Girls’ things are shameful for boys, I see

Oh the horror! Chris Hoy’s first bike was a girl’s!

Chris Hoy is a wonderful athlete who has achieved incredible cycling success, and he seems like a nice guy too. His parents must be incredibly proud of him. But isn’t it a shame that his mum seems to think the fact his first bike was a “girl’s bike” (whatever that is, it’s not like frame shape makes much difference to primary school kids) is something amusing/embarrassing/shameful, or at least that’s the tone the Edinburgh Evening News have given it. Mind you, it’s a pretty crap paper these days.

This throwaway piece has pissed me off. The tone of it is just more of the “male/masculine = default state = good, female/feminine = variant state = lesser” culture that’s all around us. Putting aside the gender stereotyping of girls’ things and boys’ things, we all know that girls who like boys’ things are regarded with affection for their tomboy ways. Boys who like girls’ things are treated with derision. Tomboy’s a much nicer word than cissy. A girl who wants a boy’s bike, a toolkit, a football – well, she’s viewed as energetic, brave, refusing to accept limits, wanting to be as good as a boy. A boy who wants makeup, sewing kits, ballet lessons – he’s an embarrassment, he should be shamed out of his preferences and sent off to boxing lessons.

So the idea that an Olympic medal-winning cyclist started on a girl’s bike – well, that must be so embarrassing for him.