Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Great Big Whoppers!

My major sins against gender stereotypes are the ones I have committed as a mother, in bringing up my children. This was despite having a rather domestically challenged husband, whose 'challengedness' can be attributed to a)having three older sisters and b) being in a boarding school/college since he was ten years old, and c) being too absent minded for his own good! He still does make the occasional cup of tea, and is a non-fussy diner.

My girls have been brought up to be competent human beings, who can deal with whatever the world and life throws at them. Both of them are independent people and live life on their own terms.
My boys have been brought up the same way. As they grew older, they were expected to do various chores around the house. Laying the table for dinner and making tea for me in the evening was just a part of their routine. (They can be incredibly lazy bums at times, and my older son has even kept the blender jar in the freezer after making cold coffee, and on one occasion made rice without washing it first). I never even thought of this as anything unusual, until a Malayalee guest who'd come home for dinner expressed her shock and awe at the sight of a teenage son of the house laying the table. (This was perhaps twelve years ago).

Life skills are independent of gender and must be imparted, insofar as possible, to every child.
All children should grow up to be reasonably competent human beings, capable of fulfilling their survival needs on their own. Restricting them to roles stereotyped by gender is doing them a great disservice.

Edited to add: I had written something on the same theme some months ago. http://dipalitaneja.blogspot.com/2010/02/irrelevance-of-gender-in-everyday-life.html

11 comments:

Banno said...

True, Dipali.

Indian Home Maker said...

Wow!! I have committed similar sins Dipali!! Loved this post.

I am nominating your post for the the Three Best SAGS Posts award.

I truly believe in the hand that rocks the cradle can change/rock the world.

Maybe another tag should be started - about how mothers can change the world...
Loved this post. It's inspiring in fact.

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

I loved this post, Dipaii. The breaking of all gender stereotypes should come in a positive manner. So, if there's something good, both genders should be encouraged to take it up, rather than the one who's more commonly associated with it giving it up. Just loved the way you put it.. it made me clear my own head. I'm gonna wait till I can think up 10 such constructive things that I have learnt/ done which the opposite gender is typically known for, and then I want to do the tag :)

Oh, I loved the post 'Metamorphosis' as well and left a comment the other day. Seems like blogpost ate my comment :|

Banno said...

BTW, done tag. :)

Phoenixritu said...

I am totally with you. My sons can cook, clean and tidy up. The younger one needs to be prodded to do his bit, but once he overcomes the lethargy, he does his bit too.

Bong Mom said...

What blasphemy, blender jar in the refrigerator, me the lazy bum does it 50% of the time !!!

eve's lungs said...

True Dips - your children , like you and the SRE are wonderful persons and I think I have told the story of A laying the table and getting lunch ready for you 2 , and then making tea for all of us , to at least 20 people now .

artnavy said...

very nice and refreshing take to this tag!! inspired....

uttara said...

may there be more mothers like you!

kbpm said...

gosh its all so scary, half the time when i read you i want to be looking back at this life of mine from ten years (or so) into the future... i just hope that when that time actually comes up i will look back with some sense of calm.. you are inspiring dipali!

dipali said...

@everyone: Glad you liked this post. As I was commenting elsewhere, I may have been guilty of reverse discrimination- my sons couldn't get away with much just because they were either male or younger. Feminism came of age when my generation was growing up!