I am a girl.
Well, I’m actually a woman.
But in the context of being the mother of a four year old boy, I’m a girl.
I fart. Loudly and with impunity.
Not at work obviously. Or in polite company. But in the privacy of my own home, I let them rip with the best of them.
I also burp.
I do smelly poos sometimes. And maybe if I’m sick I might have diarrhoea, be constipated, have a snotty nose, bad breathe or cough up a bunch of green phlegm.
I smell of sweat when I exercise heavily.
Just like boys.
Because I’m not a genteel, mythical figure who rises above such base bodily functions. I’m a normal, red-blooded – and red faced – human, like every other boy and girl out there.
My skin is not always cool to the touch when it’s sweltering outside. No more than it is soft and warm when there’s snow on the ground. My body works just like yours: as it should.
When we tell small children with feigned dismay that “girls don’t fart” or do other “rude” things, that’s when it starts. That’s when the divide begins.
I’m not being a humourless feminist about something that’s “just a joke, lighten up”. I’m just a being a feminist.
It’s not fair on men and it’s not fair on women.
If we are serious about raising our children to live in a mutually respectful society where we are all equal and people have healthy, sustainable relationships, we need to stop creating unrealistic and unattainable expectations for women, while also painting men as flawed and unworthy of said angels of purity. Innocent and well-intentioned as the comments might be, it’s the little things that lay the groundwork for change – both negatively and positively.
Small children more or less believe everything they hear. Why would they question it? Especially when they hear it over and over again. They don’t see the twinkle in the adult eye or the nudge with the elbow. They just see the unicorns.
Girls are not unicorns. Girls fart.