While scrolling through my Facebook feed filled with popular culture ideals, I came across a meme portraying the stereotypes of a young girl. The meme challenged the stereotype of young girls as princesses. Popular culture today is filled with female ideals that young girls are “supposed” to be into pink, purple, princesses, dolls, playing kitchen, the list goes on and on. The concept of gender is heavily discussed in the Keywords essay of “Gender” by Erica Hateley. Throughout the novel, “The Little House on the Prairie”, the girl stereotypes are seen within young Laura, Mary, and Baby Carrie. This Facebook meme challenges these stereotypes and dares young girls to express whatever they are passionate about whether it agrees or disagrees with popular beliefs.
Erica Hateley, in her Keywords essay, “Gender” describes many different topics relating to the concept of gender. The essay talks about gender as a socially constructed practice, meaning that the idea of gender and how children display their gender is based on their learnings within society. For example, if a young girl puts on her pink sparkly dress, she may be rewarded or complimented and then continue to wear pink sparkly clothing in the future because she may think that’s what girls do. Within the novel, “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mama often teaches the three young daughters, Mary, Laura, and Baby Carrie how to be “good girls.” Mama does this by teaching them to use lady-like manners, wear their clean proper dresses, complete their domestic chores such as laundry, babysitting, etc. All of the “good girl” ideals they are taught are the associated stereotypes of a young girl. The Facebook meme however, challenges these ideas. It illustrates the message that girls should dare to be different if they so choose. The “Gender” essay describes that gender is not “one size fits all” but instead young children can display a mix of feminine and masculine characteristics. Though often times when we think of the word girl, we picture a young lady with perfectly groomed hair, a pink dress and a doll in her hands, perhaps society should begin to challenge this image and broaden their idea of what characteristics a girl can display.