Ok, this post is going to be a bit of an angry one. There will be swearing and sarcasm, but I will try and not let it all devolve into a jumble of swears every second word. No promises, but I will try.
Last night I went in to the city to look for Christmas presents for my family. I was feeling good that I was being organised this year and trying to get it all done early, so I didn’t have to go to the shops when it’s full of people and have to convince myself that punching an annoying child is a bad idea. I went to a book shop, so I was feeling even better, because book shops are the best place to waste time and I had to hang around until Ben was ready to go get dinner with me. It was when I gave up on presents and had to wander through the Home Improvements section on the way to look at the pretty Japanese craft books that everything went downhill. It was there that I, very quickly, found these books and had to take photos of them because they just blew my mind.
Three separate books aimed specifically at women on topics that are seen as things that “the man of the house” would do. All of them were nestled up against books that would teach you the exact same stuff as these ones, but didn’t feel the need to pander to bullshit gender roles. When mentioning these to my friends, one of them found me the full title of “Girl’s Guide to DIY”. It’s actually “Girl’s Guide to DIY: How to fix things in your home without breaking your nails”. If it wasn’t bad enough to begin with, it just really rams home the whole deal that if you’re a woman you should only care about your clothes and your nails and none of that hard scary stuff around the house. I’m sure this book is full of simple DIY things that I can do while still wearing my favourite kitten heels!
I’m just so sick of this bullshit of targeting products to women that really don’t need to be. Pens, Cars, Computers, Beers, Cigarettes, Tools, these things keep being made and marketed and the list keeps getting bigger and bigger. Why do I have to have a pink hammer if I want to build something? Because I’m a woman I am physically incapable of using a standard hammer with a wooden handle? Why does my car have to match my eyeshadow rather than being a colour that I like? Is a green car too manly that my poor lady brain might get confused and I end up having a crash? How is a pen for women any different to any other pen available to buy today? I am pro-pens and have never ever passed up on buying one because it wasn’t appropriate for my delicate lady sensibilities. And while I don’t like beer, it’s not because all the beers out there are too manly for me to drink, it’s because I don’t like the taste of beer. This ladybeer is less carbonated so that we don’t burp, because God Forbid I perform an act that is perfectly natural and something everyone does. Oh no, I forgot, women don’t burp or fart or poop or smell bad.
On top of all this stupidity, why does everything targeted towards women have to be pink!? It starts right from the get go, where you’ll be inundated with pink things as soon as people find out you’ve popped out a girl. Toys, clothes, furniture, all that stuff that is supposed to be for girls is pink. As a girl who doesn’t overly like pink and never have, it fucking sucks. Thankfully I was a strong-willed child because if photos from that time are any indication, I chose what I wanted to wear and it was very rarely fucking pink. If you like pink, good for you, wear it all you want I don’t care, but if I have a choice between pink and almost any other colour ever then pink’s going to be on the losing side. If I have a baby girl then she’s going to wear whatever coloured clothes she wants, not pink just because she’s a girl. And if I have a boy and he wants to wear pink then I will support him wholeheartedly because these things shouldn’t fucking matter.
I want to know where the male version of these things are. There’s nowhere near as many bullshit “Crochet For Blokes” or “Manly Gardening” types of books out there. It must be because men are capable of working things out for themselves but women need their hand held throughout the process because they’re such delicate beings. Men don’t need to worry about how they look when doing manly things, because they’re tough men! They have more important things to think about than that, but fickle flighty women are so shallow that their appearances are vital. It makes me so angry that the world is like this.
When I was younger I would try and avoid girly things as much as possible, I think in an attempt to show my frustration at the whole deal. These days I do some stereotypically feminine things; I wear dresses, put on makeup, paint my nails pretty designs, I like to buy flowers to have around the house. I will squeal in excitement at cute animals and will base some of my purchases on which thing is prettier. I have told Ben he couldn’t buy a specific gaming mouse for his computer because it is too ugly (he bought it anyway because he knew I wasn’t serious and also because he has free will). I knit and crochet and embroider. I am not a straw feminist, hating everything and yelling about the patriarchy at every turn. I understand that I can like girly things because I like them rather than because A Man has decided I like them.
But at the same time I don’t need to be pandered to in my life. I will buy the stationery I want, and if it is not pink that’s not going to stop me from using it. If I buy a car I will be looking into safety ratings, not the car that helps me not get wrinkles. If your drinks taste like shit it doesn’t matter how girly they are, I’m still not going to drink them. I really wish society would realise that everyone is a person with a personality before they are a Man or a Woman or anything in between. A woman in a dress and makeup buying paint is just as legitimate a customer as a big beardy dude in clothes covered in paint splatters; her wearing a dress in that moment doesn’t mean she is magically incapable of wielding a paintbrush just as competently as the guy. And by the same token a beardy guy is just as capable of doing something feminine like crochet as I am, so people shouldn’t just laugh it off when he goes to buy yarn. It shouldn’t make a difference, why can’t people realise that already?
It probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but I can still hope. Thankfully it seems that I’m not the only one out there that is frustrated by this, if the angry articles about the ladycar or the ladypens are anything to go off.