A few days ago a fellow parent at Parentous had talked about gender stereotypes in her post. It got me thinking about my own kid and his inclinations.
In his 2.5 years I have seen, and a couple of other mothers too, vouch for this with their kids, that some gender stereotypes seem to come inherent in these kids, without us doing anything to foster them. One such stereotype is the unwritten rule – boys play with cars and girls with dolls.
The very first thing that interested my son as soon as he was born was the fan. He used to stare in fascination at the three winged contraption rotating above his head through day and night. Soon his attention also turned to knobs and latches on the doors. At 3 to 5 months he used to watch them being turned by the members of the family and demanded it to be done again and again.
By his 8th month, the Ganesh festival came. We took him to the road to see the Ganesh procession. As we urged him repeatedly to see the Elephant God riding majestically on a tempo, the only things my son’s eye wanted to see were the tyres of that tempo. Soon we discovered that whenever we went out, either on feet or in auto or car, my son would always peek down to see the wheels of the vehicles. He wasn’t interested much in anything else.
One of the earliest gifts he got from our friends coming to see the new baby was a stuffed doll. We named it Pinky and tried interesting my son with it, but Sid never gave Pinky as much as a side glance. The doll just lay in the pile of toys to be tossed away here and there whenever it came in his way, until it finally got torn and had to be cast away.
In fact, the same was the case with Ganesha, Zuzu and Chota Bheem dolls. Ditto for a small turtle. Through all these years, his constant companions have always been cars – of various shapes and sizes. He covets a model Ferrari that is his father’s prized procession, and always pleads with my husband to give it to him. All the stuffed characters just lie in a corner of his room waiting for him to take mercy on them and lift them just for a while.
This fascination for cars and other mechanical goods has only been on a rise with him. Now he has an array of vehicles – trucks, monster trucks, aeroplanes, cars and trains. He has recently been pestering his grandpa for a red bus.
A few other mothers I know, also confessed that their sons have automatically taken a liking to cars and other macho goods and daughters to Barbies and other dolls without anyone directing them to. I wonder if these kinds of gender stereotypes have got embedded in our genes.
Even though my son does play with my utensils like kadais and pressure cookers, his favorites are still vehicles. We have not introduced the kiddo to guns yet, for we are not very inclined to. But something tells me it would not be too long before he would want to own a collection of them too. And needless to say, his all-time favorite rhyme is –
‘Wheels on the Bus go round and round!’
Yamini is a software professional turned work-at-home-mom. Amidst her domestic responsibilities and a very demanding 2.5 year old son, she snatches time to write academic papers, freelance content, fiction and poetry. Her stories and poetry have been published in various online literary magazines and anthologies by Penguin Books and Cyberwit Publications. Yamini voices her thoughts now and then at http://myexpressionsandme.