With the exception of the rail replacement bus service that greeted my return to work, I had quite a good day today. I left the house with a spring in my step, actually enjoyed being back in the office, and was treated to a hero’s welcome from my three kids when I eventually made it home tonight. But since then, everything’s gone downhill – and it’s all thanks to the discovery of this:
What you see there, ladies and gentlemen, is an item that, according to The Sun’s Deputy Political Editor, Steve Hawkes (@steve_hawkes), is apparently on sale in Sports Direct. Because as we all know, in 21st century Britain it’s entirely appropriate to tell our daughters that a dustpan and brush is for girls. It would be be silly to dream that my two daughters might one day become actors, or doctors, or butchers or bakers or candlestick makers if that’s really what they had their hearts set upon. Instead, I should just take them down to Sports Direct, point at what’s on display, and explain that, you know, dreams are all very well for boys, but the best they can hope for is to one day reach the lofty status of a modern-day Cinderella.
I can already hear the cries of “you’re overreacting” – but am I? In a world where we already know that girls are so often at a disadvantage, and that boys’ views of them are tainted by all sorts of unhelpful imagery and everyday sexism, why on earth are some people buying this stuff?