this weekend i volunteered at a camp for children with disablities. i loved it, as i always do. it’s a wonderful, wonderful camp and maybe the most memorable part of the children’s year; staying in a south african ‘home’ or institution is no treat and three days of pure fun is a massive luxury for this immensely marginalized demographic.
while the camp is great, there is always somethings about it that hits me hard: how genderized it is. for example, when we gave the kids toys after activities the girls always got something pink – a doll, flower, fashion accessory – while the boys got the typical dark coloured sports toy or car.
the banner for the boys doors read “BOYS BUNKER”. Obviously the girls dorms had to have a banner saying “DOLLS’ HOUSE”.
is this really what we want to reinforce in the future? do we want girls growing up to think that their role is one centered around material, domestic things, and that boys are the strength and muscle, and the sort?
i believe we are doing everyone a huge disservice; especially the kids. if i have a daughter, she will have tools, monster trucks, and her as short as she wishes. my son will wear pink and brush hair, if he so pleases; he will cry without sexism’s shame.
children are the future in that we’re creating the future with everyone interaction we have with kids; let’s act right.