Family

Stereotypes “Nul Point”!

Eurovision-Song-Contest-2014-badge

So Eurovision came … and went.  But not before making a bit more noise than usual!

Yup, Conchita CAME – complete with beard, SAW a lot of love in the room and CONQUERED for Austria!

120 million watched her triumph.   And I couldn’t have been more thrilled for her!  Or me.

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Her win came at the end of a week when I’d found myself  completely disenchanted with gender stereotyping and an apparent lack of empathy for anyone who doesn’t fit in “the box” – no pun intended!

I’d seen THAT story – about Romeo Clarke – the 5 year old boy in the UK who likes wearing princess dresses.  Which is cool – but for the fact that his penchant for pink saw him banned from his local playgroup.  Apparently his mum Georgina was told it was “upsetting and confusing for the other children” but was assured that Romeo would be welcomed back “when he wears clothes which match his gender”!

*tries to stay calm

Seriously, this story couldn’t have made more more RAGEY!

But my initial feelings were nothing compared to how I felt upon reading through comments on the story.  Over 500 opinions and, ready to hear supportive parents unleashing their views in support of Romeo and his mum, I scrolled through. Yes, views were being unleashed but they weren’t the views I expected!

Social services need to get involved

This boy should be removed from his mother

Letting a boy wear dresses is tantamount to child abuse”

I was FUMING, not to mention nervous for my own son and the expectations on his tiny shoulders.  When did we become so bigoted?  Who CARES what a child wants to wear or play with?  Surely happiness is King – or Princess!  I’m sure the reaction would have been infinitely different had it been a GIRL wearing a firefighter or pirate outfit so where’s the difference?  It’s a ridiculous double standard and it’s WRONG.

My children will grow up wearing what they want and becoming the person they were naturally born to be. FACT.

It’s my job as a parent to let them grow into the person THEY are – not impose out-dated gender stereotypes on them and squeeze them into straight jackets created by society.  I want my daughter to be able to embrace all things “boy” – and vice versa for my son.

In Conchita’s own words  “It’s all the same, at the end of the day, how you look or where you come from, because the only thing that counts is the person you are.”   I can only imagine the tough journey she must have walked to reach THAT Eurovision stage.

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LOVED this picture in The Daily Mail of massive and, crucially, supportive crowds awaiting her return to her homeland.  Imagine how emotional she must have felt given that,  just this year, a petition was circulated throughout Austria to try and prevent her from representing the country in the contest!

There’s a wonderful blog by an American mum called Lori Duron Raising My Rainbow “Adventures in Raising a Fabulous – Gender Creative Son”.  Totally inspirational and well worth a read.

One of my wonderful blogger friends, Mummy Barrow, recently posted a Dr Seuss quote on her site and it couldn’t be more appropriate:

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One of the comments on the Romeo story made the point “it’s too early to know who this child will turn out to be….” and that’s true, as it is of all children.

But I can tell you one thing.   I may not know yet WHO my children will be, but I know exactly WHAT they’ll be…

LOVED and SUPPORTED – for the people they are.

End of.

 

K x

 

 

45 Comments

  • Reply Katy Hill and Blogging!Katy Hills Blog June 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    […] I blogged when I wanted to use my voice… […]

  • Reply Celebrating the Fresh Voice Final Six | Beautiful Misbehaviour May 26, 2014 at 7:57 am

    […] loved her post on Gender Sterotypes in relation to Conchita’s win at Eurovision  and her reaction to the ghastly Paperchase card she […]

  • Reply Mari May 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    The saddest thing is we have an awful long way to go before a situation like this is the norm and I hate to say that but the more I look at society around me I can see pockets of people that just can’t see that far. I guess it’s down to the few who can overlook to pave the way as usual and well done Conchita, totally deserved to win.
    As for Romeo, good that he has a clever mum who will help him and support him on his journey

    • Reply Katy May 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Im SO with you. And Romeo’s mum DOES sound fab x

  • Reply DannyUK May 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I’m often amazed by the reaction to some things. The amount of times I have been convinced that the majority would feel the same way as me, only to then find that in fact I’m in the minority.

    Someone else once said that happens because it’s easy to be vocally opinionated if you’re against something, yet when you’re for something (or even if you have no opinion), you rarely raise your voice. Good for you for praising where it’s due.

    • Reply Katy May 17, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Thanks for commenting Danny. Liking that theory! X

  • Reply Jane @ northernmum May 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Belting post Katy, I was outraged by the story of the boy – is scary to think these perceptions still exists all around us.

    • Reply Katy May 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks! I think that’s why I felt so blindsided by the reactions to his story – I thought we’d progressed more as a society than we clearly have! X

  • Reply Emma cavill May 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Love this post. I have two boys and really try to give them opportunities to play with the socially stereo typed “girls” toys, although they do really prefer cars and tractors! That said they do love a pretty pink pushchair that they play with at grandmas! My proudest moment was when my 3 year old fed a teddy bear by lifting his Tshirt like mummy does with his baby brother 😉

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      That’s SO sweet! Love him! Xx

  • Reply Anonymous May 14, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I completely agree with you. I couldn’t care less, if the singer is wearing a ball gown and beard or if a little boy loves dressing up as Cinderella. What counts is that they’re happy doing what they’re doing. Who are we to judge?

  • Reply Otilia May 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I am really happy that Conchita won! Her voice was good but all at the same time her winning was a statement.
    Regarding the little boy…i am annoyed with that teacher too at the moment! and all those people that said that social services should be involved to take the child away from his mum. In my opinion his mum should be applauded for standing by her son and letting him BE. What are they going to say next? Girls should not be allowed to wear jeans and trousers? I mean seriously. Something will change with time bur at this point things like this upset me.

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Upsets me too and makes me sad that I thought we’d come further than we clearly have 🙁

  • Reply Ojo Henley May 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Totally agree with everything written. I will stand up and say: I find myself stereotyping my son’s, so they fit with society, and that makes me feel very sad indeed.

    On reading tweets and statuses, after Eurovusion, all I could think was……
    We have a LONG way to go.

    Great post x

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Ah – makes me sad when I feel myself doing it – just because I think it will make HIS life easier. And then I went with my instincts & went out and bought him a My Little Pony!

  • Reply Fromfuntomum May 14, 2014 at 7:13 am

    The problem with fender stereotipying is that adults ruin life for their own kids from an early age. I was in primary school with a real tomboy girl. All us kids had no problem with her dressing – no uniform in Italy – and dislike for pink, but her dad did. A lot. She only found freedom at 33 when she left town, moved in with her girlfriend and effectively divorced her dad. I feel sick to think of her journey there. I met her at 5 and it started even before! Us kids loved her for who she was, boys and girls, if only the adults could have learned from us! Wonderful post!!

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Ugh – see THATS why I love school uniforms! Totally agree – people who think they can dictate who their kids become are VERY deluded and just end up damaging them for later life 🙁

  • Reply Sonya Cisco May 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I totally missed Eurovision and all the associated hoo-hah! My best mates son had a thing for fairy dresses when he was small, he even asked to be my bridesmaid (we compromised on an Elvis jumpsuit complete with rhinestones!). He is now 19, and it has been a long while since I saw him in a tutu, but I hope his Mums and friends like me’s casual attitude to his dressing up help build his confidence and contributed to the lovely (and straight in case it needs mentioning – irrelevant to me, but I too saw some of the comments about the case you refer too!) man he has become. x

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

      I’m jealous of the jumpsuit! x

  • Reply Kate May 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    That quote is up in my classroom not only for me but for my children and parents to see too! I find it so hard to find non pink/purple packaged craft items that appeal to boys despite having two boys who love to craft but don’t like anything that looks too girly! There is too much gender stereotyping on packaging these days that it makes you worry what skills will be lost to boys as they grow up! My chaps love sewing, knitting, paper crafts etc but get put off by the packaging or the theme of the products inside. Someone could make a fortune making non-gender specific craft kits…. In our school the art teacher does a lot of textile projects and finds often boys haven’t ever held a needle and thread or know what yarn is compared to the girls. She finds that many Mums come to her asking for advice on kits and classes to do with the boys following her input as they enjoy it so much and she has very few recommendations yet go to the craft aisles in toy shops or craft superstores etc and there are a plethora of pink/purple/sparkly boxes with smiley girls on the front and the odd wooden plane kit in yellow on the bottom shelf ! It is chicken and egg with the consumer thing as mentioned above though!

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Interesting point on crafts – never clocked that before! Love that you have that quote up. Coolest teacher EVER! X

  • Reply Donna@MummyCentral May 13, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    My fondest memories of my sons’ playgroup was when my eldest performed in the nativity – and his best friend Ross insisted on being the Virgin Mary. The playgroup happily obliged and draped a sheet over his head as he rocked the baby Jesus doll in his arms. When my youngest attended, they had a pirates and princesses party, and happily welcomed a little boy who wanted to wear his big sister’s Disney Princess dress. Why not? Kids are pure-hearted at that age and why we have to impose our prejudices and gender issues on them, I have no idea!

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Love the sound of that play group! X

  • Reply Kate May 13, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I love that quote – have it on the wall of my classroom I refer both myself and the children to it at times!!!

  • Reply Emma May 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Here here Mrs, here here… Live and let live, that’s my motto in life. I wish a few more people would abide by it too xx

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Me too! X

  • Reply becky May 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    An important post Katy about letting out children be who they are and celebrating that. Well said you!

    • Reply Katy May 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Thanks x

  • Reply Mammasaurus May 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    IT does feel sometimes like the country has been issued with mandatory pairs of judgy pants, as you say why can’t people just support others instead of having to see the worst all the time?!
    And I say this weeks before Ozzy may be called to step in for a nervous Kitty as Flower Girl at a wedding…

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Go Ozzy! I love that! Xx

  • Reply Clare Goldsack May 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Here, here! X

  • Reply My Two Mums May 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    This is a fantastic post and one I can really relate to. I think society is far to obsessed with boxing people instead of allowing them to flow and be who they wish.

    If my son wishes for a princess dress one day, he will have one.

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      MINE TOO! x

  • Reply Theresa May 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

    My 7 year old son loves anything pink and glittery. His lego bedroom is adorned with every disney princess poster we can find, he has the complete set of my little pony dolls and his favourite thing at the moment is frozen, or more importantly Elsa. I’m sick of “aren’t you worried he will be gay” comments. I always tell all 4 of my boys “you can like what you like, if other people don’t like it then it’s up to them” .

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      LOVE the sound of his bedroom! He sounds amazing! Love that he’s exploring life & not conforming! X

  • Reply Franglaise Mummy May 13, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Exactly. It’s time to accept each other, adults or children for what we are/what we wear. Who are we to judge what makes someone happy? I was so impressed that my daughter’s Year 2 teacher recently did a session on breaking down gender stereotypes with their class that I blogged about it, I hate putting links in comments but in this case I hope you don’t mind:
    http://www.franglaisemummy.com/you-can-only-tell-a-boy-from-his-privates/

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 10:29 am

      LOVED that blog. You have the coolest teacher ever! Xx

      • Reply Franglaise Mummy May 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        Thank you lovely. Interestingly a friend’s school in France had a similar class which had to be stopped as parents complained. The reason why? It was teaching the children to be gay! The mind boggles!

        • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

          Wowzer! X

  • Reply Mummy Barrow May 13, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Oh Katy I don’t even know where to begin. I could go on for hours. Suffice to say I am standing right behind you cheering.

    Why can’t we just be happy for people? Why do we have shove them in a pigeon hole and insist they all fit a particular image? Isn’t that what Hitler tried to do?

    Well excuse me but I don’t buy into that. I just want people to be happy for other people to be happy.

    Conchita sang a great song. For that she deserved to win. Why are we now hung up on the fact she was born a man and happens to have a beard? And?

    She looks damn hot in a gold dress and she can belt out a cracking tune. That’s all that matters, surely.

    And if that means that one other little boy can put their hand up and say “mum, I quite like wearing dresses” or a little girl say “mum I want to live in jeans and sneakers, burn all my dresses” the hoorah for Conchita.

    Are we questioning Grayson Perry? Or Eddie Izzard? No we are not.

    I expect you hovered over that publish button for a long time this morning Ms Katy but by heck I am so pleased you wrote this and did hit publish.

    I promised I wouldn’t go on and I am now so I am going to shut the hell up.

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

      You are gorgeous. That. Is. All. Xx

  • Reply Verily Victoria Vocalises May 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Well-written and very well-said Katy. I watched Eurovision and loved every second of it! What I don’t get is that if a little girl touted a NERF gun and wore camouflage trousers (my daughter has both!) then noone would have batted an eyelid, yet a little boy wears a dress and there is a public outcry!! Ridiculous. And good on Conchita, what an amazing voice (although I wanted Iceland to win!). Look forward to seeing you at Britmums Live again (crossing fingers that it is on stage at the BiB awards for both of us!!).

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Agreed! And thanks so much lady – good luck to you too! X

  • Reply Pinkoddy May 13, 2014 at 9:51 am

    My 6 year old son read a really good book over Easter on this matter – The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams – written so well I read it myself in one morning. I’m a bit simple sometimes and it took me until reading to the end to even remember that David wears dresses (because it’s not that big a deal).

    • Reply Katy May 13, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Ooh – I’m SO ordering that book right now! Thanks for the tip! X

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