Monday, February 22, 2010

The irrelevance of gender in everyday life

I've been tagged by Usha to participate in the International women's day contest held by Indus Ladies. (Category- relationship issues)
Please click on the link above for details. Starry, Parul and Rayna, please participate in this.

My title sounds Utopian, and it probably is.
And yet, the perception of gender roles within the family has a huge impact on relationships.
Some men cannot imagine making a cup of tea for themselves, or even fetching themselves a glass of water. Some women do not even try to balance the cheque book, cannot dream of a life free of dependence.
Gender is part of our biology, yet it tends to rule our societal norms and behaviour far more than required in this day and age, where reproduction is now a matter of choice, where most men are not engaged in hunting and gathering, and where greater or lesser muscle power doesn't matter in most spheres of life. As parents, we need to break out of our own gender stereotypes so as not to perpetuate unnecessary stereotyping or gender role anxiety.
As a parent, I need to teach my children to be self-sufficient. At each stage of their growing up I have to guide them to do what is age appropriate for them
Ultimately, both boys and girls need to take care of their own physical and mental well-being.
This would include personal hygiene, the ability to keep their surroundings and possessions clean and organised, the ability to repair their garments/sew on a button, cook for themselves, clean up after themselves, deal with bank accounts, shopping, financial responsibility etc.
If we succeed in bringing up a generation of self-sufficient adults, who are free of gender roles and assumptions, life would probably be a whole lot simpler. Apart from actually bearing and breast-feeding babies, there are very few roles that are actually gender specific.
Let us make both our sons and daughters all-rounders in dealing with Life. Let us instill in them the confidence that they can achieve whatever they set out to do without putting barriers of gender or caste or class in their minds. No job should be beneath their dignity, no career beyond their dreams. They need the freedom to choose to live according to their abilities and interests, not determined by age-old notions of gender.
Both boys and girls need to be protected from sexual abuse.
Both boys and girls need to be protected from emotional abuse.
Both boys and girls need to be cherished, and allowed to spread their wings.
Both boys and girls need to feel rooted, to feel secure and cherished in their homes.
Both boys and girls need to be taught all necessary skills for adult life.
Both boys and girls need to be taught sexual and reproductive responsibility.

What is different?


Usha said...

Dipali thanks.
Equality - that is all is needed. There is no need to treat any one gender better oe worse because as you rightly say, gender is just a part of biology.

Unmana said...

Hey, that's the post I wanted to write!

Oh, probably wouldn't have managed to as well as you have. Now I have to find something else.


starry eyed said...

We keep hashing this out between us, SH and I. We do model wrongly for our kids. Tho' I drive our car all over the place to ferry the kids around (when I'm alone with them), it's usually SH who drives us on our family outings. This weekend, I slid into the driver's seat and Dhruv piped up..."Only men can drive". All our mouths fell open!

I think we moms overfunction in some roles, and dads in others, and I hope that we keep endeavouring to correct that.

Loved your post...clear, concise and very relevant! Tks for tagging me.

Natasha said...

Wish I had written that post, Dipali. It is so very true.

Now, can any one tell me how I should go about posting a link on the site - I must be congenitally dumb, but I just can't seem to be able to do so.

turmericnspice said...

Interesting and well written !

uttara said...

I agree..but perhaps sex is part of our biology and gender isn't? And even sex/biology is not as fixed as we like to think it is.

starry eyed said...

Done Dipali! Here's the link

Priya said...

Hi! Came over from Indusladies

Nice post.. very simple yet profound..thought provoking ! The world will be a nicer place if more people think on these lines.

Natasha said...

The other day, my older one made a profound observation - "girls don't play football."
Since I have been the one coaching him, I reminded him that I was a girl, and I played football with him, to which he replied "you are not a girl, you are my mamma. Girls don't play football."
There was no basis for his statement, or maybe there was. None of the girls in his class take football as an extra-curricular activity - wonder why it should be so?

Sue said...

Toilet-training is different, is what.


Sorry, am being facetious. But you know, I'm all for equivalence more than equality. Not everybody need handle everything on their own but they do need to be able to and then they need to make sure that somebody else is not carrying the weight of their responsibilities for them.

Sue said...

BTW, your daily hug *HIG*

Will call you in a bit.

sarika said...

Hi Dipali, read a few posts, some filled with wit, some with humour and some of education, they made interesting read. This one about self reliance caught my attn.Will visit again.Keep expressing yourself.

Unknown said...

Agree absolutely. This from one who still doesnt balance the checkbook.

Aneela Z said...

daily jaadu ki jhappi

starry eyed said...


Hip Grandma said...

very well written and exactly the way I feel about it.Best of luck for your entry. It is really time we trained our boys to think that they are also supposed to be helpful at home and teach our girls that there is nothing great about being delicate darlings - they need to rise to the occasion as and when it arises.

Penguin said...

Big giant hug coming your way! HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Poppy said...

*claps long and hard*
Very nice post Dipali!

Poppy said...

Why is everyone hugging you?

Anyways here goes !


Sukhaloka said...

(((BIG HUGS)))

Stay ok, ok?

Unknown said...

Having seen the Pure Panjabi in action I vouch for whatever you've written :) Many higs

Anonymous said...

Hello, as you may already found I am new here.
In first steps it is really good if someone supports you, so hope to meet friendly and helpful people here. Let me know if I can help you.
Thanks and good luck everyone! ;)