C and I are at the local council getting a directory on kindergartens in our area and I see a poster for a kids' writing competition.
It's for 12 to 18 years and you can win an iPod and so i think Naughty Nephew 1st might like to have a crack. Also you have to write about Inspirational Women and I approve of that, I think that's rather good.
So then I pick up an entry form and I see that it's for GIRLS ONLY and I'm a little torn here.
On the one hand I think it's good for girls to be given opportunities and special events.
I think if I was a 12 to 18 year old girl again, I might feel a bit shy and lack the confidence to enter something like a writing competition. I might also appreciate that fifty percent of the competition has just been knocked out of the ring and I might say that after all there are plenty of activities dominated by boys.
But why is it only girls who get to write about inspirational women? Boys can be inspired by women too. God knows we get to hear about a helluva lot of male heroes that both boys and girls can be inspired by.
And actually i think it rather good if boys in particular are encouraged to think more about the inspiring qualities of women.
Thanks to some rather ghastly Australian football player shenanigans, there has been a lot of discussion recently about respect and attitudes towards women, but this is an old argument, an old discussion. I just think this competition missed an opportunity to encourage respect and positive attitudes.
The entry form says things like: Have you ever read a story about a woman's bravery and thought: "What an inspiration."?
Is there someone in your family who has had a profound impact on your life?
And these are good things for all kids to think about, genitals aside.
But in the end I think what really threw me was the literary quote on the front of the brochure.
Sadly, competition organisers had chosen a quote from a male writer which seemed contrary to the whole girlpower thing.
And bizarrely that quote was this:
"The pen is the tongue of the mind."
And agreed at first i just glanced at it, and also I am one of two sleep deprived, overworked parents, but i cannot be the only person who looked at the quote on that page and read dick.