Today you are in for a shopping experience. First you are in aisle full of toys. Shopping choices force you to Think pink or Feel blue. And this is not just for toys; clothing, books, personal care products, food all are gender stereotyped. It is not just the color of item; it is the product itself as well as the way they are advertised.
Our thought processes are tampered to always see Girls playing with dolls and boys with guns. Why most commercials show women craving for chocolate and Men eating burgers?
Talking of food you move to Baby Food aisle. Now these labels have left you speechless and thinking
Act like a lady Applesauce: Proper Polite and Passive
Rough and Tough Rhubarb: Real boys fight back
Anti-gay Grapes: Let a boy become a man
This essentially stereotypes being passive and polite is like being a Lady. On other hand being rough and tough is like being a Man.
Returning from store while immersed in thoughts, you are looking for keys to open front door, when you hear neighbor pacifying his ailing son saying “Why are you crying like a girl?” Now what being a boy or girl has to do emotional display? Alas another gender stereotype.
Anyways you come inside house and ponder
- Why are boys not supposed to be in Kitchen? Or do the laundry?
- Girls do not look good power posing yet we ask our boys to show their superman pose.
- How does scratching their itchy private parts in public ok for one gender and not for other?
- Why getting excellent academic is a must for one gender and not for another?
Gender Norms, what may have started as a fair treatment to one gender and to establish individual identity, have now become a nuisance that create significant anxiety, insecurity, stress, and often low self-esteem in children. Studies have shown detrimental effects of these norms on physical and mental health of a child. These gender norms are actually Anti-equality norms.
Yet we make them…practice them…pass them…many times unawares.
For our kids we desire unlimited everything. Yet by following these anti-equality norms we limit the vast opportunities of what they can be. In addition, at a very early age of life we unintentionally pass a kind of unconscious bias to my kids and to generations that follow.
Bias free world: Easier said than done. Yet most biases are lying unconsciously within us. You ask yourself “Am I willing to disrupt? Would I refuse to link everything with gender? Or would I shop the easy way pink or blue?”
Image Courtesy – http://proucesy.info/ (main image) http://www.livescience.com
- Neelu Soni
- February 18, 2017
- 1 Comment