This is a picture (shot by yours truly) of the great Maria Theresa – the Queen of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia – one of the most successful rulers of the Hapsburg dynasty
Well this happened a few days back but has stayed in mind since and hence I’m making a mention of it here. My daughter came up to me and said, ” Mama, so & so’s mother has told him not to play with me”. Before I could ask her why, she said, “because I’m a girl”!
I was not shocked about the not playing together bit, but more about the reason given. This boy and she were good friends but fought often. I thought the reason would be because the two fight constantly, but the gender word here, made things complicated. I knew what her next question would be – why? And it came invariably.
For a moment, I didn’t know what to say. But after a minute I said, “because he can’t handle you. Because you are too smart for him”. And I truly believed it then and now. Mother’s no matter how educated tell their boys not to play with girls when the girl is too much to handle or when they do not want their boys to get influenced by supposedly girly games. In this case, it wasn’t the later, because my daughter plays football, badminton, running races and climbs like a monkey, and if anything would come out tops in any race/game they played. Plus the fact that every time they fought, she gave it back squarely to him. Anyway, the point is this – mother’s (and supposedly educated women) are even in today’s world/time dishing out such crap to their children/sons – being women themselves! How then can this gender bias end?
Another incident took place a few months back – my daughter’s chess teacher casually mentioned to me that one of the boys in her group, wanted to change the group because he wanted to practice with only boys. We’re talking of 7 year olds here. So in a chess class, parents feel that boys play better and should practice with boys only & that too in a game like chess! Wow! I had no words to express my disbelief.
Further, another mother celebrated her son’s birthday – inviting only the boys of the group despite the fact that her son played with girls too! And here we celebrate women power/bonding and understanding on women’s day? We talk of ending stereotypes & biases, when we ourselves plant these seeds or accept them? How hypocritical can we get. Women – if you can’t respect your own gender, don’t expect others to.