Friday, April 27, 2012

Need a hero?

I saw this sign in the hospital gift shop today. It would be cute in a little boy's room, right? But honestly, this innocent looking wall hanging both saddens and angers me.

Think about what it says. EVERY hero starts out as a BOY. So girls can't be heroes? I'm sorry, Joan of Arc. Your contribution to France's Hundred Years' War doesn't mean anything. Amelia Earhart, your many achievements don't matter. Sandra Day O'Connor, who needs a woman as Supreme Court Justice? The simple statement painted on that sign undermines centuries of women being heroes. Rosa Parks. Christa McAuliffe. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Susan B Anthony. The entire suffrage movement. Are these women any less heroes because they were born female? Do we really want our children to think so?

"But Christine, it's just a decoration. The manufacturer didn't mean anything by it." I know some of you are thinking that. And you know what? That's even worse. Whoever came up with this design is so oblivious to the continuing inequalities we face that this was produced without question. And it doesn't matter at all what the intent was in the first place. Because as soon as its purchased and hung in someone's home, little boys are absorbing the subtle message that girls don't matter as much, and little girls are getting the message that they can't accomplish their dreams.

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