Welcome to my new feature!
I’ve been thinking for a while that, whilst I love writing my blog posts as lists of ten, sometimes the things I want to say don’t fit that format or they don’t allow me to rant say as much as I like. So today I’m launching Number 11 as the place where I can go off-piste, free myself from the list and we can all get to know each other a little better.
Without further a-do today’s Number 11 post is in response to two things that happened this week that inspired and uninspired me about the world my daughter is growing up in and the role she’s expected to play in society.
The first thing, was THAT Gap Kid’s advert. I’m not going to go into detail about said advert because quite frankly I think they’ve had enough free publicity from it. But suffice to say, according to them, Ivy will not be a genius because she didn’t happen to be born with her genitals hanging between her legs. I blame her father – he provided the second X chromosome.
The second was an amazing exhibition I went to on Friday night by Grrrl Power Liverpool – a new women’s art collective that wants to readdress the gender inequalities in contemporary art, literature and music. Friday was the launch of their first exhibition all about showcasing women’s creativity and answering the question – Women:where do you see yourself in the arts?
I should say at this point I have a vested interest in all this as I wrote one of the Flash Fiction pieces that formed part of the exhibition. It was a big moment for me as it’s the first piece of fiction I’d put in public for about ten years. But the thing that really caught my eye was a quote from one of the artists – Jennifer Campbell – in the accompanying ‘zine which said:
“I am at school, thirty years ago, dropping art because it’s a waste of subject for a clever girl like me.”
It was then that I realised that what really annoyed me about the Gap advert and the whole ‘girls are pink princesses, boys are blue pirates’ stuff was that we always seem be told we can only be one thing. Clever OR artistic. Brave OR beautiful. Princess OR pirate. Why do they and we have to choose? Why can’t we be anything and everything at the same time? They’re not contradictions they’re just things. Things we enjoy, things we’re good at, things that make us tick.
A while ago I wrote the Child ten (obvs) pieces of advice for the future. One of them was not to let her ego be flattered into making choices that weren’t right for her. And that’s what this is about. Telling someone they shouldn’t do something because they’re too clever, too artistic or too beautiful isn’t fair. It shuts them off from so many things that have the potential to make them happy.
And so, I think it’s time we celebrated that people can be more than one thing by sharing the photos that show our children (girls and boys), ourselves and anyone else for that matter being more than one thing. If you want to join in please share your photos on Instagram using #morethanonething (you can follow me as well if you like) or on my Facebook page.
I’ll go first with this photo, which shows the Child as a princess-fairy-dinosaur-explorer (her words).
I hope you’re share some photos even if it’s just as a f*** you to the marketing executives who think you can’t be a genius and a social butterfly.