Yesterday my 5 year old boy and I were walking down the toothbrush aisle trying to pick out a toothbrush for him. This took somewhat of a long time as there was a lot of toothbrushes to look at. “I don’t want a pink one” he stated, inspecting the Hello Kitty brushes, “They are for girls!”. “Or for boys who like Hello Kitty”, I told him, as he picked up a Spiderman brush and we went to pay. It made me think of when he was at nursery two years earlier and when prompted to pick a sticker for doing something good he picked a Hello Kitty one instead of a Ben 10. His key-worker was almost apologetic when telling me he had the choice and he had picked it himself. It wasn’t strange at all, he liked cats, he had never seen Ben 10. Back then pink and blue didn’t matter so much. But now it clearly does, and I find it that as a mother of two boys I really need to try hard to make them see that life shouldn’t be this pink/blue divide, where boys go out and do action filled jobs and girls stay home by the poolside or go shopping, as so much toys will tell us they do.
Therefor I was extremely happy this morning to read that Lego are doing a set of female scientists figurines, and as you can see from the box it isn’t blue or pink, hopefully encouraging both boys and girls to play with them. I will make a point of buying these to add to my boy’s ever growing Lego collection.
Because I don’t see why they shouldn’t play with girl figures. I used to play with the more gender-less looking Lego of the 80′s, pretending that the astronauts where both men and women characters.
I believe that awareness starts at the grassroot level and that it is oh so important to let kids be kids and not force them into gender stereotypes straight away. My boys will know that it is OK to play with Hello Kitty or My Little Pony if they would want to. But more important than that, they will know that women are not just there to be pretty on Action Man’s arm (are there even any women in Action Man’s world?) Girls should grow up knowing that they could enter the world of science if they want to, and boys should grow up knowing that women in the science world is not something odd. One day I like for there to not be such a thing as a women scientist, she would simply just be referred to as a scientist.
A few years ago I wrote this blog for Huffington Post about Ada Lovelace, the first ever programmer who also happens to be a woman. This blog was written for Ada Lovelace day, a day where we celebrate women in science and technology. I also made this video of my son, then 3 years old where I told him about Ada Lovelace day. Today when I saw the Lego news I wanted to link to the video on Twitter so I looked it up on Youtube, and I was quite surprised to see it had two thumbs down. I mean the video has only had 68 views, yet two of these have gone in and bothered to press thumbs down. On a video of a 3 year old boy and his mum talking about a woman in science. I find this all rather depressing. When will misogynistic trolls stop hating on social media? Well stupid question I guess, but in a world where people who campaign for women on money get rape and death threats you can see something is needed to be done. So think about that next time you go past the pink and blue toy aisles. Just let toys be toys, and let kids dream about becoming whatever they want be that a scientist an astronaut a programmer or a housewife.