Number 11 -#morethanonething

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.

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  1. Ack, I hate gender stereotyping. My daughter loves dinosaurs and legos and is smart and active. My son loves wearing tiaras and necklaces and will sit quietly (for a short time) to read books. I’m so glad there are people out there making big companies accountable for their actions in perpetuating these stereotypes! Also love the quote from the exhibition you attended Susan Treharne. Invokes great emotion.
    Tori @ The Mama Nurse

    • Thank you. I think it’s always a shame when the opinion of someone like a teacher or parent can taken your life in a completely different direction then you wanted. I hope my daughter knows to stay true to what she loves regardless of what a few ‘important’ people may think.

  2. I love the idea of a princess-fairy-dinosaur-explorer! I also love the #morethanonething idea – I have a post in mind about gender stereotyping after coming across some truly horrible little girl’s clothes in a shop the other day, and I could possibly tie it in with your hashtag (though I’m not in Instagram). #DreamTeam

  3. carolcliffe

    I love the idea of Grrrl power, and congratulations for having a piece published there. But biggest congratulations for voicing the concept that you can be more than one thing. It’s brilliant! That you can be clever and sporty or artistic or whatever, is as important as the gender stereotype issue.#KCACOLS

  4. catherine@pushingthemoon

    I remember when Grrrrl Power was a thing back in the early 90s.

    That GAP advert really angered me when I saw it. My daughter will be whatever the hell she wants to be – and today that just happens to be a ballerina knight in shining armour. #BloggerClubUK

  5. I am with you there re the GAP advert. This angered me so much! I have a little girl and people are forever saying how boyish she will be because of her brother and I want to scream…why can’t she like buses and cars and still like dolls too? I want to let her be who she is 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam xx

  6. It is all so arbitrary. I have to admit when my daughter was younger I was very anti-princess but she still fricking loves them so I’ve just learnt to go with it. She also likes dinosaurs which is much more up my street so we have some common ground at least!

  7. Ky

    Love this! I have a little girl, who happens to not have a lot of hair. The other day someone commented on why had I dressed my son in a pink sundress. When I replied he was actually a she, all they said was poor thing! I almost went off at them but decided to leave it. So what if she had been a boy in a pink sundress. It shouldn’t matter. She loves dinosaurs, cars and dolls. #dreamteam

  8. I think everyone should be a Princess-fairy-dinosaur-explorer at some point! As a female mechanical engineer I feel your frustration – I will be raising Piglet to know that boys and girls can do whatever it is they want! #KCACOLS

  9. My son has been drawn to the cars that we bought for my daughter that never got played with, why? I don’t know. But on the other hand, he’s also very happy to dress up in all her dress up clothes…fairies, witches and princesses! I say go with the flow…

  10. A brilliant post, this. Well said! Yes, it’s ok if your daughter plays with cars. Or your son likes to help in the kitchen. Boys can cry too and girls can enjoy climbing trees! Gender doesn’t and shouldn’t define us, or limit us.

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