Learning Gender Roles Via The BBC

The BBC have recently been accused of sexism with their remake of children’s classic Topsy and Tim.

It was claimed by parents that the BBC misinterpreted the original children stories, and chose instead to reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, which were being aimed at very young children. The charecter Tospy is a little girl who is seen baking princess cakes with her Mum, while her Brother Tim is informed baking is not for him. As a boy he can play outside on his bike or help his Dad with “mans work”.

I wondered, as I have on many occasions before, how do we learn our ‘gender roles’? Is it nature or nurture, and how can we be sure?

Thinking of my own childhood, I recall never being compelled by my parents to be particularly ‘girlie’, and naturally I wasn’t this way either. I was always encouraged to just be me, and perhaps by being a headstrong child who knew what I liked, pressures to be ‘girlie’ (if they existed), never affected me. I therefore feel surprised that in the 21st century children are still being encouraged to mimic, and reflect, what their own parents deem to be acceptable gender specific stereotypes. It just seems almost self defeating and rather odd.

Why would any parent force their child to be anything, and ruin their own child’s ability to blossom and develop naturally, free of preconceived ideals laid down throughout the eons?!

What is so terrible about girls playing with cars and bikes, and boys playing with kitchens and dolls? Surely having diverse skills and interests make for more rounded and capable future adults?

I know if I had children, I would indeed encourage them to be them; who else can they be after all!

Don’t get me wrong, their is nothing wrong with traditional gender roles, if those people performing those roles are happy enough to do so. Yet, there is nothing wrong with mixing it up either!

Living in Madrid I see many more examples of the conventional family unit than I do in the UK. The wife cooks, cleans, takes care of the house and kids, while the man works, is head of the household, applies the discipline and often the education of the kids. This is almost expected and seen as the social norm.

Now my household has never been quite like this, to the surprise of the people I meet in Spain. People are shocked that I am interested in politics, and also that my degree, career and writing all have a political grounding. I have actually been told how unusual it is for a girl! Obviously they haven’t heard of Emily Pankhurst, Simone de Beauvoir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Naomi Wolf and Hilary Clinton; what about Eva Perón?

For me, applying any expectations upon a person, especially at a young and impressionable age, just becomes a simple case of the self fulfilling prophecy. You get what you expect. Women and men then become merely caricatures of their gender, nothing more than that! How can we then argue they are naturally as they should be?

Have women actually been able or allowed to genuinely break through that “glass ceiling”? Not if the 21st centuries depiction of gender is the reference point; a woman’s place is still at home, while the man still belongs to the world. This has to be true, the BBC even think so!

To be serious, in recent years it has been a giant step backwards for men and women alike. Adverts, marketing, media and society in general have peddled the over sexualisation of the younger generation. This has drip fed a generation with gender specific notions of beauty, relationships, sex and availability, youth, frivolousness, self obsession, celebrity culture, diets, gossip, fashion and materialism.

So, maybe reverting to the stereotypical gender roles is only the natural step forward from this re-education?

For me I feel it is difficult to distinguish, and therefore state concretely, how much of nature actually plays a part in a child’s socialisation, self perception and development. Especially with all the dross floating around their environment.

Think about how difficult it is for us as adults to really separate ourselves, and our choices from all the expectations applied upon us, what we have seen, learnt, experienced and absorbed into our psyche?

If it is so difficult for us as adults, the question then remains; how can a child?

Nature v’s nurture, for me there is no real contest to contest!

Breaking Bad Becomes Child’s Play

Breaking Bad 'Lego' set :)

Breaking Bad ‘Lego’ set 🙂

What do thinking of these ‘Bricking Bad’ toys?

These ‘toys’ have been modelled upon the Breaking Bad series. Yes, the Crystal Meth lab, and all the characters of the series included; in fact, every last detail has been faithfully recreated in miniature LEGO format!

Crazy fun ‘eh?!

‘Bricking Bad’ was being marketed to the ‘LEGO’ company, but strangely they refused to see the the funny side of it all.

LEGO therefore turned down the opportunity, of what would no doubt have been lucrative sales, deeming association with such a ‘rip-off’ product as akin to sleeping with the devil.

The tweeters were twittering with indignation over the inappropriate nature of it all too (no doubt what eventually swayed LEGO’s final decision). All the social networking tribes set to work to shun ‘Bricking Bad’, before it could filter through to corrupt the young people of today!

I think this is totally off the mark, I mean what six year old’s toy box would be complete without such a unique item? How to cook Meth, isn’t it what every parent hopes their child will learn, and then recreate in their teen years! Don’t ridicule, it could be a good option in such an economic climate!

For me, I see this as an adult/collectors item, obviously! It was never likely to be marketed as anything more than a novelty item for a model shop, rather than a toy shop.

Yet, to be serious, with all the uproar this product has received you’d think the young of today led sheltered lives, instead of being the informed and savvy socialistas they really are.

Good God, they learn about sex from the ages of five now, so, Crystal Meth is far from off limits for topics of convo, surely!!!

Anyway, I’d have bought a ‘Bricking Bad’ set, I can definitely see the cheeky side of it! Can you?

Home, But Not To Roost

You know when you are back in the UK when;

Every road seems to have been dug up for some sort of repair or another – causing traffic mayhem and general annoyance.

The temperatures become colder towards Spring than warmer – snow has again been promised.

Jeremy Kyle (a morning talk show similar to Steve Wilkos), is classed as entertainment.

People insist on wearing nothing but ‘sports’ wear even though they never actually partake in ANY sports activity.

Adverts constantly tell you how to win millions on gambling and then advise on fast track loans – logic please!

Young men think it is OK to assault young girls in front of onlookers in a busy supermarket. Great to pay witness to that whilst buying your Brussels Sprouts. Yes, I did intervene too.

Insurance companies think it is OK to refund you peanuts after a burglary – though you have paid for years on a policy for such an eventuality.

The Chancellor Of The Exchequer lowers the prices of alcohol instead of increasing people’s salaries, or anything else remotely useful.

You can wait forever to have a Doctor’s appointment, as the Receptionists feel they are the medical experts, and know YOU are not an emergency!

People say thank you even when they are being practically smacked in the face!

These are things that make Britain ‘Great’ – yipppppeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The 15 Minutes Of Fame – Blessing Or A Curse?

It was Andy Warhol who said that, ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’. He had a point, and didn’t realise then, just how ‘on the money’ that statement would prove to be.

What got me thinking about this today was JK Rowling’s new book, ‘A Casual Vacancy’. It has been released to cool reviews, not received perhaps as well as everyone hoped it would be. I’m not so surprised by this, I mean Harry Potter’s shoes are very large to fill, but it is how everyone seems so saddened by the news that makes me wonder. Poor JK, I mean her ‘15 minutes’ of fame were probably as big, and far reaching as anyone’s ever could be; if this book disappeared into obscurity tomorrow she won’t be hard done by exactly!

Yet, this ’15 minutes’ gang are all over the world, in one form or another. They pop out of the wood work on a near constant basis. It seems the whole of the entertainment industry is littered with one hit wonders, actors and the like, who have been discarded, ousted from their thrown of omnipotence. They lament for a moment in time they have lost, and feel angered that re-gaining their crown is being denied them, by new talent. Yet, aren’t they the lucky ones? Why do they see their one moment of world glory as not being enough? There are others who have never been given the chance to stamp their mark on the world. Isn’t it just greedy, clinging onto fame, to keep perusing fame and fortune when they have already had their taste? They have already been given the gift of their ’15 minutes’, what more is there to have?

Surely anyone with half a brain knows when it is their time to move out of that spot light and say, ‘OK, I had a damn good run, I’m thankful’, no, they keep on and on trying to claw back what they once were? Why?
Is fame like any other bad habit or addiction? Is it that once you have tasted it, you become a new person, and that person is someone who cannot stop wanting more and more, regardless of the cost to your self-esteem and reputation? Why then doesn’t this fame and fortune come with heavy health warnings, making those that dare to venture further guard against their mental health?

Look at Lyndsey Lohan and Britney Spears; it’s over and yet they refuse to see, and people merely encourage false hope to mock them! It is sad.

I believe the ’15 minutes’ stretches to us mere mortals too. Aren’t we all at some point famous for 15 minutes, not world-wide granted, but in our own way we make headlines with those around us. Isn’t there something we did so well no-one could then replicate our successes, or could they, as we are all replaceable and pervious to the change of opinions and attitude. One minute we are flavour of the month and next, everyone is avoiding us.

None of us can be ahead of the game all our lives though, there comes a time to graciously step aside and let another shine. Yet, some of us seem more able than others to admit it’s over, concede, leave when the leaving is good and maintain our dignity. Aren’t those who are remembered the best and for the longest those that depart quickly; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Bruce Lee. No, I don’t imply we should have to die young to be iconic, just accept that we have given our best and that was good enough. No one wants to be remembered as a ‘has been’ after all.

This says it all……

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© Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.