January 31, 2014

Stereo typing

We watched the Disney movie "Mulan" with A today. We wanted her to watch how they had tried to train Mulan as "Marriageable" material, and how she had defied everybody and gone to fight for her country. Does the training of girls only happen in stories and movies? Sadly not!

Recently somebody had asked me why I was asking A to help me with some chores when she would  be doing so much of this when she grows up. They asked if I was already training her. Really I wanted to ask them, are you not going to teach this to your son? Don't you want them to know how to take care of themselves when they grow up? What is so girl and boy about that?

It saddens me that we are still talking about equality and gender stereotypes in 2014! Recently in a party, we were playing a game and each person had to acknowledge or deny a set of questions. There were many eyebrows raised when B acknowledged that he cooks for the family often. Why is this culture inculcated in us from birth? I know of men who think they will not be man enough if they help around in the house. About it not being their favorite task, I understand, but not being able to do it at all, I mean is it not being challenged in a way? How different is cooking with a recipe from a science experiment you did with instructions?

Coming back to training girls for their husbands and family, are your boys trained for the same? Because eventually that is where his life will lead to isn't it? Afterall that is the "norm" of the society we live in. So why is he not going through a training of being a "chivalrous husband"?

Why put labels on kids even before they have learnt to fly? Or for some, eventually if you are going to cut off their wings why even teach them to fly?

Just given our lives, most of us are very fortunate and have come beyond this dirty stereo typing. But there are enough people we meet time and again to remind us that this is still very much a part of our society and is far from eradication.

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