A teenage birdwatching influencer has taken aim at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) for a poster depicting female members of bird species as smaller than males.
Mya-Rose Craig, 19, known to many as ‘Birdgirl,’ took to Twitter to blast a poster showing different-sized birds as an example of “sexism in birding.”
“If you aren’t into nature, you won’t know that when you go into #birdwatching hides there are often posters up to help you with bird ID,” Craig wrote.
“But why should female birds always be shown as a smaller picture insert?? #Sexisminbirding?”
If you aren’t into nature, you won’t know that when you go into #birdwatching hides there are often posters up yo help you with bird ID. But why should female birds always be shown as a smaller picture insert?? #Sexisminbirding? We need a revolution 😂@Natures_Voice @WWTworldwide pic.twitter.com/3bPTNxdNlG
— Dr Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig (@BirdgirlUK) May 14, 2021
“The poster features male images of teals, mallards, and shovelers with much smaller depictions of females in the background,” the Daily Mail reported.
Craig’s post provoked a strong reaction on Twitter:
— Tony Juniper (@TonyJuniper) May 14, 2021
Completely agree… Also, can we do away with the habit of describing (for example) a male blackbird as “a blackbird” while the female is always “a female blackbird”? Like the male is default while the female is some kind of variation?? No thanks.
— Jen 🌱 (@jwforesta) May 15, 2021
Obviously RSPB has forgotten its roots, which were forged when a group of women stood together against bird feathers being used for fashion.
— Nigel Dickinson (@NigelDickinso10) May 14, 2021
Not all agreed, however:
Rspb handbook. Images not just same size but to scale. Well that’s the end of that crusade. What we getting our knickers in a knot about next? 🙄♂️ pic.twitter.com/QMsgVyvaUn
— Greg Lynch (@burntwoodbirder) May 16, 2021
While female birds are larger than male birds in some species, in most, the male birds are larger.
The RSPCA, however, took Craig’s comment seriously and promised a thorough review of their posters.
“It is a fair point, and we must do better,” an RSPCA spokesperson said. “We’re pleased Mya-Rose brought this to our attention and will be reviewing these posters with our team internally.”
According to the Daily Mail:
Mya-Rose shot to fame as a 13-year-old in 2015 when she became the youngest person in the world to spot 4,000 species of bird.
She went on to become the youngest person ever to receive an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Bristol at the age of 17 in February 2020.
The RSBP has not said when or if the posters will be altered.