Yesterday I wrote about gender specific chocolate being sold to kids, in my post called Chocolate Politics. Today I just wanted to give an update on chocolategate.
The post was read by far more people than I ever imagined, thanks to all those who have shared it, including Let Clothes Be Clothes . The comments and feedback have been very encouraging and supportive. It would seem that I am a bit behind in this trend for boy/girl only confectionery – several other brands, such as Kinder, have been at this for a while! Some people have pointed out to that the likes of Yorkie and Milk Tray are/have been targeted at Men/Women for years and have become almost brands in themselves, but that is clearly a different marketing strategy? Surely adults can choose whichever chocolate they want to eat; men don’t think “I can’t eat Milk Tray or the lads at work will laugh at me and call me a big *girl”. To compare the 2 is a nonsense. The fact that children do believe what they see/are exposed to in the consumer world. If it is reinforced by negative peer pressure and a fear of what other people will think if they choose something they want as opposed to a suitably prescribed selection, we are never going to get past this. *And being called a girl is not actually an insult!
It has left me wondering in my skeptical mind, just how entrenched we are and how invested business is, in securing our long term purchasing, by limiting our choices and moulding our perception of acceptability from a young age. We grow up believing that boys love fun and adventure and blue, while girls are pretty in pink with no other aspirations beyond decoration of self to please others, or rather to please those strong, manly heroes.
So, this morning I decided to run a completely unscientific experiment. Between (A) and I, we had eaten all the chocolate coins but still had the wrappers. I collected them all up in a bundle and asked (A) to pick out the wrappers he preferred.
After much deliberation the 7 pictured are the ones he chose – he likes the monster/shark/castle/aeroplane, loves chocolate, orange is his favourite colour and he is a boy – which ended up as a mixture of the 2 bags: 4 from the “boys” and 3 from the “girls” bags. Then he did something that was completely unexpected, he rearranged the discs into a specific order and told a story with the pictures. This is (A)’s story:
There was this monster who loved chocolate. Infact he lived on it. The monster wanted to be a rock star, but one day when he was swimming, he got chased by a shark. Luckily he was rescued by an aeroplane and taken to a castle for safety. But sadly for the monster, the castle was for boys only. The monster was not happy because it was a girl monster.
So the moral of this tale has to be, don’t restrict the choices given to kids based on gender (this also applies to any other ridiculously imposed restrictions), as the limitations are far further reaching.