Wednesday, March 9, 2016

For boy or girl?

Attended a birthday party today. It was a girl's b'day. I reached a gift shop to buy a gift. When I asked the shopkeeper to show something for a 3 year old kid, he asked 'girl or boy'. Now, after buying gifts for a number of kids, my standard answer to such questions is, 'it doesn't matter'. The shopkeeper grinned and understood that I am a 'different' customer. So, I bought a gift and headed towards the venue. The theme of the b'day party was Hello Kitty. All the girls got a paper bow and were asked to tuck it in their dresses. I was wondering why didn't the boys get that too. Very soon, I found out that the kitty was actually a girl, that is why the boys didn't get it. I had just begun to process all of this when there was a call for games. I dropped my thought process and got interested in the games. But, I was forced to pick up my thought process after I heard the rule of the games- 'Only girls can play those games' (obviously because it was a girl's b'day party and the kitty wasa girl). So, there were two games which the girls played. The boys in the party started playing with balloons, fighting with balloons, hitting each other with balloons. I could hear people commenting on those boys, "boys' games are totally different", "boys like to play these games only". Is it really true? No one included them in the games in the first place. There is a clear demarcation between what girls and boys should do or can do. We don't realize how our behaviour can leave an impression on their growing minds. "Girls wear pink and boys wear blue". It may sound very cool but that is how it actually starts. It sure is the beginning of gender discrimination according to me. It is a blessing for the businessmen. They sell their products on the basis of the premise that people will fall for it. And people actually fall for it. As a result, there is almost everything in the market for 'girls' and 'boys', be it toys, bags, cycles, bottles, tiffins etc etc. Worst was, when I saw story books for 'boys' and 'girls'. Do stories have to be gender specific? Worst part is, we do not realize its implications. In a way, we are telling our kids- Look! Girls (women) and Boys (men) are different in every way. Don't try to enter into each others zones. But how do we expect them to understand each other if we make such clear, rather strict boundaries.

I feel fundamentally something is wrong somewhere. Don't you?