Andrtea T Edwards

Girls can Only be Princesses

I was talking about my Army days with the boys the other day. It’s not the first time I’ve talked about it, but it obviously still hasn’t registered in their memory banks that their mum was once a soldier. A musician soldier, but I still had to do basic training and in the Australian Army, all soldiers are really soldiers. It’s a serious business. Anyhoo, Jax looks at me and musters all the authority a seven year old has, saying:

“Mum you weren’t in the Army. Girls can’t be in the Army. Girls can only be princesses!”

What? Why would you say that? Of course girls can be in the Army. They can be prime ministers, presidents, police officers, CEOs, nurses, doctors, professors, whatever the hell they want to be!

Jax was not convinced. So I pulled out my photo album and showed him some pictures of that glorious time in my life back in 1992. Here’s one of my favorites. Fierce huh? 

Well it wasn’t a joke and if you were too delicate, you got your arse kicked, especially by the male sergeant and corporals. They were definitely of the opinion that the military was no place for a lady. Screw them. I’d prove them wrong. Then again, I was never a lady.

But Jax has some funny ideas about girls. He tells me girls can’t be funny, they can only be pretty when I tell him having a funny girlfriend is the most important thing. No Mum, only boys can be funny.

Imagine how this all resonates with me for a second? My son, MY son, declaring that girls are not capable of being funny, or a leader, or a warrior, or whatever the hell they want to be. Naturally I’ll spend the next 20 or so years making sure these ideas are slapped out of him, but where does it come from?

At the end of prep, we had a little end of year show and there was a video featuring all the kids talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. For some reason Jax wanted to be a rugby player, and while there’s a very strong chance this could happen, at that point, he’d never played or watched a match. Where did he get that idea from?

But all of the girls – split 50/50 – had two ambitions. Half to be mums and the other to be princesses. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a mum, but the princess ambition is a little more unlikely if we do the numbers right? Only one Aussie princess in all of history, so our little Aussie angels have a fairly unlikely chance of achieving that one. It could happen, nothing is impossible, but…

When I see stuff like this, I always wonder why young girls don’t want to be something else at that age? Did I dream of being a princess or a mother at five, six and seven? I can only ever remember wanting to be a police woman when I was young. I got close to doing it too, although I’m glad I didn’t. Do we not talk to them about these things from a young age? I mean many of these girls had working mum role models, so it’s not that. I just find it curious that their imaginations are not as fired up to be firemen or policemen, or other stuff like our little dudes are. Is it the movies they watch? The cartoons? It’s hard for me to know because I don’t watch girly TV and movies. Anyone else know?

In the meantime, my little Jax is getting a big fat lesson in girl power.

Right now he’s watching YouTube. Oi Jax, pause that a sec. What jobs can girls do when they grow up?

 “They can be policemen, presidents, firemen, and racing car drivers mum.”

Good he’s learning.

Yours, without the bollocks

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