Are you surprised? Shocked? Horrified, even? Or do you think it’s great? Do you even care?
Alright, alright, enough with the questions.
I stumbled across a pretty blooming fabulous company last year when they were running a Kickstarter and absolutely HAD TO SHARE!
Gecko Clothing – at the time, they were trying to realise a dream with their business; making truly gender neutral clothing and, no, I don’t mean cream!
I mean science, space, nature – THINGS THAT ALL KIDS LIKE!!! Girl, boy (or unicorn); these themes weren’t chosen in a board room, but by speaking with actual children (and imaginative alter egos, of course)
It’s not that I think women shouldn’t be able to work, or vote, or anything else that they want to do, of course I don’t, it’s more that I’d love to live in the 50s and be an A-line dress wearing, pie baking, spotless-house keeping, domestic goddess (and what’s wrong with that?)
But when I got pregnant with my son, Harrison, I started to think back at all the sweeping statements I’ve previously made in jest (‘don’t mind me, boys, I shall get back to my kitchen’, ‘I couldn’t possible build this, I shall get a man to do it…ooh, and I’ll fix him a snack’, ‘I can cook and I can sew, what more do you want from me?’ [insert ironic fifties-eyeliner-flicked wink here])
Of course I was joking, but what would be the impact if I said that in front of my son? Would he know I was joking? Would he still see me as an intelligent, capable and strong woman? Would he expect his future partner to be like the real me or the jovial version of me in my jokes? And what would that make him?
That’s the thing about kids, they grow up! And, when they do, they play a part in how men and women are treated and viewed in society.
In an attempt to encourage Harrison to be whomever he wants to be, in an attempt to make my son look forward to fatherhood and being a loving, generous, well balanced husband, do I want to nurture the ‘typical boy’ who loves guns, war and violence? Or do I want to nurture the boy who enjoys playing the father to a child, the teacher at school, the nurse or the doctor?
Do I want to teach him that ‘real girls’ wear only pink, and dance, and play with make up? Or do I want to teach him that a ‘real girl’ can also be a Doctor, an Accountant, a Politician?
This brings me back to the Kickstarter that introduced me to Gecko. (Never mind the tangent)
They were looking to create TRULY gender neutral clothing, because kids shouldn’t be put in to boxes, they shouldn’t be told they can’t do things (I’m not talking running with scissors, folks), they should be allowed to explore EVERYTHING!!! Should be allowed to see EVERYTHING as a possibility! Girls shouldn’t be told they can’t play soldiers, and boys shouldn’t be told they can’t play house. You want to be a female soldier when you’re older? Go for it! You want to be a househusband? Good for you!
Do I want to put my son in to a box from which he can’t escape, and box up all other children with it, or do I want to smash those boxes in to little pieces and let him be whatever he wants to be, let him see that everyone can do anything they choose, regardless of gender?
I do believe I shall go for the latter and, in doing so, I shall support the goal, the vision and the ethics of this company.