Sunday, 9 December 2012

Stereotypes – there must be more to life

I attempted to buy a birthday card for a man this week. This particular man is not all that interested in football, cricket, beer or golf. Men come off very badly in the world of greeting cards. For women, there are more options, although there is a tendency to depict us as either cooking, drinking wine or shopping for shoes.

Why is there this reductionist attitude in the world of greeting cards? Even if we do like the activities assigned to us, the implication is that it is these that define us, and nothing else. In a truly equal world, where we acknowledged and respected the similarities and differences between sexes and individuals, surely the choices we go to make when we want to mark an event in the life of a loved one would not be restricted to such a limited list of hobbies which they may or may not share? 

Congratulations on your new arrival

‘New baby’ cards are even worse. Can it really only be pink or blue? Granted, the new child is only a few days old, so hasn’t yet had an opportunity to decide whether they favour football, golf or shoe-shopping as a leisure activity. The shape of their genitals is really the only defining feature about them at this stage of their life, so it's not unreasonable to focus on this with 'it's a girl/boy'. But as a girl who grew up loathing the colour pink, it just seems sad to colour-code children so early in life. Can’t we stick to expressing joy at their arrival and not assigning pastels to them? 

That’s not to say there should be no greetings cards depicting football, cricket, golf and beer, just an acknowledgement that there are a lot of men out there who aren’t interested in these things, or at least not just these things.

Brave new world

I want to live in a world which accepts that men are more than beer and cricket, that women aren’t just interested in shoes, and that a new baby is born into a world which will let him or her be whatever he or she wants to be, without making assumptions in the first days life.

1 comment:

  1. That these cards obviously sell well is testament to how very dull people are.