Feminism for Boys

I work in retail, which is a pretty gender specific industry, to my distaste. It makes the layout of shops easier to divide things up into women and men, girls and boys. People know where to find what their looking for pretty quickly.

Unless you’re in Plymouth’s Primark and everything has been changed around thank you so much for that.

But I digress. Splitting by gender is generally what most places do. Even though the whole gender thing is waaaaaaay more varied than ‘woman’ and ‘man’ but that’s a post for another time.

The place I work at has started mixing things up a little. Recently, particularly with children’s shoes, there have been ‘boys’ shoes on the ‘girls’ display and vice versa. Which I love; I love working somewhere that’s trying the be more gender progressive in the face of tradition.

I just found it interesting that there were lots of ‘boys’ shoes on the girls display but not many ‘girls’ shoes on the boys display.
This isn’t criticism of where I work, by the way. This is a refection on society in general; why are girls allowed to have ‘boy’ things, but boys are still shamed for liking ‘girly’ things?

How come I get multiple customers with daughters looking at the boys trainers, but little boys are told by parents to put that shoe down, they don’t want that, it’s pink?

Why are guys not allowed to wear make up? Why do they only have 3 colours of jeans or chinos? Why do clothes designers only assume guys are 6ft? And what, the ever living fuck, is guyliner? Do guys call their eyes something else?

I have a theory. It’s a pretty popular theory on Twitter and Tumblr and I’m 100% certian I read it somewhere, I just don’t remember where.

Girly stuff, while slowly becoming more mainstream for girls again, is still considered bad, stupid, frivolous. Ergo, it’s a bad thing for boys to like. But, girls are encouraged to play sport. To climb trees, to do anything they want to. There are so many campaigns and advertisements aimed at encouraging girls to be whoever they damn well want to be. And that’s amazing!

And it’s not gender equality to ignore the effects of harmful masculinity on boys. That isn’t feminism.





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