Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Boy Guilt

Read the review - Always

When my son started play school, I went shopping for water bottles he could use at school. He chose a pink bottle and I reluctantly bought it for him. Why reluctantly? I abhor gender stereotyping. I bought the pink water bottle because he liked it. But I did worry that someone would tease him. He was only two and a half years old at the time. Until recently, pink was his favourite colour and I would let him pick a pink mini mouse toothbrush and strawberry flavoured toothpaste instead of an orange flavoured one. But that is where rebutting the gender stereotyping ended for the both of us. When someone mentioned I dress him in a frock as an infant, I vehemently shot the idea down. Deep down, I knew if I had had a girl instead of a boy, I would have gladly dressed her in blue overalls and got her pants and t – shirts. I would have bought her blue coloured shoes and let her cut her hair very short. I would even have encouraged my hypothetical daughter to study math and play basketball or cricket, or choose a challenging career that involved travel and late nights if the said hypothetical daughter were so inclined. Having said that, I will never encourage my son to grow his hair long. I will never approve if my son were to cross dress. Someone suggested that cross-dressing is rampant in India when I refused to dress him in a frock as an infant. I was livid. But if my hypothetical daughter were to wear trousers or men’s’ formals, I would gladly approve and appreciate. See, if I had a daughter, my so-called abhorrence to gender stereotyping would have worked out so much better but as cosmos would have it, I gave birth to a son. At the shoe shop the other day when my son said, “Mamma, those purple shoes are for girls. Boy’s shoes are over here” I said with mild outrage and not so righteous indignation, “Where do you learn to talk like that baby!” but secretly I was relieved. Hypocrite much?