Girl Camps: manicures and bath bombs!

It’s that time of year where you’re probably looking into summer camps for you kids.

Apparently, Richmond Hill, ON and Ottawa have learned the trickier nuances to time travel and successfully imported summer camps from the 1950s to teach your girls the necessary skills in being a good housewife.  *insert gasp…or sigh…or just shake your head*
In Richmond Hill, the Boyz Rule Camp were being offered “a week of extreme sports!” and included roller blading, biking, and skateboarding (amongst other sporting activities).  Girlz Rock was offering tons of “girl-friendly fun” and participants should bring their photos to create amazing scrapbooks and to “colour their world with a mini-manicure and mini-pedicure”.  Oh, plus cooking and baking.

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Over in Ottawa, the boys get to hang-out in the Man Cave playing video games or get messy with Grease Monkeys whereas the girls are offered Fit Chicks (and learn about making healthy snacks) and Real Beauty (which, yes, incorporates outdoor activiy {yay!} but also includes how to make jewelry and a bath bombs).

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Let me be very, very clear with all of this:  there is nothing inherently wrong with the activities being offered.  There is nothing wrong with being female and liking scrapbooking or wanting to make your own bath bombs.  There is something wrong with the strict gender division of these activities.  Why the heck can’t boys learn how to make healthy snacks?

I also recognize and value the need for all-boys and all-girls activities –  who doesn’t like a fun girls night (or boys night)?   It’s not about trying to force men and women to love everything the same.  It’s about creating the opportunities for our youth to explore things they want to do, regardless of gender.  Girls and women generally learn differently from boys and men.  Attending a women’s only biking clinic is an incredibly empowering experience:  it’s about creating a supportive versus competitive learning environment.   And it’s ok to recognize and celebrate those differences!  We don’t have to shy away from that fact that we are female.  Work with it.

Thankfully, both Richmond Hill and Ottawa have pulled the particular ads for their respective camps after a fairly large public outcry.  Both Buzzfeed Canada and CBC picked up Ariel Troster’s blog on it here: https://queerfemmemama.wordpress.com.

These camps are just two examples of such camps that likely exist across the country, blatantly reinforcing false gender stereotypes. So let’s stop that:  speak up if your community has done this/is doing it now.  

If your son wants to go make a sweet, glittery scrapbook – he should be allowed!

If your daughter wants to learn how to skateboard, let her! 

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