This happened ages ago and I saved it in drafts, but kept putting off posting it. I don’t really know why. I think maybe because I felt I should expand it with explanations of the damage being done to both boys and girls by the gender imbalance in TV and film, but I think you probably all know about that already (if not, check out the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media).
Out for a walk the other day, I decided to ask Harry and Joe whether they thought boys were better than girls. You know, just as a conversation-starter. We’re really careful around gender issues at home and Harry picks up on a lot of things himself – just the other day, we were shopping and he said, “The boys clothes are all dark and dinosaurs and adventure and the girls are pink and sparkly and hearts. Why?” – so I was half expecting him to say “They’re both great!” or even “Boys are better at some things and girls are better at others” but no. He said, “Of course they are!”
Um. Pardon me?
“What makes you think that?” I asked, through gritted teeth.
“Er. Everything! Only hundreds of TV shows and films. And everything else!”
A-ha. “Like what? I mean, what on TV and in films makes you think that boys are better?”
“Well boys – or males – are always the main character. Like Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Harry Potter. It’s always males! Some shows have girls, but the main character’s always male!”
It’s as simple as that.