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School hands out pink ‘girl masks’ and blue ‘boy masks’ – but at least the children can see how absurdly stupid it is

Reiss Smith September 9, 2020
A young girl leaning on a desk, writing / Two pink face masks and two navy ones

A schoolgirl complained after boys and girls were given gendered face masks. (Envato/Catherine Level)

Officials were criticised after a school handed out pink face masks to girls and blue coverings to boys.

In yet more proof that children are smarter than most adults, it was down to an eight-year-old girl to shame grown-ups for gendering that most basic of tools in the fight against coronavirus: face coverings.

Dr Catherine Lebel explained how her eight-year-old daughter came home with a pink face covering “and said it was stupid that her class got ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ masks, because there were no such things”.

“She was not hugely upset, just annoyed,” she told Mirror Online.

While boys were given plain navy face coverings, girls were given pink versions with heart and lipstick print designs.

Lebel, from Alberta, Canada, agreed with her daughter that the gendering “just seems unnecessary”.

“Masks are masks and can be for whoever they fit,” she continued.

“We try really hard not to talk about things being only for girls or boys and I really want kids (not just my own) to grow up with a sense of equal opportunity.”

Lebel stressed that she was far from outraged, adding: “Certainly this is not the biggest thing we have to worry about right now, and I am glad to see the school providing masks.”

“However, it seems unnecessary to promote gender stereotypes and I think it’s important to call them out when I see them.”

“Obviously I have no expectation of the school letting kids pick their masks. Just distribute them randomly, for goodness’ sake,” she added on Twitter.

As one follower pointed out, “it probably was a lot more work to separate masks by gender” than to just let children choose.

Others took issue with the “gross” lipstick kisses being unsuitable for young children, and suggested other, more educational themes.

The masks were provided to the school by the Alberta provincial government and were designed externally.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s Municipal Affairs said: “Our government had absolutely zero input in deciding which colours were sent. The sole goal of the masks is preventing the spread of COVID-19, not fashion statements or political agendas.”

More: Coronavirus, gender stereotypes, schools

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