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Don’t end up on the dark side

['Editorial']
['Editorial']

Sporting a favourite T-shirt, the eight-year-old Corner Brook girl walked the halls of her elementary school with pride.

The shirt — a snazzy Darth Vader number she bought while on vacation — is stylish, cool and certainly timely given the popularity of the Star Wars movies and memorabilia we see today.

What greeted her from a young boy in class, however, did not fall in line with the near-universal praise it receives.

“You can’t wear that shirt,” he told her. “That’s a boy’s shirt.”

The shirt was unisex, of course, as is most all kids clothing. But that didn’t stop the young girl from questioning it when she got home.

“Is this a boy’s shirt?” she asked her mom.

“Of course not,” her mom replied. “It’s a shirt and can be worn by anyone.”

Wednesday was International Women’s Day, a day to “recognize women’s achievements and acknowledge the challenges they continue to face in the quest for gender equality.”

Unfortunately, we need International Women’s Day today more than we ever did. Unfortunate because we should be progressing at a more rapid rate to a day when there is no such thing as male privilege or inequality among the sexes.

Alas, a lot more work and education needs to be done.

That education needs to start from the moment our children enter this world.

When children are born, they have no preconceived notions about what society has determined to be male or female persuasions. They don’t come out of the womb already susceptible to marketing ploys that target one gender over another.

They are instead taught these things by their parents, peers and television or tablets.

And, as parents, we make a decision to follow those ideals set out by others — or fight them.

But we need to fight them more. We need to teach our kids that it’s perfectly OK to like blue or pink, or both. We need to teach them it’s perfectly fine for a boy to join rhythmic gymnastics, just as it is for a girl to play football.

Sure, targeted marketing will always exist to a certain degree — we understand that.

However, advertising does not usurp sound judgment, and adults playing an active role in the lives of children need to step up and educate them from the start.

Without that sort of guidance, we’ll all end up on the “dark side.”

The shirt — a snazzy Darth Vader number she bought while on vacation — is stylish, cool and certainly timely given the popularity of the Star Wars movies and memorabilia we see today.

What greeted her from a young boy in class, however, did not fall in line with the near-universal praise it receives.

“You can’t wear that shirt,” he told her. “That’s a boy’s shirt.”

The shirt was unisex, of course, as is most all kids clothing. But that didn’t stop the young girl from questioning it when she got home.

“Is this a boy’s shirt?” she asked her mom.

“Of course not,” her mom replied. “It’s a shirt and can be worn by anyone.”

Wednesday was International Women’s Day, a day to “recognize women’s achievements and acknowledge the challenges they continue to face in the quest for gender equality.”

Unfortunately, we need International Women’s Day today more than we ever did. Unfortunate because we should be progressing at a more rapid rate to a day when there is no such thing as male privilege or inequality among the sexes.

Alas, a lot more work and education needs to be done.

That education needs to start from the moment our children enter this world.

When children are born, they have no preconceived notions about what society has determined to be male or female persuasions. They don’t come out of the womb already susceptible to marketing ploys that target one gender over another.

They are instead taught these things by their parents, peers and television or tablets.

And, as parents, we make a decision to follow those ideals set out by others — or fight them.

But we need to fight them more. We need to teach our kids that it’s perfectly OK to like blue or pink, or both. We need to teach them it’s perfectly fine for a boy to join rhythmic gymnastics, just as it is for a girl to play football.

Sure, targeted marketing will always exist to a certain degree — we understand that.

However, advertising does not usurp sound judgment, and adults playing an active role in the lives of children need to step up and educate them from the start.

Without that sort of guidance, we’ll all end up on the “dark side.”

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