Girls will be boys and boys will be girls

Many thanks to my colleagues who introduced this song to me today! Several interesting gender references!

Kinks – Lola 1973

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-23-03-30

Here are the lyrics:

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes like
a cherry-cola

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice
she said Lola L.o.l.a. Lola
La La La La Lola

Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy,
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
oh my Lola, la-la la-la Lola
Well, I’m not dumb, but I can’t understand
Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
oh my Lola, la-la la-la Lola
La-la la-la Lola

Well we drank champagne and danced all night
under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knees
said good boy, won’t you come home with me ?

Well, I’m not the world’s most passionate guy,
But when I looked in her eyes, well, I almost fell for my Lola
la-la la-la Lola,
La-la la-la Lola

Lola, la-la la-la Lola
la-la la-la Lola

I pushed her away
I walked to the door
I fell to the floor,
I got down on my knees
well I looked at her and she at me.

That’s the way, that I want it to stay
And I always wanted it to be that way for my Lola
la-la la-la Lola,
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls,
It’s a mixed up, mouled up, shook up world except for Lola
la-la la-la Lola

Well, I left home just a week before
and I’d never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola’s mine and took me by the hand
Said good boy gonna make you a man !”

Well, I’m not the world’s most mascular man,
But I know what I am I’m glad I’m a man and so is Lola
la-la la-la Lola,
La-la la-la Lola
la-la la-la Lola

Lola, la-la la-la Lo-la, la-la la-la Lo-la,
Lola, la-la la-la Lo-la

Advertisements

India: It’s all connected!

Yet again, another horrifying rape case shakes India, reminding us of the rampant violence

Street art in India

Street art in India, Pondicherry

against women in the country. However, I think I’m mostly baffled by the lack of analyses of why these acts of violence occur in the first place. How can one expect a society to respect girls and women when families only want boys? What kind of signals does it send when the birth of a daughter is of less value than that of a boy, and mothers are blamed when they don’t have any sons? The ramifications for the country’s demography are serious, when so many female embryos are aborted. It seriously skews the sex balance in the country, and leads to a large surplus of boys and men. This leads to many men having difficulties in getting married, and women become sources of frustration and anger, which in turn leads to the horrific cases of rape and sexual violence. It also leads to an increase of trafficking of the most vulnerable girls and women, and sex slavery. In addition, how can one expect people to have a natural relationship to the opposite sex and sexuality when they live so segregated from each others, and normal  interactions are restricted? When girls’ and young women’s worth only equals their chastity and virginity status?

Things are changing in the cities, but in many parts of the country, traditions and conservative gender stereotypes still prevail. Nobody wins from this, and both women and men suffer from the consequences.

The power of colours

From the second we are born, the process of shaping us as women and men begins.

Norwegian children's books. The pink is for "tough girls", and the blue for "tough boys".

Norwegian children’s books. The pink is for “tough girls”, and the blue for “tough boys”.

(Yes, there are many theories about what is nature and what is nurture, but the fact is that there is no society today which is gender neutral. Hence, we do not know to what extent we could have been gender neutral if there were no norms about how girls and boys should behave.)

Girls are wrapped in pink blankets, and boys in blue. But it was not always like that, as The Forgotten History Blog describes. However, today, pink is considered to be feminine, cute, dainty, and is related to characteristics which “good girls” are taught: obedience, gentleness, sensitivity to emotions, considerations for others, non-selfishness, etc. However, girls and women can use blue without being mocked.

Boys, on the other hand, are taught to be tough, strong, and society accept that they are rowdy, loud, careless, and somewhat egoistic. Boys are told not to “be a girl”, to “man up”, and to “not be a mama’s boy”. Very few boys or men use pink, as femininity in men as a rule is frowned upon.

Aren’t both stereotypes just as limiting for any child’s development, and can’t they alienate individuals with other characteristics and traits than those encouraged for their particular sex? I believe so.