“Mummy, Mummy! I just saw a lady riding a motorbike. Completely on her own!”
And these aren’t the only words that Ruby has said recently that make me wonder what is actually going on with the world?!
Why is it that what is absolutely nothing to me (of course a woman can ride a motorbike on her own!), is so shocking to my five year old daughter?
“That man is wearing a pink shirt.”
“Henry is playing with my dolls”
“I can’t play football, don’t be silly”
“That is not for me, it’s for a boy!”
I have always tried to avoid gender stereotypes with both of my children, but never made a big deal of it. I put Ruby in babygrows with colours that are traditionally thought of as ‘boys colours’, I buy Henry dolls because he likes them, I let Ruby run around in the mud, climb trees and razz around on her bike. Because that is what she enjoys doing!
I work. Pretty much full time. I worked all the way through both of my hyperemesis-filled pregnancies. I walk into male-dominated property industry meetings every day and smash them. I love football and rugby. And so does my husband. He works full time. We share chores (granted, I do most of the housework) and he cooks and takes care of both of them just as much as I do.
So why is it that she still has a warped view of what it is to be female?
Is it in-built? Is it people at school?
It certainly doesn’t come from me, or from any of our family members – two of her wonderfully clever, talented and totally empowered Aunties bought the same book for her for Christmas – “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”.
Showing me that they share my desire to raise Ruby knowing that being female is more than fluff and flounce, more than giggles and boys, more than having babies and keeping house.
Not that any of those things are bad. Quite the opposite in fact. Anyone who knows me knows that. Nothing is better than getting dressed up and going out for drinks and giggling with your girls!
But I want her to grow up knowing that to be female is to be strong. To be miraculous. To be brave.
To be anything she wants to be and do absolutely anything that she wants to do.
So when she says things like she said this morning about the woman riding the motorbike, I will always turn back and tell her exactly this:
Yes, Ruby. Women can do anything they want to do. We are amazing.
And we truly are.