Snowmen, for a lot of us, are synonymous with days off school and spending weekends at the park, wrapped up making our human-like figures.
The ‘snowman’ is at at the forefront of our childhood winter memories – waking up, looking outside, seeing the snow and then going downstairs to demand our guardians hand over a carrot and some buttons we can use in order to build our beloved snowmen.
But are we wrong to be referring to them as ‘men’?
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the rise of the term ‘gender fluid’, a concept some portions of society have continued to be challenged by, but one which has seen great strides in its social and cultural understanding – the idea a person doesn’t necessarily identify as having a fixed gender regardless of their biological make-up.
Problems occasionally arise in society when accepted norms are challenged and people feel their way of life is being threatened.
Unfortunately, gender-fluidity falls into the ‘threatening’ category for a lot a people – turns out – there are some who see the idea of Snowmen being renamed to something more gender fluid like ‘Snowperson’, as a real threat to their way of life.
For a lot of people, the first question which springs to mind is: Are we really living in a world where we’re unable to refer to snowmen as ‘men’ – despite being a character hand-built form our imaginations – for fear of offending a portion of society?
However, it turns out some people think it is a good idea.
While many adults would sit and argue ferociously about having a gender fluid figure take place within their local parks or gardens, the more important question to be asking is why we’re using children – in particular the building of ‘snowmen’ – as a battleground for concepts adults are still debating?
Just to clarify, we’re talking about snowmen – figures hand-built from frozen water!
Traditionally, across books, television and the even the 1982 film, The Snowman, these winter-made figures are depicted as genderless – they have no genitals after all or any other scientific DNA!
Despite the argument and whether you’re for or against this, it raises the issue of gender fluid representation and how there’s a lack of it.
Claudia Carvell, from the LGBT Foundation, told:
Gender fluidity is an important issue for everyone, regardless of their gender identity.
Everyone experiences these gender pressures, whether they’re LGBT or not, so gender fluidity is something we all need to be discussing as part of our everyday lives – whether it’s rejecting a damaging stereotype, using ‘they’ pronouns as well as ‘he’ and ‘she’, or simply not assuming someone’s gender identity based on their appearance.
The conversation just starts with gender-neutral clothing lines or gender-fluid imagery – we need to be hearing more of the voices and experiences of gender-fluid and non-binary people and genuinely start moving away from binary gender representations and fixed gender roles.