Billy Elliot failed in his mission

by Ivano Abbadessa - 2017.04.03
Billy Elliot failed in his mission
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Despite its record in ticket sales and millions of visitors, Billy Elliot did not end up changing gender sterotypes. The fact is that there are still tons of young boys that, like the dancer-protagonist of the film, get caught in the crossfire of prejudice, cruel jokes and violence, at home and in public, just because they dream of a profession associated with the opposite gender.

A recent Spanish study confirms this news. The data highlighted that 40% of parents, even against their kid’s will, avoid dressing their children in what is commonly thought of a color for the ”opposite sex”, just to keep them from being bullied. This phenomenon mostly applies to boys, but girls are not spared either. The estimate is that about 15% of school kids fall prey to so-called “gender bullying”. A percentage that spikes to as high as 65% if one takes into consideration declared homosexuals.

This situation makes it all the more apparent that, in 2017 “the world is more divided than ever between pink and blue” – as Nuria Varela, essayist, teacher, and expert in gender violence, commented in a recent interview. “One thinks that the newer generations have been raised with an idea of equality, but I am not convinced that this message ever truly made it to the school system” For this reason, he added, “ it’s necessary to think of a type of education that doesn’t discriminate, that teaches children that toys are not made for only one gender”.

And for the teacher, Ms. Varela, the double standard for little girls seems particularly hypocritical in today’s society: “We tell them that they can become engineers, president, scientists. But as soon as they exert themselves, they’re called presumptuous instead of “leaders”, which, would be the word given to boys who had demonstrated the same behavior and abilities”.

Published in Gender issues.
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