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'Stop Crying, Shhh!!!’, Boys don’t cry. I heard my Mumma murmuring to my little one when he fell. Though he was hurt but in few seconds he stopped crying. He was back to his action again and I am still wondering what were those golden words that his grandmother whispered.
Was his pain gone? I doubt
Were we telling him to hide his feelings & BE A MAN??
What does this statement mean Don’t cry like a girl?
Intentionally or otherwise, we all have been a part of GENDER STEREOTYPING. Maybe we are raised in such a way that it has so much become part of us. We are born with certain discrimination, aren’t we? Remember 3 idiots, the movie stuck an instant cord with everyone, we all rolled over laughing until our stomachs ached and in between all this was character of Boman Irani telling how girls should only be doctors and boys will only be engineer.
What Exactly is Gender Stereotyping?
Gender Stereotype are over generalised statements or thoughts that are adopted by us about specific types of individual. Gender stereotyping is pervasive, we as a parent do that because it has become a part of our society. Like being a girl is about pink, Barbie’s, and dolls. Boys are associated with blue, bikes and bold. Men’s are insensitive, girls like to play with kitchen set only, women are bad drivers, boys should be into sports and the list goes on, I am sure we can fill pages with such stereotypes and who made such over generalisations, I am yet to seize that group. No matter how educated we are or how modern our values are, we still do that. We are still passing the same discriminations to coming generations, may be in fun but we say that.
The Baby is Born Let’s Stereotype Them.
The moment we are born, we are welcomed with it. Oh, it's a girl, let’s buy pink, flowers, and dolls. And if he is a boy, yay, let’s have a roller coaster ride, bring on cars, guns, and superman. Why it is just assumed that girls will like pink or boys will blue or boys don’t cry or girls should be soft and polite.
Does gender define how we should express our emotions??
What if my boys cry? Does by playing doll my prince will behave like my princess, what will society think of him? I too, had so many questions. The curious mother in me googled and read various researches and the only conclusion I could draw was that by gender discrimination we are restricting their full potential and wellbeing. There is no scientific study that says boys will be soft and girly if they cry and play with dolls. As a parent, we should be concerned about the values we teach them. We must move on and stop this discrimination and classifying toys with specific gender group. A child’s development and their interest will guide them what they want to play with. Moreover, by restricting them with toys of their choice we are harming their psychological wellbeing. There is nothing wrong if boys cry, it is okay if they want to wear pink, this will surely not make them womanly. Also, speaking softly or wearing pink will not tell about their sexual choices gay, straight, or lesbian (I know parents have this fear, they don’t express though).
Time for some Action
We often talk about progressive society, we as parent are getting aware and smarter. So, we should let our kids choose what they want to play with, they should be free to express their emotions. As a part of society, we often put lot of pressure on the men. They are expected to be tuff and strong, to be dominant, aggressive. Even if they are hurt or emotionally low, they are expected to hide their emotions otherwise society will label them as weak and like women. By giving them freedom to choose their toys, by giving them space, we as a parent will help them develop confidence and high self-esteem. Let’s teach our boys to be strong and tuff at the same time let them express their emotions which will help them in their relationships. It's good to teach your girl about house chores but it will be equally good to let your son learn them too. (heart in heart, we all want that ideal son in law for our daughters who can love, care and raise kids, so why not raise our sons like that ). We are growing as a society and giving all the exposure to our girls, lets teach them to be bold and smart, along with teaching them use cutlery, teach them how to use screwdriver too.
Let’s understand that gender does not bind emotions and they are like white paper, let them paint their own colours.
So, what are stereotype you are surrounded with and how do you pledge to stop it? Let’s pass and share.