Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Sometimes, it's not just dressing mannequins...
Part of my job is dressing mannequins. It's like playing Barbies, but bigger.
On Sunday I was changing some mannies and I felt eyes watching me. People often stop and watch us when we are working. We could start a drinking game where every time someone says something like "What are you doing to that girl!" we have a shot. We would work drunk EVERY DAY.
Oh, and we are about to start setting up Christmas, so the 'Christmas already! It's only September!' Drinking Game can resume. Alcohol poisoning, here we come!!
Anyhoo, I turned around and saw a little girl of about six studying my every move. Little girls are super cute when they see us dressing the mannies. they probably think we have the best job in the world! Playing dress ups all day!
The little girl was so fascinated with what I was doing. The clothes I was putting on the girls were neon yellows, little shorts, hot pink and bright orange shoes. This little girl was wearing a muslim head scarf and a long sleeve dress over jeans. Her mum was wearing the same.
It made me think. What does she see when she looks at these beautiful mannequins wearing brightly coloured, modern, sometimes revealing clothing? At her age, she probably doesn't understand that this is (apparently) not for her. That she will never be allowed to wear clothes like this. I wonder if she does have some understanding as she is already wearing a head scarf. I wonder what the rationale is and how it is explained to a little girl that although she lives in amongst all these colours and imagery, it's not for her. I hope it is explained in a way that doesn't make that little girl feel bad about herself.
Then it made me think, what about the other little girls who watch me, who then think that these mannequins are what women should look like? Am I perpetuating an unrealistic ideal for little girls? I despise Bratz dolls and Rhianna film clips and all the bullshit sexual imagery that is bombarding our little girls. I don't want to be part of that cycle.
Hhhmm. I don't judge the muslim parents for dressing their little girl in that head scarf, that is their choice as part of their religion- which I don't know enough about to comment on. But I do wonder how that little girl will reconcile the disparity between what she is and what she sees around her. Is she told that being a girl/ woman is to be ashamed of and should be covered up?
I DO judge the parents who dress their little girls in age inappropriate clothing and allow them to be brainwashed into thinking they have to be 'sexy' or attractive to men to be worthwhile.
Being a girl is fricking complicated sometimes. Throw in head scarves and hotpants and boys and it can all get unbelievably convoluted.
My hope for all the little girls is self confidence and self respect- regardless of what cultural or social expectations are placed on her...