I bought this card matching game for baby bear at Goodwill the other day. I thought that the pictures were kind of cute and naming animals is a popular pastime around here and eventually we will be able to use it to play memory games.
But then I decided that actually, it really pisses me off. Not the cards so much but the name - why on earth does it have to be mothers and their babies? Granted, the cow has an udder so that's a mummy cow and her calf but otherwise - the cat, the dog, the elephant? - they could all be a daddy with his young. I suppose that the concept reflects the fact that children do spend more time with their mothers but it also promulgates a social value that mothers and children belong together and fathers are elsewhere. This notion not only robs mothers of the opportunity to be somewhere else (like work) but it also robs fathers of the opportunity to be with their children.
I'd be the first to acknowledge the 'special bond' between mother and child but I'd also be the first to question whether its special status just reflects social norms or whether there is actually a qualitative difference with the bond between father and child. Having never been a father it is impossible for me, or anyone else I think, to say.
Everywhere, including in the crafting world, I see and hear rampant gender bias - "It's a great first sewing project for a little girl". Rubbish, it's a great sewing project for a child, any child. At a shopping centre last week I heard a young girl tell her mother that she wanted a certain Lego set for Christmas. "No no, you can't. That's not a girl's toy", the mother replied. !!!. Yeah, and engineering and architecture and anything else requiring spatial abilities and creativity are not women's professions.
We are making every effort to raise baby bear with a wide variety of toys, books and activities. Yes, she has a doll house but she also has a great train set which she just loves. And she'll sit for a good half hour on her own playing Lego, totally engrossed.
So anyway, in our house it is only a mummy animal where physiology dictates; all the others are an even mix of mummies and daddies. One might think that a small child wouldn't be worried by the udder but yes, correct physiology does matter. Don't even get me started on the correct usage of vulva and vagina.