As someone who is a total unapologetic Royalist, I really love seeing how the newest generation of Royals are doing and what they are up to, especially as I have a little boy the same age.
I thought it was amazing that Prince George, who is the definition of the nation’s sweetheart, loves dancing and has taken up ballet. My initial thought was ‘what a great way to start smashing gender stereotypes at such a young age!’
Queue the sigh though: he has been mocked on one of the biggest shows in the world – Good Morning America – where a host made discriminative, sexist and stereotypical comments about his hobby. Whilst she got a few laughs in the audience, her comments have caused outrage across the globe.
The host did make a swift apology after receiving backlash but why, even with worldwide success of shows like Dancing with the Stars and Billy Elliott, are we still struggling with such tired gender stereotypes? What will this do for younger generations who want to partake in hobbies but are frightened of reactions like this? How will this impact on the flow of new ideas and fresh perspectives in society, the arts, industry, and beyond?
We know that people discriminate consciously due either to prejudice or ignorance and unconsciously, often without even realising they are doing it. From all of our experience within the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion training arena we know that once awareness of bias is raised from the unconscious to the conscious level, attitudes and behaviours change and the quality of decision-making processes improve. Whether it is by formal training, informal conversation starters in team meetings, online-learning, awareness days or just by sharing the free Harvard Implicit Association (unconscious bias testing) tool around in an email for people to try out, it is so important that we keep talking about the dangerous impact of bias and the simple things we can all do to manage them.
In the meanwhile, to Prince George and all the other children with interests that ‘don’t align’ with traditional gender stereotypes, I encourage you to be your true self and continue with whatever hobbies make you happy!
I totally support the #ballet4boys movement!
P.S Since writing this, I have trawled the free image sites for a picture of a male ballet dancer to accompany this blog and can’t find one. Which is why we have a picture of a pint sized superhero instead. Enough said.