When we say boys can’t wear skirts, girls don’t play with robots, we are putting them into gender buckets. When we treat our daughters more preciously than our sons thinking girls are delicate, we are stereotyping. Same is the case when we buy pink for girls and blue for boys.
Gender Stereotyping starts early and most girls by the age of 10 report being less confident than boys. This is what the research says for advanced countries like UK and USA. In a country like ours, this starts even earlier. It takes place invariably and even when you try to bring your child in a neutral environment. Reason? It is too deep-rooted and all around us.
Breaking gender stereotypes requires dichotomous approach. One part needs to deal with educating young children, providing them with opportunities to express themselves and the other part requires correcting our existent behavior to eliminate the inherent bias. Many times, we say or talk things, which have a deep underlying bias. The sad part is we don’t even realize it since it is so deep rooted. Toys are a perfect example in this case. I would not talk about the extremes like dolls, but seldom I find a girl being gifted a car or a robot. Similarly, most boys are not pretend-play kitchen sets and the likes. Most of the Michelin Star chefs are males, yet no kitchen sets for boys. Almost all women drive and yet no cars for girls. Why? All because of our inherent bias.
And it does not end here. We are in fact very different in our behavior towards gender. We tend to engage in roughhousing with boys and not girls. On same lines, we compliment boys for their smartness and girls for their looks. The latter is very harmful. It teaches girls that being pretty is all that is important. That being smart and intelligent and hard working is secondary to beauty. I know none of us would agree to that and yet we make statement which send out exactly this message. So, for today’s post on breaking gender stereotypes I have this list beautiful things you can say to your daughter, niece, sister and all the wonderful girls out there instead of saying ‘You look so pretty’.
Also read: How We Raise Our Boys To Be Chauvinists?
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