The day of the gender cliché

How did you celebrate the International Day of the Girl?

There’s no denying the discrimination, degradation and abuse of many young humans on today’s planet.

I went to my dress-up box and found my favourite raindrop-printed dress and let out a whoop of despair.

Day of the Girl? What paternalistic marketing guru or committee at an advertising agency thought up Day of the Girl?

Firstly, the world `girl’ offends because in my mind they are young women.

Research leads me to believe that Day of the Girl is no more than a touchy feely first world marketing exercise, and soon there will be a greeting card range featuring girls and cats.

Nowhere on the pink and shiny `Day of the Girl’ website could I find what defined a `girl’.

Which leads me to our dear Life’sGoodTGQ community. What is a `girl’?

According to Day of the Girl website a girl is lots of stereotypical pink graphics and references to `research’.

My research shows that most young women don’t like being called girls and that using pink is like using blue for `boys’. (Note to self: `International Day of the Boy’ is never going to fly.)

Aah, but Day of the Girl is a Plan International gig.

According to Plan, you can `sponsor’ a girl for as little as … or the Haiiti cyclone appeal, or Syrian refugees or a even just `a child’.

Heck you can probably buy a goat or sheep at the same time.

I sponsored two girls once. I fed and watered them and they grew.

And you bet, I know they are fortunate because of their place and time of birth – good luck really.

I’ve been a feminist since I was a ‘girl’ and I realised that real estate agents didn’t grope the men in our law office and I’m still a feminist when I look at my superannuation balance and contemplate my old age.

But for some reason, Day of the Girl made me really cranky.

I tried blaming a shortage of oestrogen and my exploding cranky menopause old girl, but seriously, that `o’ hormone is over-rated and I’m pretty cool about ageing.

I’m assuming much of the Day of the Girl stuff won’t reach the girls who really need better health and education; instead it will be watched on variety of electronic devices, across the twit ‘o sphere or relegated to well-meaning but actionless reports.

Like any cliché, the tragedy lies underneath all the pink platitudes.  

There’s no denying the discrimination, degradation and abuse of many young humans on today’s planet; not just the girls.

And while organisations name up `Day of the Girl’ and dress her in pink, they are perpetuating young women as powerless, pink playthings.

Earlier this week I had to fill in a government form that asked for my gender. Does it really matter?

I’m excited by places like Sweden, which many report as ‘a paradise for liberated women. It has the highest proportion of working women in the world, and women earn about two-thirds of all university degrees’, and since 2015 Sweden has actively promoted a gender-neutral language policy.

UPHILL BATTLE: Gender-related exploitation is just one of the many challenges young people around the globe struggle with on a daily basis.

UPHILL BATTLE: Gender-related exploitation is just one of the many challenges young people around the globe struggle with on a daily basis.

Day of the Girl would be better realigned towards the young people across our planet who are at more than any point in the last 100 years, being equally abused and discriminated not by gender but by race, religion and geography.

What colour would that be?

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