Girlish and boyish: what are the roots of gender inequality

We all come to this world full of legends of how it is divided into two parts – the feminine and the masculine.

Although we no longer believe that Poseidon controls the water and Aphrodite spreads love and beauty, however, already as kids we learn that boys cannot cry and throwing a ball like a girl is shameful.
We do not only come to such a world. We grow in it and later we release our children to this world. A world, where women can not only vote but also fly into space and rule states almost everywhere. As if to become anyone, to be equal, equal to a man… But while being equal is good, by no means you can be masculine. Because it is the same as being girlish for boys – it is simply not right.

Why can’t we be masculine?

A full movie theatre is watching the top-rated commercials and once it sees a woman tennis player vigorously bouncing the ball, as a rule of conduct, is followed with a comment: “she does not act like a woman, she is so masculine”. In the meantime, the symbol of femininity is still seen as an Italian woman wearing stockings, pulling a cigarette out of a cigarette case and being surrounded by a handful of men ready to light it.
The latter beauty is promoting bad habits whereas the victorious athlete – a healthy lifestyle. It is beneficial to do sports, but if a woman puts her blood, sweat, and tears into it, then it is manly. And for a woman, what is manly, is not right. Smoking is unhealthy as well as it is unfeminine but if you look sexy, then everything is alright.

It all starts back in childhood

Everything is simpler when you are a child. It is simple even during the baby shower: if we see pink balloons, then it will be a girl, and if blue – a boy.  And this is how the beginning of our life is coloured – when we receive our first clothes, bedsheets, toys. As a person grows – the system becomes more complex. Along with the colours comes form. If a Lego constructor has dragons and horses, then it is for boys, and if the horse is white, it has wings and even a horn on his forehead – then it is meant for a girl.
Even though serious dads used to watch a cartoon about Candy, after someone outside joked around that this cartoon is girlish, the boys were no longer found sitting by the screens. Despite the fact that there are male characters in the cartoon such as the charming prince Anthony with whom they can relate.
In all the classic fairy tales, girls are portrayed as weak, defenceless characters waiting to be rescued by princes on white horses. Red Riding Hood and her grandma waited for the hunters, Cinderella – for the prince to return her lost slipper, Rapunzel – for the one and only who could free her from the tower. Boys’ literature still includes stories of adventures, fighting a dragon or hunting an enormous-size whale.
When girlish pink and boyish blue becomes feminine and masculine, just as with toys that have evolved – form comes in place of colour. Except for Scottish men, for some time now only women wear skirts. And in the blink of an eye, it makes women tennis players feminine.
It is not only the skirt that adds femininity. You also must keep your opinion to yourself, smile a lot and if something happens (quoting Reese Witherspoon) you must ask a man: “What do we do now?” And how should women know what to do? If little girls are taught to wait for princes and the books on problem-solving are kept out of their sight and covered with an ordinary pink book about a princess with a fluffy skirt?

Why you should not give up

Reese Witherspoon, an actress who received an Oscar for excellence in acting, one of the most coveted awards among actors, wanted to start making movies about women. The actress remembers how the male producers who heard her idea did not believe it could turn into successful, interesting and profitable film projects. But the legally blonde girl from New Orleans did not give up and set up a production company for the money she earned from her acting. And then made a multi-award winner Gone Girl screening for both male and female audiences.
Publishers all over the world are counting numerous editions of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. More often little girls are daring to construct robots and are determined to search for cure from cancer once they grow up. They are looking for new lives in planets while working at NASA. And it is not worth thinking about if every day on the road to these dreams they hear that it is no for them because it is not feminine.

Be the first to get the news!

We constantly monitor news and trends in the world of communication and then pack everything into our newsletter. Want to stay up to date? Just sign up with your email and INK will take care of the rest.

    You’re done – the INK Newsletter can finally make its way into your mailbox. Thank you! Good deeds come back in good letters.