Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes Begins At Home!
The stereotype based on gender has long been practiced in India. Why does a woman have to be in the kitchen, and all the financial pressure should be put over a man? Well, that’s the notion we have always been taught, and to be honest, we have seen our own parents practice it. Though society is changing slowly, we still have a very long way to go to completely achieve the goal of being a gender-equal society. Some people who don’t know the real meaning of sexism might say that the concept is ideal and we don’t need it, but the fact that many studies have shown that countries would actually benefit if they start working on eliminating sexism from the society speaks the truth. Are you still confused about what someone means when they say ‘Stop being a sexist!” Well, sexism basically means treating someone unfairly because of their sex or stereotyping someone according to their gender”.
To be clear, sexism not only talks about stereotyping women but stereotyping men too. You might not hear the mention of the latter part frequently in any sexism related argument as the reason is simple – we live in a patriarchal society, and it’s often women who face the consequences of sexism.
When we talk about humanity, we talk about creating equal opportunities, but as soon as we start breaking down the population into genders, we begin stereotyping people according to their gender. We as families are the ones who can bring the next big change in making an ‘I am a human and that is all that matters’ kinda society. As parents, you can teach your kids about how to respect every gender equally and make them anti-sexist. If charity begins at home, anti-sexist education starts at home too!
Here are some of the steps that you must take if you don’t want your child to practice sexism when they grow up:
Let them play with whatever they want
We have often seen that if it’s a son, they are always given toy cars, and if it’s a daughter, they are given dolls to play with. This is the most gruesome mistake in parenting, and the root of gender stereotypes begins from this stage. If a boy plays with dolls, he will develop a sense of generosity and nurturance in him, and if a girl plays with cars, she will develop spatial skills.
Practice what you preach! It’s always better to become an example than quoting one. Be a role model and show your children that everyone can help with household chores and everyone can go to the market to buy groceries.
Make them practice body-positivity
Exploring his/her own body is a natural thing to do for a child, and this is the time when you should teach them how to respect different body shapes and sizes so that they don’t body shame other people after growing up. Body positivity also gives you the opportunity to develop self-care and self-confidence feeling in your child.
It’s okay to express emotions!
Don’t blame boys if they can’t express their emotions since they have been conditioned to do so! Don’t tell your son – ‘Boys don’t cry, girls cry.’ Children should always be encouraged to express every kind of emotion that they are feeling regardless of whether they are boys or girls.
Expose them to gender-friendly characters
You can use the entertainment industry in your favour and educate your child about more gender-friendly characters. For example – show them a film about superwomen! Encourage them to appreciate a wide range of characters found in films and books.
Teach them to respect differences
The most crucial aspect of eliminating sexism is accepting that we live in a diverse world where people of all races, religions, caste, and sex exist. Teach your child how to respect differences and how to develop anti-discriminatory nature. It’s a free world, and we need to stop judging people for their life choices.
There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race – scientifically, anthropologically!