We must celebrate gender gap

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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There was a time, in the not too distant past, that I didn’t know what my friends were having for tea, or where they were going for a pint.

I had little idea which causes they supported, or how many times they woke up in the night for a wee.

Now social media makes all that information available to me daily. Well thanks Mr Zuckerberg and friends, thanks a lot.

This week I have been inundated with images of other people’s children, impeccably dressed in their new school uniforms, looking like butter wouldn’t melt.

Each is perfectly posed outside their house, with straight ties, perfect ponytails and any errant strands of hair, held down by the power of mummy’s spittle.

Yes, it’s ‘front door photo week,’ as I like to call it, as children across the city head to school for the first time or move on up to ‘big school’, to find out whether the scary tales they have been told by older kids, are true or not.

It has become the norm recently for parents to share these pictures of pride across social media and whilst I understand it, as a proud parent myself, I find it all a little unsettling.

I am very careful which pictures I post of my daughter as I think it is her right to choose, later in life, whether she wants to partake in this online information frenzy

She may not want to be plastered all over the web, but some Mums and Dads don’t seem to have any such concerns.

Sometimes I think some people just use social media to show off their wares.

A platform for boasting and one-upmanship if you like – holidays, cars, sausage rolls, you name it and people are bragging about it online, and now that includes perfect Jimmies and Jennies, in perfect uniforms.

That will all change soon of course when John Lewis extends it’s ‘gender neutral’ campaign to include school uniforms.

It is the first retailer to remove gender labels from its clothes and do away with separate sections in store, for boys and girls.

It claims that this will reduce, what it calls, ‘gender stereotyping’ and encourage freedom of choice.

So, next year’s pre-school photos should be interesting; I am expecting to see plenty of boys in flowery skirts and pop socks, whilst the girls can choose to wear trousers that chafe where they shouldn’t and ties that cut off the blood supply to the brain. Honestly, when did the world go slightly mad?

I for one think we need a gender gap and that men and women’s differences should be appreciated, celebrated and encouraged.

It doesn’t do for us all to be the same, living in a totally homogenised society.

We are different.

Boys need to learn how to become men, husbands and fathers.

Girls need to understand how to become women, mothers and wives.

I am all for equality and choice...

But, let’s not confuse our children any further, judging by the recent SATS tests, Peterborough’s are confused enough by basic maths.