Friday, October 17, 2014

Stereotypes: No thank you, please.

All the girls in one team and all the guys in the other team.” It is one of the phrases that annoys me a lot. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against being in an all girls’ team. That is never the problem. I love girls’ night and girls’ girl and girls’ team and man's man. But my problem is always sorting on the basis of gender. This might get very controversial very fast. There are a lot of places where gender based divisions make sense. Like in case of public restrooms. But for some other things, it seems like an unnecessary rule that people impose just because. And that bothers me.

 I am also not a fan of the typical husband-wife or boyfriend-girlfriend jokes. They thrive on generalizations and stereotypes.

And don’t even get me started on statements that start with “we men…” or “you women…”

I don’t know what it is about these generalizations that bothers me so much. I can’t point my finger at it. Especially because I am all for girl power. But something about these broad strokes bothers me enough to complain about it louder and clearer each time I do talk about it.

The problem with generalizations is that it takes away from what truly deserves to be acknowledged. It is like if I do well at something, and somebody responds to me by saying “Of course you did well. I expected nothing less from you. What else could be the outcome.” While I understand the positive sentiment behind these statements, these positive & well-intended statements actually manage to take away from the part you played in your little victory.

We hear a lot of generalizations regarding boys & men. “Real men don’t cry” or “be a man” or anything that says that boys and men are a certain way. Except that it isn’t true. Men cry, just like women can be feisty. I understand the difference in physiology, anatomy, muscle mass, etc. of men versus women. I don’t deny facts. I don’t argue with science. But I get annoyed by incorrect notions that society puts on top of all the physiological and scientific facts. I hope my boy has the ability to cry (what kind of mum wishes this for her son…well my kind...I think crying is great and it does wonders for your system). Going by what he does today, he has ample ability to cry. Granted he is barely an 18 month old toddler. My point, Sir, is that real men do cry.

We hear a lot of such generalizations regarding down syndrome. “They are such sweet people.” “They are all very loving.” “They are emotionally very intelligent.” “They are all very nice people.” Except when they aren’t. Even if every single person with down syndrome that you have ever met fits in these buckets, such generalizations tend to take so much away from the person. Generalizing these qualities make people a number. A statistic. And what fun is that?! It isn’t any fun at all. I used to be ok with it. But as Samaira’s personality is developing, and she is turning out to be a hugger and a high EQ person, I can’t help but wonder at the person she is & the personality she has. I would hate to think that these awesome qualities that she has in her are attributed to her having down syndrome. Doesn’t make any sense, right? I would much rather give her the credit for who she is and what she will become.

Something about generalizations is very unfair. It takes away from the person and the personality. It gives less credit to who you are. It gives more credit to the unnecessary hearsay. If I ever do it, I try to pull myself back really hard. If I repeat it I try to remind myself in the strictest voice possible. This is one of the few (or many) things that is somewhat unacceptable to me. Let us see people, places and things for who\what they are, and not what they are expected to be.

Science is ok. Facts are ok. Traditions are ok. Humor is ok, most of the times. Emotions are ok. Liking is ok. Disliking is ok. Preferences are ok.


Stereotypes – no thank you, please.

Kids are confused about us taking their picture, again

My Positivity

The return of fall. I am beginning to see brown, yellow and orange leaves. It makes me feel like I am in a movie .

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