Today we vote because a hundred years ago women shouted, fought, chained themselves to things and went to prison for it. There is a thumping irony that this is the day I noticed something that might have made them frown.
When I’d done a double-take and picked my jaw off the floor, I returned to take the picture. It’s currently going viral on Twitter, getting caught up with hashtags like #everydaysexism and being retweeted by a lot of people who are just as angry as I am (as I write this, Twitter has told me I am trending in London). Who said we are in a post-feminist age?
Let’s just look at that picture more closely. Obviously the colours are different. But it works on a deeper and more insidious level than that. The font for the boys is businesslike: it’s not quite Times New Roman or American Typewriter (maybe some of you font-spotters can identify it?), but it shouts with all its serif might that it’s a no-nonsense font saying down-to-earth things. The girls get a cursive font that practically giggles behind its hand. Boys are in charge, going places. Girls are both ‘little’ and apparently delicious.
I’m not going to start on their ignorance of possessive apostrophes. My blood pressure can only go so high today. There was no third option, in yellow or green or some other neutral colour. I am leaving aside the whole issue of putting your child on a leash in the first place.
This is not what the suffragettes had in mind for our bright, articulate, funny girls who like to run and climb and shout. What about boys who like pink and cooking? What are we saying to them? I think sexism in marketing, especially to children, is getting worse. I don’t remember such a pink/blue divide when I was growing up. For god’s sake, we’re going the wrong way.
Last year I blogged about the sexism we feed our children in the form of the fridge magnet words we allow them to use, called ‘Words for girls and words for boys’. I keep hoping things are moving on. I keep getting disappointed.
I’m going to call them out on it, every time. Have you voted?