Gender boxes

On my drive home two nights ago I was stuck in traffic. Had this not been the case I probably wouldn't have noticed the bill board. As it was, I had to do a double take to figure out what was clever or interesting about it - I just couldn't figure out what was happening. I've tried and failed to find a picture of it online, but it was a Santander advert for their new account, and they are encouraging people to 'switch' to it - switch being the operative word for as I worked out after a minute or two of staring, the man in the photo was wearing a floral apron, and the woman was wearing denim overalls. Oh dear. Is this really so obviously out of place (and a switch) to everyone?
I'm feeling particularly aware of these public images after a few recent incidents with our daughter. She has become a bit obsessed at nursery with a big plastic toy car, not dissimilar to this:
 Every time I've collected her for the last 3 weeks she's been in it or pushing it or being pushed in it! I joked with her carer that when we move to a bigger house I'll have to think about getting her one. Her response (which I suspect she now regrets) was 'Oh you can get her the pink one!'
She is in no doubt that we will be doing no such thing (I also may have proceeded to explain about Victorian boys in pink and Red being Christmas colours because of Coka Cola... sorry lovely nursery carers...). Later the same week we were waiting at a hospital check up appointment and E was wearing funky new jeans from her Great Uncle in Australia and a red t shirt with an elephant on. She had had a hair clip in (to keep her hair out of her eyes) but she'd removed it and tried to eat it so I was hanging onto that. Her socks were baby blue with little flowers on. Her sippy cup was turquoise. She was playing on the floor with stacking cups and with a fire truck. And I could see the folk around me trying to figure her out. They needed to put her in a box. And they couldn't. We see gender in the person in front of us before we even know we have registered it. But E was confusing people. They needed to know what type of baby was being so cute, and they just couldn't put their finger on it. I loved it. 

Why should girls and boys need different coloured cars? Why should an advert of a man in an apron be him being something other than his normal self? We are all different, and sex and gender play their part in defining who we are, and who we are not, wherever we are on that spectrum. But it should not limit us in who and what we can be in the world. Pink is a perfectly lovely colour. But there is a whole rainbow out there, and I hope E sees and is allowed to see all of it. 


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