Friday, 27 December 2013

Thomasina the Tank Engine

It is quite understandable - and, quite possibly, justifiable, right and proper - that people are laughing at the campaign launched today by Mary Creagh for more girl trains in Thomas the Tank Engine.

However, perhaps it behoves us to inhibit our natural response and ask if she is onto something.  Perhaps the formation of our daughters' minds by this stereotyping is inhibiting their growth and development and their life choices.

But somehow I don't think so. Based on a small, completely unscientific selection of the women and girls I know, it seems unlikely.

I know a disproportionate number of women and girls who have been raised in traditional or conservative ways, with no quarter given to gender theory and other such…

Yet, most of the traditionally-minded women I know are feisty and individual; and the rising generation of younger women and girls in those circles are more so.

Of course, I look to my own daughters first, having been brought up to believe that a mother's place is shackled in the kitchen, and that they should, of course, pursue girly subjects.  So Ant has has picked up a 1st in Maths at Masters level.  Bernie is doing what the BBC seems to think is a girly subject: Fine Art - following in the footsteps of such docile and submissive women as Renoir, Gaugin, Monet, Mondrian, Picasso, and so on.

Looking around at their friends, I see similar: intelligent, independently-minded and fearsomely confident young women - all raised by people with views as reactionary as mine.  Odd, isn't it?

Few of them aspire to be train drivers, though...

1 comment:

pattif said...

Sixty-one Christmases ago my parents bought me a train set , complete with station, stationmaster and other bits and bobs, but lacking entirely in any pink accessories or any attempt to avoid gender stereotyping (which had not, of course, been invented yet). What can they have been thinking of?

My first career ambition was to play left field for the Boston Red Sox, like my hero, Ted Williams. Fortunately, my dad gently steered me into a sport a girl could play (instead of accusing the Major League Commissioner of sexism), because the guy who succeeded TW, Carl Yastrzemski, was another Hall of Famer who had a career that spanned 23 years, so I never would have got a look in. ;-)