Thursday, 4 December 2014

Be the change you want to see in the world (mark 2)

I have written a post with this title before but it's a fitting quote so I'm using it again, thank you Ghandi.

I was in discussion with Handbag Mafia on her interesting post on the No Gender December. She and I view this topic differently, both agreed it should change, but differing on who should make it happen. It's prompted me to write about instigating change, because to me, it's an easy fix. There are certain changes that can be made by the pressure of people power, and this is one of them. The mighty consumer only needs to redirect their dollar, and email the relevant stores as to why they redirected their dollar, and I can tell you now, if enough people do this, the stores will stop this type of marketing immediately.

The hitch, it may be more expensive, or you can't get your child the thing they want for Christmas. Here's the cold facts, you need to weigh up if you want the change enough to inconvenience yourself. Christmas doesn't have to be about getting toys, we choose to celebrate it that way. At any point we can change it. Santa doesn't have to bring what you ask for (remember when you asked for a pony?), we've lead them to expect that.

If you really want change, it requires more than sharing a facebook status. It needs time, or money, or going without - removing yourself from the equation. It can be hard work, or the unpopular choice.

I am greatly concerned about the environment, and I've altered a lot of the way I consume items and power (and resources) over the last few years. However, once a fortnight I sit down to watch F1, and I love it. Unfortunately, I know I do more damage to the environment with my tv on in that 2 hours than all my power & energy saving manoeuvres in the year. Thousands of people fly around the globe to watch it, and the cars burn millions of gallons of fuel to race for sport. My TV tuned into the race means advertisers support their enterprise. I am part of the problem. I can happily not use the clothes dryer, but I'm not prepared to inconvenience myself by not following a sport. I can't pretend I'm not solving the problem because it's too hard, or too big, I just don't want to give up something I like.

I pick this example as it's not money related, it's purely choice. I am not perfect, I understand that we don't really want to put ourselves out for our causes. I have also given you permission to call me out in my hypocrisy. This hypocrisy is how I know that the refusal not to buy the toys from the cheaper Gender marketing stores is just a rationalisation. We all do it, and while it's not admirable, it's human. In the No Gender December campaign, you can complain the government won't legislate against it, or you can start a movement to change it yourself.

If you really want change, you have to step up to the plate and make it happen. Go without something, if it means you aren't funding the status quo you're trying to change. In the story of Aki Ra, none of the selfish rationalisations took precedence. Whenever he hit a stumbling block, he worked around it. There's a lot we can learn from this exceptional man.

You really want change? It starts with you.

PS I am not for the Gender marketing, but I've always just ignored it. In Hangbag Mafia's post, she links to some interesting articles re the link to Domestic Violence. I'd love it if the shops stopped doing it, and if every 'girls' toy wasn't pink. I'd also prefer more well rounded Mother's Day and Father's Day promotions, while we're at it.

Linking up with #OpenSlather


  1. As always, a thought provoking post. I loved the discussion between you and Handbag Mafia. I agree with you - if we want to see the change, we should be prepared to make a stand with where we spend our $. If everyone stopped going to the big stores and let them know why, they would soon change their marketing. While I also agree that the government needs to do it's share, I don't think we can sit back and expect them to make all the changes - it just won't happen.
    I totally get how if everyone did this for a year or two, things would change - they would have to otherwise stores wouldn't last.
    Have a fantastic weekend - lotsa hugs !
    Me xox

  2. My very favourite quote, spoken at least weekly to my kids.
    Don't you wish we could make these changes? For every 2 people that want to, there are 300 that don't care which saddens me.

  3. Change does start with the individual. It's a conscious and determined decision made up of a series of small steps and persistence. It doesn't happen over night! I missed that discussion between ou and Handbag Mafia. Must go have a look when I get some time :-)

  4. I don't like the gender marketing either. I've managed to ignore it and teach my children differently. Until my daughter turned three. Eight years everyone's played with anything and has been capable of everything. Suddenly she sees very strong gender divides. She even tells her brothers off for singing 'girl' songs. It angers me and breaks my heart that she is teacher her brothers this. Boys that have always happily painted their nails and had babies are now being shamed by their younger sister. I don't know what went wrong.

  5. I remember the year I asked for a wheel barrow for Christmas, and guess what? I got one. Couldn't have been happier.
    The 'pink' aisles in the super market give me the wallies. I was so glad my girls grew up tomboys, but I have to agree with Sarah, there is something that just happen with girls around 3-4 and they just want to feed all the babies and wear nail polish and pretty clips in there hair.

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