When I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted a girl.
If I had a boy, I would have loved him as much as I love my daughter,in fact it would have made no difference at all. But yes, I prefered a girl child.May be the wild ways of ‘boys’ I had witnessed during my school/college days and the ‘colorful’ pages from the lives of a few of my cousin brothers warned me against the ‘occupational hazards’ of rearing a boy!
But I think it has more to do with the fact that I was brought up in a household with two daughters. I am more familiar with the ways and likes of a girl child, since I myself am a girl and I had started baby sitting my sister, 5 years my junior, almost as soon as she turned 1 or so. So yes, I wanted a girl and was that gender bias? I am not sure.
My husband on the other hand wanted a boy.It could be because of the same reason as mine. He has only one sibling, a brother and has most of his first cousins boys. So he wanted a boy, one who could grow up to be his ‘buddy’ ,with whom he could do those ‘boy- things’.
And then she came to our world-our daughter!
When I think of it now, I guess I have a stereotyping mindset. Whenever we used go out for shopping, I was quick to pick up a doll or a pink dress for my princess. And whenever my husband suggested a toy gun or a truck or a helicopter, I used to give him one of my looks which said -‘she is a girl, she won’t like them’, accusing him of trying to impose his interests on my daughter.
Yes, she is a girl and she loves pink. She loves her dolls and everything else the girls usually love- princesses, fairies,frilly dresses! But yes, when ever my husband grabs a ‘boys” toy ( as I would put it) for her,she loves them too.She plays with her trucks, she loves to shoot with her toy gun, she loves her helicopter.
That got me thinking, wasn’t I being a little imposing when I decided that she would like only the ‘girl’ toys?
Since in my zeal, I had made her blind to any color other than pink, I decided to mend my way.Pink is still her favorite color,thanks to me, but she has started ‘seeing’ the other colors too, sometimes even goes a step ahead to give a few of them the ‘favorite color of the day’ title!
Actually, it is not a big deal if you think about it. It is just a color, and liking one color better than another is not going make any difference in a person’s life. Loving purple instead of pink is not going to make one richer or wiser.But the ‘pink preference’ is only the starting point of a whole saga of stereotypes that are imposed on these kids.It is almost like brainwashing the kids, without them even realizing it it.Forcing them to see the world as we do, carefully molding them to fit into the roles that the world has built for them based on their sex(and any such factors for that matter)!
A neighbor of mine once came home with a lunch box, she was wondering if I wanted to keep it for my daughter. It was a brand new one that they bought for their only son when he started his Kindergarten.The boy had taken it to school only for a week before which his classmates found a ‘pink’ heart on the box and started teasing him.It was a girly lunch box after all.The parents were left with no choice other than buying a new one since the boy refused to go back top school carrying something that would question his ‘manliness’. It took me a good 5-6 minutes to actually spot the pink heart and I was indeed amused!
I have heard the parents call their sons ‘feminine’ since ‘he cries like a girl’.I once even heard a mother sternly ask her son ‘not to act like a girl’ when he wanted to play with my daughter’s pink dolphin.May be it is acceptable for girls to be tomboyish in today’s world, but the reverse is something that the society has been warned against.My daughter has a pink cycle, a pink back pack and pink shoes.So does most of the other girls in her class !May be we are not even letting them see their options and are trying to limit their thoughts within the boundaries of the existing norms and rules carefully crafted by our predecessors and contemporaries.
Aren’t we forcing these kids to put on a mask to hide their real personality, just to not look different from what is expected out from them?These little roles that we set aside for our sons and daughters can even result in dangerous teasing and bullying that would eventually cause loss of self confidence, lack of self respect and what not?
I am not here to blame or criticize because I myself am a guilty of giving my daughter very wrong ideas in the first place.In fact, we elders are the ones who gets brainwashed in the first place and we keep the cycle going. It would first start with a color and then it would extend to more important things like the choice of a career.
Pink is just a color, a doll is just a toy. I have learned to keep it that way.Let the kids choose what they like, let their choices be endless!