Games, Gender Equality

Clothes as Means of Expressing Gender Equality

We’ve prepared something special for you today – guaranteed to occupy your children’s attention for an hour or even longer during the weekend. It’s paper dolls: a girl and a boy, with complete sets of clothes. However, to make it fun and educational, we’ve chosen clothes that women wear nowadays, which in the past would have been worn exclusively by men.

We’ll start in ancient Egypt with their a short male tunic. Then move on to the Middle Ages with their hose, which bears a resemblance to the contemporary leggings. Next we’ll jump to the 19th century and the male dinner suit (US tuxedo). We’ll end our journey in the previous century with its intrinsic elements of dungarees (which initially were intended for blue-collar workers only), jeans (that during the big-beat era turned into an almost obligatory thing to wear by both women and men around the world) and an astronaut spacesuit (which thanks to Valentina Tereshkova and her successors became a suit that is available also for women).

Thanks to the feminist movement in Europe and the United States women today have the right to wear what they like and what they feel comfortable in. Yet even in the 19th century hardly any woman was brave enough to wear, for example, trousers. The real revolution came after the World War II, during which women started to work in male-dominant occupations trying to provide for their family and support the army who were fighting on the front line. This is how the outfit became an expression of gender equality. However, this has not solved all the problems of the fashion industry. To explain what we mean, here is a short video for you to watch – a review of T-shirts in a children’s clothing department.

But getting back to our dolls – to play with them, download the PDF files (see below) and print them on thick paper (preferably Bristol board). Kids can colour the clothes and parents can cut all the pieces out. To make the sets complete, you can also download the photos and images where you can find examples of the clothes we suggested. These can work as auxiliary materials for discussions with children and can be helpful when choosing the right colours of your clothes.

And since we’re talking about colours, here’s another video you can watch. This one’s about the history of colours in children’s clothing. It’s super interesting.