My goal in writing this series was to delve into the intersections of feminism, parenting and pop culture, and I did my best to tackle as many topics as possible in my eight weeks here. (Although of course, I’m still left staring at a laundry list of things I wanted to write about…isn’t that always the case?)
I came into this thinking that I had a pretty firm grasp on most issues related to pop culture, parenting and feminism; it was with a bit of a thrill that I ended up getting into topics that I had previously known very little about, like the Bronies. I also loved when I came at you all, venting my frustration on certain things, and was met with enthusiastic responses that included alternatives, commiserating, and hopeful suggestions I hadn’t thought of before. I am now armed with stories of kick-ass princesses, kid-friendly comic books, and music that won’t make my ears bleed thanks to everyone who has been following along. Writing this series not only allowed me to vent my frustrations on toys, grocery stores, McDonald’s and more, but it also gave me the opportunity to speak with some phenomenal women. I talked mama-activism with Radical Housewife, Shannon Drury, princess culture with author Peggy Orenstein, and music, motherhood & feminism with musician and activist Ani DiFranco.
Hopefully you’ve come away from these posts with some thoughts on the challenging aspects of raising a kid in this pop-culture centric society—a society that tends to revolve heavily around traditional, inflexible, and in some cases, negative gender stereotypes. With a little humor, some creative thinking, and the support of like-minded folks, my hope is that as time passes, these challenges become fewer and farther between as people start to realize that in the end, it’s about kids being kids, and not necessarily about squishing them into potentially ill-fitting gender boxes.
And, maybe we’re on our way there. Hell, I’ll even take victories like the recent decision of a UK toy store to start organizing their aisles by type rather than gender. While the toy store denies making the change because of customer pressure to change their gender codified system, the fact that they made it at all is a step in the right direction in my book. But then I hear about LEGO’s new line of “Ladyfigs” and their “girly” new blocks (after decades of providing awesome gender-neutral toys) and I get a little deflated. However, the positive responses I’ve received with this series, along with watching how my son and his friends live their little lives, makes me feel like perhaps not all hope is lost. As we wade through the pink and blue sea together, we can continue to call out companies for their ridiculous (and profit-driven) decisions, praise the folks who get it right, and cross our fingers that along the way our kids turn out alright.
While my time here at Bitch is done for the now, you can still find me picking apart all things related to parenting, feminism, and pop culture over on my site, The Mamafesto (as well as in my freelance pieces), or come join me as I rant and rave (and post random You Tubes) over on Twitter.
I want to thank everyone for reading along, sharing your thoughts on the topics covered, and for generally being awesome and welcoming in my time here. I also want to thank everyone at Bitch for allowing me to take on this aspect of pop culture. And a big thanks to Kelsey and Kjerstin for helping me along the way, one post at a time.
I leave you all now (most likely to either paint nails with my son, or have him beat my ass in Mario Kart) with wishes for a fabulous new year. May 2012 be the year that we’re all (adult and child alike) free to be… you and me!
I mean…if little Riley gets it, then why can’t everyone else?: