn’t matter what her face is like, as long as she has tits like over-inflated zeppelins”. In fact, it’s not even that it doesn’t matter if she has a face, it’s that she patently doesn’t NEED one (although they do let you see just enough to ascertain that she has massive lips).

India

Here, we see something completely different. Both women are more demurely covered and clearly have natural breasts and lips. They both look like normal-sized women and are wearing fairly minimalist make-up. The woman in the orange exudes strength and is wearing shorts rather than skimpy knickers, while the woman in white looks rather more innocent.

Far East 

The covers in this section come from Japan and the Philippines and show something else altogether. I ummed and ahhed about including Esquire as it’s a slightly different class of magazine, but it still features a woman on the front who’s an example of desirability. The FHM cover is not wholly dissimilar to an FHM cover that you’d see in the UK, except it features Asian woman. Now, (and excuse the sweeping generalisation here) Asian woman often have a smaller frame than us Western gals and in turn have smaller breasts, so it’s interesting to see that none of the women here appear to have breast augmentations, or if they do they’re extremely subtle and certainly not out of keeping with their actual frames.

Last year, The Guardian reported that in 2011, over 10,000 women went under the knife in the UK to have breast implants, and although Japan ranked 6th in the world for cosmetic proceedures, most of them are liposuction or non-surgical proceedures. It’s also worth noting that British women have the largest breasts in Europe a well as the highest obesity rate.

There seems to be an element of dehumanisation with the UK covers – the women have been chopped and augmented to fit a certain ideal and they’re held up as faceless objects, rather than people to be admired. Both magazines fixate on breasts, or breast size more accurately, leaving little wonder as to why so many young girls feel the need to have implants. If this is what they see on our shelves, touting itself as an authority on what young men find attractive, what chance to us girls have?

The Indian and Far Eastern covers aren’t afraid to show women as they are (although there’s obviously the obligatory airbrushing) and whilst I’m not saying that either place is without it’s issues when it comes to the treatment of women, I do wonder how much damage this obsession with ‘unnatural’ beauty is doing to us as a nation?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. What do you see when you look at these photos?