Saturday 4 December 2010

Boys will be boys. Oh yeah?

All boys love sports! Girls love dancing and makeup. Boys will be boys. And girls will be girls, I suppose. What do these statements, these sweeping generalizations, really mean? I used to think they were harmless phrases, to be tossed out casually while making polite conversation. Now, from the standpoint of a parent, I find them frightening in their ability to wrongly slot and categorize.
We have come far from the days when the woman’s lot was to cook and clean and bear and rear children (it is still like this in many countries/regions but we aren’t going there). But what’s with the whole reverse discrimination? Girls excelling in sports, math, science, not knowing how to cook, couldn’t care less about kids, can’t thread a needle to save her life – all good. Boys wanting to cook, dance, sing, can’t kick a ball to save his life – hmmm……Indulgence and amusement yes, acceptance NO.
It has to cut both ways. When will we, as a society, learn and accept this? I need my son to learn household skills just as much as my daughter does. I need my daughter to be independent and self-reliant and confident, the same as my son. Why is it wonderful when my daughter gets a permanent commission in the Indian Army (yay for that bit of news!) but not okay when my son wants to learn ballet? Why is it ok for my daughter to start crying at the drop of a hat while my son is expected to be rough and tough? We don’t do anybody any favours when we reinforce the stereotypes of women being touchy-feely while men are analytical and logical.
I admit, I feel sorry for the boys nowadays!  They have to be tough yet sensitive, career superheroes AND a dab hand at mixing a pasta salad, fun guys AND expert at changing a diaper.  Not to forget that most young couples desire to have a girl first rather than a boy! (the latter is strictly an empirical observation, I’m guessing most couples are not going to come out in the open and say they really really want a boy just in case someone accuses them of being……err….. anti-female or something! Not like my grandmother who observed, sagely, when I was pregnant with Ads “Let us hope it is a boy, then you are ‘safe’.”)
It is my earnest desire to live to see the day when the “daddy wars” will take center stage and daddy bloggers will heatedly debate which is better – working dad or stay-at-home dad? J


  1. I agree - such generalizations harm guys much more than is thought abt - statements like being a guy he is scared of a lizard etc are damaging to say the least!

  2. I get so worked up at such generalizations. It is much worse for little boys because it is so not done to be doing 'girly' things! Thankfully for girls, it is far, far more acceptable to be doing stuff that are considered 'boyish'. Either way, I would rather let a child be true to his/her nature, rather than foist stereotypes or expectations on them. I wonder if it will happen any time soon though. Hopefully, it will change, one day..

    Great post!

  3. Nice post Aps :)

    Although I have come to believe some generalizations like the cars thing ;). I agree that the pressure is more on guys to conform now that girls everywhere are breaking the mould, it's like society needs some familiarity to hold on to !
    It bothers me when I see posts by parents who are worried about their 2ish year old boy who likes to dress up like a girl - why get into a knot at such an early stage? They are just following mom's or sis's example and will probably soon enough get out of it so why not enjoy it while it lasts!

  4. So get what you mean. So, so get it.


I would love to hear your thoughts :)