G for Gender​

Gender (noun)-Socially constructed roles, behaviours and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

Have you ever watched a little girl playing house?
Even as young as five or six, she is well aware that she is supposed to stay home with the baby while her husband goes to work, and she has dinner ready when he gets home.

Have you ever watched a little boy playing house?
Even as young as five or six, he is well aware that he is supposed to provide for and protect his family while his wife stays at home, and has dinner ready when he gets home.

What are we teaching our children? Do you want to know how are we shaping their gender roles?

Let’s play 21 questions.

1- Five masculine traits. 
Strong. Competitive. Bold. Violent. Assertive.

2- Five feminine traits. 
Compassionate. Sweet. Beautiful. Emotion. Multi-tasking.

3- What colour was your son’s room? 
Blue.

4- What colour was your daughter’s room?
Pink.

5- What toy did you gift your son?
Toy car.

6- What toy did you gift your daughter?
Doll.

7- Who works as?
a- Nurses- Women
b- Pilot- Men
c- Doctor- Men
d- Secretary- Women

8- Who usually takes care of the family?
Women.

9- Who’s usually the head of the family?
Men.

10- Who’s expected to protect and provide for the family?
Men.

11- Who wears their hair long?
Women.

12- Is body hair feminine or masculine trait?
Masculine.

13- Who has a larger sexual appetite?
Men.

14- Who handles financial matters better?
Men.

15- Who likes to dress up?
Women.

16- Makeup is for?
Women.

17- How many gender are you aware of?
Male, female and third gender.

18- Is sex different from gender?
No. They’re similar.

19- What if your son is feminine?
He’ll learn to change himself.

20- What if your daughter is masculine?
She’ll learn to behave like a lady.

21- Who are you to decide that for your children?
I’m their mother. I want the best for them.

Society often expects people to look,
And think,
And behave,
And perceive things 
In a certain way, 
Depending on their biological sex. 
Men are expected to act and look ‘masculine’, 
And women, ‘feminine’.

Gender is who you are as an individual, as opposed to what your physical characteristics, genes and hormones indicate.
Sex is who you are biological.

People are born either male or female or intersex.
From the moment the sex of the child is known, we as a society decide its gender. 
We teach our children how they should interact with others of the same or opposite sex. 
We teach our children how they should act in front of the same or opposite sex. 
We teach our children how they should dress, talk, live, breathe, in front of the same or opposite sex.

From the colour of their clothes to the education they receive. 
From the sports, they play to the division of household chores. 
We’ve all drawn a fine guide to who’s supposed to do what. 
One cooks. Other consumes. 
One earns. Other splurges.
One nurtures. Other provides. 
I don’t need to say who does what, 
Because you already know that, don’t you?

We’ve grown up in these families. 
We’ve seen it happen all around us. 
We’ve been playing the roles we’ve received. 
Haven’t we?

But what if?
What if we don’t want to?
What if we decide who we are on our own?
What if we act on it?
What if we rebel against traditional gender roles?
What if we win?
What if we get to live the way we want to?
What if we like that feeling?
What if our kids never have to face what we did?
What if our kids taste freedom before we did?
What if?

What if I tell you that,
The bits you’re born with don’t always dictate the way you should be.
Feeling like you should be a certain person because everyone expects it of you, shouldn’t be. 
You can be who you dream to be. 
You can dream who you want to be. 
You can want who you choose to be.

It is your life. 
Don’t let them decide what you should/shouldn’t do. 
It’s their life. 
Don’t decide what they should/shouldn’t do.

Let’s not teach our children about gender
The way society taught us. 
Let’s not do to our children
What society did to us.

 © Apoorva Bora

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