When I was young, the word gender was seen or heard only once a year. I hope I would bring back nostalgic memories to all of you. That was a filed in DATA SHEET in school diary. I really could not understand whatsoever was the reason to have the field, cause can’t we identify them with the names? Do we specifically require a field? This was way back in the 90s when we did not know there was something termed “gender stereotyping”.
But now are the times when people say we have chosen a unisex name. I was like “What the hell is that?”. I thought the term “unisex” was used only for dresses, shoes or salon. May be this is why schools had the field on their forms procrastinating such a situation that both genders can use the names. Don’t get me wrong that I have a wrong opinion about unisex names, I am all okay with it, but just that it was something new to me and discrimination based on gender with regards to naming was so very new.
Where does it all start?
At home is definitely the straight answer most people would give you. And why would that be? It’s because we were brought up that way.We I mean the previous generation But during the course of us growing up and getting exposure to information of all kinds, somewhere down the lane we realized that this is not how it should be.
We as humans have evolved a lot and especially with concepts like gender stereotyping, sustainability, saying no to patriarchy. But we still have a long way to go in making our parents or grandparents understand the same. We have to be patient and understanding to make them absorb the concept on why we do not agree upon gender based discrimination. Making them understand that it has to be corrected from the roots I.e. home is another herculean task.
The Millennial parents, may be I’d say a 50% of us depend on our parents to help raise kids. Most parental conflicts arise here where our methodologies of thinking with respect to bringing up kids differs.
We believe in gentle parenting, no gender bias however that might sound weird to them because them and their forefathers had an entirely different way of parenting.
Our ways of treating kids, bringing them up to understand that a boy playing dolls and girl playing with a car is totally acceptable is kind of hard for them to process. But in a slow pace they would understand that in today’s way of life it is more necessary that both man and wife contribute and take up roles that are not looked down based on gender bias.
In a nuclear set up a man doing laundry and helping with chores around is totally acceptable, Their way of lifestyle of being there for each other taking up or swapping each others role is definitely making them good role models for their kids and a bad portrayal for the elders who still aren’t aware of the gender stereotyping.
Gender stereotyping could have adverse negative effects on children because of early environmental influences in their life. Any kind of genetic bias could be termed as insignificant and can be overcome by positive environmental influences.
Recently I came across books that support gender stereotyping. As a parent I would never opt to do something like that. But in this case my daughter received this as a birthday gift. Drawing book for girls with bright pinks all over. I was dumbstruck looking at the level of how even books try to thrust such notions. Shouldn’t girls colour dinosaurs or vehicles and only stick to princesses and flowers. I was totally not okay with her getting this book having been raised in a gender neutral environment.
Leave alone books, if you look at toy section in most outlets you do have separate sections based on gender. Where house keeping and cooking ranges are placed for girls; boys will conquer the world with scientific experiments and robotics. Why can’t girls play with robots and boys with kitchen sets? It sad to know that parents and kids these days don’t bring in gender discrimination but that feeling creeps when you enter the toy stores. This should definitely change.
How to handle kids and raise them in a gender neutral environment?
Support the choices they make –Let kids take up what might interest them and not discourage them from playing with toys and activities they show interest. On another note, if your kid is following stereotypical choices by nature, do not intervene. In order to prove gender evenness do not offer different stuff to girls who love to cook and boys who love to ride. Offering them cross-gender alternatives is a definite must. Do not influence them in a gender stereotypical manner be it a toy, dress, activity, friends or making choices in career. Asking them to evaluate their strengths, encouraging and respecting their choices is definitely a good way of upbringing.
Battling Social and Peer pressure – Kids often make mistakes in making choices at schools or more based on what their peers choose and even if that is something that doesn’t make them happy, they make the choice for the sake of making them feel accepted. Teach them how to be true to themselves by making choices that make them content rather than pleasing others.
Encouraging positive traits which the kids have irrespective of the gender something like being fearless or nurturing. Boys being of a nurtured nature and girls going out to conquer is totally acceptable.
Being okay with dressing practically – A girl needn’t be in skirts and frocks all throughout her life. Dressing up in shorts and pants when practical or when she needs is acceptable. And for boys hot pinks and reds are definitely must wear colors. If not they’re definitely missing out on something.
Say no to – toys and activities that are openly sexist. Take to social media to influence your vision so that brands realize that changes should be made.
‘This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter’.