Gendering the moon…

As the nights get colder, I start a quest to find E a pair of pyjamas with long sleeves. It’s  quest because the shops of Nottingham appear to be catering purely for fans of Frozen.

Now let’s start with a disclaimer. I have seen Frozen. I enjoyed Frozen. In the main, I enjoy Disney movies. I do not, however, really understand the hype over Frozen. Yes, it was ok, but the snowman was annoying, I don’t remember any of the songs and it’s not as good as Beauty and the Beast. And let’s be clear. It’s not about female empowerment. The only way it’s about female empowerment is if you have the boundaries of femininity marked out by the limited parameters of Disney movies. Woo – they don’t get married at the end! It must be a feminist movie! Well no. For a start, one of them wants to get married and is only put off by the bloke being a nasty piece of wet lettuce-ness. And second, they are still princesses with their lives marked out by being princesses and having absolutely no independence and control over their lives. It’ll be about female empowerment when one of them kicks the bloody snowman’s head off with her DMs and runs off to make her own way in the world, her way.

Anyway, my actual problem with Frozen is that E wasn’t bothered by watching it. I sat her down, and she paid absolutely no attention to it at all. S and I watched it, she wandered off. The only thing she’s ever watched with attention on TV is the adaptation of her favourite book, Room on the Broom. She’s seen some of the Little Mermaid this week and likes the mer people but only for about 10 minutes before she gets bored. So why should she have PJs with Frozen characters on? She won’t like them.

I did manage to track some down after a week’s worth of wandering round the shops. They have pink on them but TBH finding something not pink and not Frozen is probably asking for the moon on a stick. Which brings us to the next thing.

Now E is in her big bed, I thought she might like to have a lamp in her room, for when she’s a bit bigger and wants to play in the mornings or something. Looking for children’s lamps means you come face to face with a lot of unnerving creatures with bulbs inside them – their faces would induce nightmares in adults, let alone small folk. And then I found a lovely small moon lamp. It was supposed to be like the moon – with craters on and everything. It was a reasonable price. I was about to click Buy when I noticed the description: Space mad boys will love this cool nightlight and probably some of the Dads too. 

Really? Just the space mad boys? And their dads? Is that because little girls don’t look up?

When did the moon become a boys-only thing?

I realise this was one website, one tiny independent seller trying to make a living. (And because I liked the light and hated the other options I have bought it but included a disappointed note). But really, it’s little things like this that reflect a wider problem. The wider problem of not having enough women going into science and technology industries. Many people will be like me and send feedback and ignore crap like this but not everyone will. Some girls (and their parents) will worry about how it looks to others that their girl likes the moon or dinosaurs or pirates or reading or any of the things that E likes at the moment. (My mother, in buying more PJs for E for Christmas found some lovely dinosaur ones that were marketed as being for boys. She too sent them a disappointed note. If we have to, my family will change this shit one email at a time. But it really shouldn’t be necessary. It’s 2014, doncha know.)

Anyway I wish to finish this blog post on a positive note. Here’s a picture of some space scientists recently celebrating a successful rocket launch to Mars:

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

This entry was posted in Feminism, Observations and general nonsense, Parenting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gendering the moon…

  1. Charlotte says:

    I am the mother of a boy and my theory on this is that there are just so many motifs and ‘sales pitches’ if you will for knick-nacks for little girls that retailers cast around for something sufficiently masculine to sell. My mother does custom embroidery on towels and such and has a terrible time coming up with things for boys, all the while doing a brisk trade in hearts, flowers, ponies, fashion stuff, lace… I don’t agree with it, but I have at least seen the other side through her. She embroiders dolls and felt compelled to offer a monster for the boys, I asked why she doesn’t just offer a boy doll and it’s because she can’t find a suitable “blank” (industry term). Put another way, I think that retailer might just be seeking parity in the wrong way.

  2. Pingback: A moon update and further reflections | You can lead a body to motherhood…

  3. Nyika Suttie says:

    They seem to have added an “and girls” now!

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