Seven feet tall, fixated facial features and an ice cream cone for a body.
That was my figure yesterday as I stood in the frozen yogurt shop where I work dressed as the mascot to take pictures with kids at a party. It was only for a few minutes — thank god.
But in those few minutes I witnessed something that my sewn-on smile did not reflect. My co-worker handed the adult several goodie bags — one for each kid — and my boss said, “There’s pink for the girls and green for the boys,” in a very matter-of-fact, don’t-mess-with-the-system kind of way. The lady took them, smiling, and said, “I’ll hand them out while we’re leaving and make sure the boys get green and the girls get pink.” They exchanged glances that said, “You know how kids are.”
I immediately became very skeptical, as I so often do. I question that all adults really know how all kids are. I find it hard to believe that all kids conform to “color rules” as these adults assumed they do. At my job I watch many parents act similarly all the time…the mom picks the pink spoon for herself and the green for her son because “I’m a girl and you’re a boy”. Some parents tease their sons by suggesting they take the pink spoons, and some males take the pink on purpose and make a big deal out of it.
These subtle (or not-so-subtle) reinforcements and ridicules of gender roles are unnecessary and ultimately disappointing. I’m constantly astounded that adults often act so childish in front of their children.