An Australian dad has achieved online fame after penning a hilarious letter, which called out the inherent sexism in his daughter’s school.
According to Stephen Callaghan (otherwise known as, amazingly, @Grumplestiltskin), his 12-year-old daughter, Ruby, was recently ushered into the school library with all the other girls in her class to get a makeover.
The boys, meanwhile, went on a field trip to their local hardware store, Bunnings. Yes, really.
While both activities sound equally awful (a trip to a hardware store? Enforced make-up time in the library?), the inherent sexism in how the groups were split really got Callaghan’s back up.
So he did what any sane person would do: he sat down and wrote an incredibly pointed letter, dripping with sarcasm.
Check it out:
“I must draw your attention to a serious incident,” writes Callaghan. “When Ruby left for school yesterday it was 2017 but when she returned home in the afternoon she was from 1968.
“I know this to be the case as Ruby informed me that the ‘girls’ in Year 6 would be attending the school library to get their hair and make-up done on Monday afternoon while the ‘boys’ are going to Bunnings. Are you able to search the school buildings for a rip in the space-time continuum? Perhaps a faulty Flux Capacitor hidden away in the girls toilet block?
“I look forward to this being rectified and my daughter and other girls at the school being returned to this this millennium where school activities are not divided sharply along gender lines.”
The letter is, of course, hilarious – but, as the online response has shown, it is also indicative of a much wider problem.
Yeah, they do this crap at my kid's holiday care thing. The boys have 'unbelievably amazing adventure day' (I'm paraphrasing) and meanwhile the girls have 'makeover day'.— Jamie Q Roberts (@Jamieqroberts) December 6, 2017
I’d much prefer Bunnings!— Röbïnä (@RubyandAlex) December 6, 2017
I had to fight to do maths enrichment instead of grooming and deportment classes when I was at school. I was the only girl in that class 😊
went to a girls college and we only had classes like home economics and sewing... while the boys college had metal, woodworking and engineering... this was 2008 my last year...think it's still like that cos my lil sis goes there pic.twitter.com/GcFTwCyAb1— ✨Annabelle✨ (@AnnabelleLui) December 6, 2017
This reminds me of Women In Aviation Week a few years ago, where an event event invitation ended with “Ladies: Bring a plate.” I wrote back and suggested that maybe they mistyped “plane,” and should issue a correction.— Mark Newton (@NewtonMark) December 6, 2017
No adult *needs* to be able to apply lipstick. But almost all of us will need to use power tools, build shelves, or fix the lawnmower at some point. School is for learning. A makeover is 'fun' (for some), DIY is real world education.— Delly Lama (@deltrimental) December 7, 2017
Loving this story. I was told as a child what I couldn't do because I was a girl & I've resented it my entire life. We need more parents like you.— Kim V. Goldsmith (@kvgoldsmith) December 7, 2017
You know what, even if she didn't want to be an engineer, even if all little girls actually did enjoy hair and makeup, what pisses me off more than anything is that most so-called 'boys' activities are *valuable practical life skills*.— Delly Lama (@deltrimental) December 7, 2017
When I was her age I wore shorts to school in defiance of a rule that said that girls couldn't wear them. Fight the good fight, Ruby!— Ren (@renata_pirata) December 7, 2017
Others, meanwhile, simply offered their support to Callaghan – and told him to tell his daughter “to always stand proud and tall”.
“There is NOTHING in this world she can’t do, achieve and learn if she wants it,” said one user.
“Keep banging down doors, and don’t take no for an answer.”
Ruby and I would like to thank you for the great comments of support. At 12 years of age my daughter is starting to notice there are plenty of people prepared to tell her what she can & can't do based solely on the fact she is female.— Grumplestiltskin (@2FBS) December 7, 2017
She would like this to change.
So would I.
Overwhelmed by the response his post received, Callaghan has since responded with another message.
“Ruby and I would like to thank you for the great comments of support. At 12 years of age my daughter is starting to notice there are plenty of people prepared to tell her what she can and can’t do based solely on the fact she is female.
“She would like this to change. So would I.”
With a feminist ally like Callaghan at her side, we hope Ruby will help to forge the change we all hope to see.