Ever since I was 7, I’ve been wondering if there was something wrong with me. I woke up every morning for almost 20 years with the question floating through my mind, between thoughts of food and coffee. The inside of my head sounded something like “I’m hungry, what should I have for breakfast? I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I know: coffee.” The answer is always coffee.
Now I know for sure. There is definitely something wrong with me, because it’s Saturday evening and I’m going to my friend’s house to babysit for her. As I pass hoards of party people, some of them already in a joyful state of inebriation, the certainty that something is wrong with me grows stronger. I try to focus on the music that’s now blaring in my headphones. At some point, I swear I can hear Strummer screaming “There’s something wrong with you” between the lyrics of Cheapskates. Surely, missing out on the parties I was supposed to attend in order to spend the night with the spoiled brats my friend birthed is a sign of something being completely messed up in my head.
Maybe my brain’s been bleeding somewhere in the frontal lobe, thus changing my personality. This may sound extreme, but my friend has three girls, which is reason enough to say no to babysitting. They always look like they came out of a Disney book and that creeps me out. What’s up with those Elsa dresses they keep wearing? This Frozen shit is like crystal meth for little girls.
I look around at girls aged 2 to 7 and all I can see is a future generation of Taylor Swift-loving idiots waiting for some dumbass Prince Charming to kiss their loneliness away. Yesterday I saw a toddler wearing a pink onesie that said “future trophy wife” in capital dark pink letters. Her mum was pushing the buggy around with a smug look on her face, as if already envisioning the life of her offspring in the shadow of some poor fucker who’d have to work 80 hours a week to support the fifties cliche he chose as a wife.
Isn’t society supposed to evolve? Why the fuck are we heading back to the last century? What’s with all these gender stereotypes? Women get pregnant and they can’t wait to find out the sex of the baby, just to know if they should decorate the nursery in tones of pink or blue, although I imagine it won’t be long until some nutjob will have their house covered in shades of grey – about fifty of them. Poor foetuses haven’t even developed fingerprints at the time their fate is decided and colour-coded.
“Oh, baby, Mummy loves you so much. Now, because you have a vagina, you will have to wear headache-inducing colours, play with dolls and survive on lettuce for the vast majority of your life. Please don’t step out of this tiny pink glittery box or you’ll have a very hard time. Other than that, welcome to the world, it’s lovely having someone I can dump all my unaccomplished hopes and dreams on.” Does that sound messed up to you? That’s because it is.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s much the same with boys. The only reason I’m focusing on girls is the fact that I’m surrounded by them and it’s obnoxious seeing this happening every single day. My friend is a nice woman, but she’s making the same mistake as most mothers nowadays. I stopped visiting her by the time her second daughter turned 2. The last time I went to see them, her lounge was something out of a horror story. A pink, glittery horror story. It was Disney meets Stephen King. Carrie at the prom covered in glittery blood. I don’t know if ‘glitter allergy’ is a thing, but it should be and I should try and get it. It would be the perfect excuse to stay away from the three future housewives with sticky hands and weird white wigs that she’s raising.
We think we’re the lucky ones, the ones free and educate their children in that spirit of freedom and accomplishment. Yet there’s a girl across the world who faced bullets in order to protect her right to go to school, at an age when girls in Western countries post pouting selfies on Instagram because they don’t have a boyfriend to validate their worth. We think they’re savage because they force their daughters into marriage, yet we’re so quick to judge a woman who gets to a certain age and is still single and childless.
We jump on our high horses and descend onto ‘poor, uneducated’ peoples to serve them a nice warm slice of our wisdom, not realizing it smells oddly like shit. You’ll read a magazine article praising some Hollywood star’s feminist campaign, then turn the page and find ‘beauty tips’ and ‘diet advice’, because surely, as a woman, you can’t be interested in much else.
And all this shit starts with the Disney movies that seem so perfectly innocent. We take our little girls and spoon feed them all the stereotypes you can think of: girls always have teeny tiny waists, princes are handsome and if you see someone physically ugly in the movie you can bet they’re the bad guy. That’s why they grow up to quickly help that young man in an expensive suit who suddenly got sick in the middle of the street, while ignoring the homeless who’s probably dying under their eyes. And if they somehow grow up without having the perfect princess body, that’s fine, they have the women magazines to teach them all about lemon detox and how to hide their pimples.
People often ask me why I hate children. They assume I do, because I quit teaching for no apparent reason and I say I don’t want to have children of my own. I don’t hate children, though. I hate their parents and their ignorance. I hate how I saw a woman say ‘no’ when her daughter wanted a green tee with a dinosaur on it and buy a pink one instead; when people say to me “you’re too smart for your own good”, but never say it to my brother or my male friends; when they assume a woman is single because she can’t “keep a man around” and not because she actually chooses to be single; when a boy is “gay” because he likes to knit rather than watch football; when “real men have muscles” and “real women have curves” because if you’re too skinny you’re less of a man or a woman.
It’s a two-edged sword, though, because the victims of the issue are also the enforcers of it. Growing up with this bullshit makes children see the world in a very twisted way. They’re not only the ones trying hard to fit in, but also the ones who judge others for not succeeding.
And yes, I still stand by my opinion – it all starts with the fuckin’ Disney movies. I’d like to see Disney make a movie about an average sized girl who likes chocolate a bit too much, binge-watches Netflix at weekends and works a shitty job to pay her way through her neuroscience degree, all the while being single and far from frustrated by it. Or maybe a musical about a princess falling in love with another princess and flipping those who stand against it. But god forbid we teach our children something about real life, right?