This came home in my eldest child’s knapsack the other day. I have been puzzling/fuming over it. It advertises a campaign to increase awareness of the rights of children. But check out how those rights are illustrated (if you can’t read the text, try clicking the image for an enlarged view):
Really? Really, this is how we illustrate what the rights of the child entail at home? We provide a scenario which inscribes a particular vision of masculine normativity and mocks certain choices of sport – non violent sport? Ridiculous, especially since it is doubly harmful to those children who might most need their choices and opinions valued at home – children who are trying to live their lives outside gender norms. It reinscribes the problematic norms AND mocks their experience by ignoring it. This sniggering father and his little boy (anxious to stay away from girlie clothes and sports) are probably worse than nothing on this front. The only way I’m reconsidering is if my own gender norms have gotten ahead of my thoughts and in fact the child is a girl. This might be a quick semi-fix. I’ll doctor it before discussing with my 5 year old girl.
Strangely enough, for a bit of icing on the cake, the school my daughter goes to, the school which passed out this card (a marvellous, diverse, thoughtful and caring learning environment) actually nurtured a World Champion in…men’s figure skating. Patrick Chan, the current World Champion.
Am I reading too much into this?