In recent political life, there’s been a lot more discussion about women’s role in society.
In the past, America tended to think of gender roles in rigid and strictly categorized ways. Men were supposed to be strong, stoic and powerful, and were generally supposed to be leaders of business and other institutions. On the other hand, traditional gender roles put women in a support position, asking them to be pleasant, pretty and supportive. Needless to say, those roles have been questioned and broken down and changed significantly over the years.
In the present day, many of those old beliefs are thought of as unnecessarily sexist.
Still, sexism isn’t something that’s inherent—it gets learned in a society over time.
Though we tend to think of it in stark terms, sometimes we learn a lot from the little things as well. As it turns out, one artist named Damian Alexander illustrated this perfectly in a comic strip which has quickly been going viral around the internet.
For those who don’t know, Alexander is a cartoonist and an online artist who covers all manner of sensitive topics aimed at kids and young adults. In one in particular, Alexander shows how little boys get pushed away from identifying with girls early on in life.
The whole thing began as a Twitter thread that went viral:
Though it then grew into showing how Alexander loved Matilda as a child:
Although there should be nothing wrong with liking or identifying with that character, Alexander still got some push back from his teacher:
Even more strangely, it seemed like this strange, gendered rule only worked against boys and didn’t apply to girls:
In both cases, though, boys were encouraged to identify with men and girls were also encouraged to identify with girls:
By simply being pushed away from things that are considered feminine or girly, little boys start to associate girls and “being girly” as inherently negative:
Needless to say, that dynamic can create some more serious problems later on in life:
And it sometimes even extends to how how the parents view and praise their own children for different things:
Above all, Alexander’s comic strip ends with a few simple questions about the entire thing:
Alexander’s comic strip and tweets have already been viewed and shared thousands of times all across the internet.
He also gave an interview to Bored Panda about his inspiration and his experiences as a child informing his views:
“Growing up, my favorite character was Matilda. She was so smart and I related to her feeling out of place in her family. The telekinesis thing was also really exciting to me. Then there’s Anne of Green Gables, Hermione from Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Mulan, and so many more. I think it’s because girl characters tend to use creative problem solving instead of outright violence, and I found that a lot more engaging.”
Above all, the message is relatively simple: just let kids like what they want to like!
If you liked this, be sure to check out Alexander’s website and social media for more of his work! Above all, hopefully his illustrations will make younger people stop and think about how they interact with boys and girls around them. For older people, it could offer a new insight for anybody who is a parent or for anybody who wants to change their relationship with the world around them.
Thanks for the inspiration, Damien!
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Source: Bored Panda,