Monday, December 28, 2009

Feminism, from The Talkgirl to Facebook Ads.

I have been against pink electronics for as long as I can remember. My first memory of it was at age 8. I watched Home Alone 2 just like everyone else. And, like everyone else, I was DEEEEESPERATE for the Talkboy that Christmas. It was amazing. You could change your voice to trick your sister from behind the couch!! You could record things! You could play them back! What lonely, deranged middle child WOULDN'T want such a device? FINALLY! The attention I deserved!

Imagine my chagrin when, not long after the Talkboy came out, Mattel (or whoever) put out what they believed to be an equal opportunity electronic: The Talkgirl.

Ohhhhhhhh, The Talkgirl. You haunt my nightmares.

Now this was nearly twenty years ago, so the details might not be totally exact, but if I recall, the Talkgirl was exactly like the Talkboy in every way.

But it was pink.

Oh, and the dot on the "i" was now a flower. How precious.

My outrage was clear. When I was younger I considered myself a tomboy. I requested short hair at the salon. I owned nothing with ruffles. I refused to play run-from-the-boys and instead played my own version, hip-check-the-boys. And I hated--HATED--the color pink.

At the time, I didn't really know why I hated it. All I knew was that it was girly, and anyone who embraced it also seemed to be embracing an attitude of "I'm too dainty for that" which annoyed me to no end.

I found myself confused: adults everywhere were proudly telling me that girls can do whatever boys can do. But then they were laughing at my short hair, rolling their eyes when I complained that lace is itchy, and handing me electronics that had been specially created for my daintiness.

I told you about a few of my asinine pet peeves back here but this one is my I'm Going To Change The World pet peeve: indoctrinating children into their socially afflicted gender roles.

Okay, and I've officially gotten too SOC 101. I'm going to take a step back.

Yes, I hate that kids are told how to be since birth. But the reason for this post actually came about because of Facebook ads. See, I thought that all this indoctrinating had stopped by now. That I am able to see sexism and point it out. But, indeed, I cannot. And I have learned this harsh reality through Facebook ads. Here was a random group of ads from today, one that is not atypical:

I don't know WHY Facebook continues to think that I am a mother, nor why they give me ads for Sorority Life. No matter how often I check the x and tell them "Irrelevant," here they are, day after day, informing me of who I SHOULD be...which is apparently a single mother in a sorority whose debt is piling so high she is willing to exploit her children.

Now before I show you the next set of ads, I must explain who these are for. They are for a cat. I needed another facebook account for (NERD ALERT) a flash game I play. So I made an account for my roommate's cat, Charlie. He has no other friends but me [EDIT: The Charlie in real life has many, many more], and his page has no use but to cheat at this game. However, Facebook requires certain information in order to have an account. Namely, age and sex. Charlie Cat is a male. And he was born the same year that I was, making him also 25. So, given the simple fact that these ads are for an imaginary 25 year old male, here are his ads:

I'm not sure which gender should feel more outraged: the girls who get "Tee hee! I'm a girl! Babies and chocolate and lipstick!" Or the boys who get "Rawr! I'm a boy! Burgers and war and babes!" All I know is, as a feminist I feel insulted. And as a human, I want that damn brownie.


Anonymous said...

You should seriously consider turning your blog into a book. I'd buy it...well only if you agree to sign it for me. :) Lova.

Liketohike said...

I read that gender identity is established at the age of two. TWO!

Elena said...

You should check out the Femme Den at Smartdesign - they're my heroes when it comes to fighting the 'shrink it and pink it' mentality.