Half way though the Barbie Movie for the second viewing, my daughter asked,
‘Mum, can we go to the toilet please?’
With a grump I left the movie and as my daughter always does, she started talking from the moment the cinema door closed.
She said, ‘Is it really like that for women?’
I clarified, she said how the board room behaved in the movie, the observations Ken made when he was in the ‘real world’ about men.
She carried on, ‘What is the point of trying, if that is what the world is like!’
I am sure my ten-year-old daughter expected me to hurry her along, return to the cinema and close off the conversation, but this infuriated me!
A ten-year-old girl, asked ‘What is the point in trying!’
I shared multiple examples of different treatment at school, from the boy’s sole running the tech team, the football captain being a boy despite the team being for all pupils, and heavy jobs being requested of the boys.
By this stage, I am sure my daughter was thinking – ‘Never ask Mama a question in the middle of a movie again!’
The conversation continued, with a long monologue from me, probably inspired by Ruth in the Movie.
‘The point is, if we all see things and say nothing. Nothing will change. We have no place to complain if we don’t speak up! It is your responsibility and mine to speak up!’
We quietly returned to the movie. I was feeling feistier than ever. The conversation continued in the car on the way home, supported by all in the car. The tone had changed. These observations being too big to challenge had been blasted.
On multiple occasions since that day, my daughter has spoken up. We received the Autumnal silencer, the Christmas Toy Catalogue. My daughters did the usual first glance, then I could feel the post it note selection process about to commence, when my daughter started to object!
She noticed in the caring toys, the backdrop is pink and all the models are girls. This continued in anything domestic, caring, or creative. There was a distinction in the active toys, both in physical and imaginative, which had blue backdrops and boy models.
While I don’t fully agree with the featured quote, I do agree with Ruth’s message, we have a responsibility as people, professionals, parents, partners and pals to speak up, call things out that we notice and then the hope of ten-year-old girls can have a chance.
What can you speak up about?