4-year-old girl wished she was a boy for only one reason - to become a firefighter

A freelance journalist took to her Twitter to share her daughter’s reasoning behind her “desire” to be a boy, and the online community rushed to send a message to the little girl so she could see the bigger picture.

On January 18, Hannah Summers tweeted about her little daughter’s dream of becoming a firefighter, and how discouraged the child was because she was convinced that “they are all boys.”

The publication stroke a chord in the social network users, who retweeted it more than 2.300 times and liked it more than 10.700 times, apart from sending generous messages to visibilize female firefighters.

“My 4yr old came home yesterday saying she wished she was a boy so she could be a fireman. When I said girls can be firefighters too she said ‘but I’ve seen in books they are all boys and I don’t want to be the only girl.’”  

-Hannah Summers, Twitter, January 18, 2019.

Although Summers asked her followers about videos and/or books that feature female firefighters, actual firefighters replied by telling the little girl, known as Esme, that she didn’t need to be a boy to follow her passion.

The West Midlands Fire Department was among the first to follow Summers’ hashtag #firefightingsexism, and they send a video of several of their female members in uniform addressing Esme directly.

“Lots of our firefighters are girls and boys - some of them want to say hello to you! We would love to meet you and show you what we do. You can be a firefighter too,” the tweet reads.

There are many cases about children not conforming with the gender divisions they perceive, and sometimes all they want is to be free to do what they like and not be determined by their sex.

The tweet also invited other fire departments to “keep this going,” so Esme could learn about many other examples of female firefighters. Individual female firefighters also send their replies to Summers.

“We could do much better than a video or book Hannah, would your daughter like to come and visit a crew with female firefighters at West Midlands Fire Service? @WestMidsFire #thisgirlcan,” Rachael Houlston offered.

“Esme - we have women firefighters in #SouthYorkshire, too, and they're amazing!” South Yorkshire Fire wrote, adding a video of children of female firefighters talking about what makes their mother’s amazing.

“Esme, I’ve been in the fire service 12 years nearly and have worked with many female firefighters. Work hard at school and I’m sure you’ll be one of many in the future,” Glen Proctor said.

“Hannah if you put the new episodes of @FiremanSamUK on for her there’s a female firefighter in that now too,” he added.

“Hannah!! Saying a big Hi to your little girl. I am one of 339 women in the #LondonFireBrigade #ThisGirlCan,” Pamela Oparaocha tweeted.

There are many cases about children not conforming with the gender divisions they perceive, and sometimes all they want is to be free to do what they like and not be determined by their sex.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the child is transgender. While there has been a change in attitude around this subject, there is still much to be understood about the issue of gender and identity.

For example, if a boy shows a liking to wear skirts, it doesn’t automatically means that the boy wants to stop being a boy. It can be just what he feels comfortable with, and there is no need to make a big deal about this.

If people don’t judge or make the boy feel bad about this, he will grow up to be a confident and spontaneous human being free from gender restrictions.

Australian author Nelly Thomas advocates for this in her newest book titled “Some Boys,” and she has denounced that she gets abusive messages for featuring a boy in a skirt in her children’s book.

Thomas reminds her readers than gender expression changes with times, so we don’t need to read the way a child wants to dress using outdated gender restrictions.

Clothing isn’t natural as some people seem to believe, but it is cultural, so its meanings are in constant change. If during the 20th century it was a norm for girls to be the only ones who wear skirts, it doesn’t mean it has to keep being like that.

“The Romans, Scots, Samoans, Sri Lankans, Fijians, Japanese – and in many, many other cultures – men wear fabric around their waists with no seam up the centre… that is, a skirt,” Thomas points out.

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