My story to share in assembly…
I found a story to share with the girls for my assembly on Monday morning. It was on the theme of trustworthiness and was all about two siblings, one honest and the other dishonest.
When I delved further into the details I began to see another theme emerging. The siblings were brothers, the mischievous characters they met in their travels were male and it involved a king who locked up his daughter for wanting to marry his biggest rival. Of course, she had been tricked into doing this being so young, naïve and pretty.
I could easily have told the story as it was in order to make my main points about being honest and admitting your mistakes. But I found it impossible to ignore the undercurrent of misogyny that was inherent in the tale. With this in mind I used the main premises of the story and rewrote it to be more inclusive for everyone involved.
The process made me consider how much casual sexism I have witnessed in print and on screen throughout my life. I do believe that things are changing as was considered at the GDST conference last year. It is wonderful to see that leading female heroes are finally becoming part of the landscape in high budget movies like Wonderwoman and Star Wars. In the past they would only have been part of the supporting cast.
It is vital that in school and at home we do not reinforce lazy stereotypes and empower everyone to make their own way in life. This is one reason that there are a much bigger variety of costumes in our pre-school dressing-up corner. It is not a case of always being a princess, but finding costumes across a whole range of different professions and settings.