What Does A ‘Natural’ Assumption That A Doctor Or Engineer Is Male, Say About Us?

Posted: November 6, 2019

‘Girls and boys are not the same’ is something that much of society believes. But do they have the same chances? It depends completely on us, the parents.

In a curious case of reverse gender inequality, there is a new question making rounds, ‘why is it considered acceptable to say, “we want a baby girl?” or even claiming that ‘gender doesn’t matter.’

If one wants a baby boy, is it a taboo to express that?

Before I speak any further, I’m putting out a big disclaimer. No disrespect intended and I don’t mean to trample on anyone’s voice. I’m also trying very hard not to soapbox, and I hope you can see that.

Big breath in. And out.

We can finally speak!

Historically, boys have been seen as superior to girls. We all know that. Every step of the way, women have had to fight for basic rights and equality.

Our female ancestors have faced inequality in finances, health care, politics, and even arts. There are still countries, where women cannot vote, drive or visit a stadium to watch their favourite team play.

We sit in our cozy chairs, having a civil discussion simply because of feminism. These discussions are being had because of all those wonderful people who fought for us to have voices.

Men are, however, still celebrated

In every part of the world, boys and men are celebrated intrinsically.  Society centres around men and their opinions. This is a very basic truth.

Men still are viewed as natural leaders and decision makers. It’s ‘natural’ for people to assume that little boys will grow up to be doctors/ engineers/ CEOs. I mean, ask yourself this. Except in modern and progressive households, are the same assumptions made about girls?

What would happen if you were to put a 26-year-old girl in the spotlight, under the society’s gaze? Will anyone wonder what company she’s heading? Or will they whisper about her not being married by then? This is male privilege- the automatic assumption that males deserve and will get everything in life on their terms.

The basic level of discrimination

Now about something as basic as baby clothing. For boys, you’ll find words like ‘rockstar,’ ‘explorer,’ ‘achiever,’ and even ‘scientist.’ And more often that not, girls’ clothing will have ‘princess,’ ‘rainbow,’ or ‘angel’ or something just as senseless on it.

All those ‘girl power’ shirts exist, not because girls are better than boys. But because for years girls were told and made to believe that they were inferior and that they didn’t matter.

How patriarchy affects girls and boys

However, it’s not just the girls who are hurt by this mentality. It messes with the boys as well. “Why is your shirt pink?” “Don’t cry like a girl!” “Be a real man!” A number of little boys hear these sentences very often

Imagine how crushed they must feel, because they’re told to repress their emotions. Feminism is fighting against these hurtful mindsets so that every boy and every girl can be whoever they want to be.

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where at every level of the society, women suffer. Rape, abuse, salary gap, domestic duties – it’s always the females who are most impacted.

It is illegal to find out the gender of a child because there still are places in the world where female foetuses are killed and baby girls thrown away.

What progress looks like to me

Given all of this, when someone says that they want a daughter, it warms my heart. It shows me, that somewhere people are leaving behind the conservative ideas. That people are opening their hearts to raise a strong female child. This gives me hope that people are breaking free from the mindset that, “ladka hua toh accha hai” or that “we need a son to carry the family name forward.”

While our default mode is to celebrate the male child, when someone hopes for a baby girl, isn’t that just wonderful?

To me, this is what progress looks like.

Love your kids regardless of their gender!

If you have a son, congratulations! I know you’re raising him to be a lovely human who respects women and rebels against injustice.

If you have a daughter, congratulations. She will grow up to be this amazing warrior, because she’s been fighting for herself since she was a child.

And if you have one of each, like I do? They’ll learn about equality from a very young age. My son wears “the future is female” shirts. And my daughter frequently holds CEO meetings to demand new toys.

So never feel guilty for wanting a girl and never feel ashamed for having a boy.

If we do our jobs right, our kids will feel treasured and loved, no matter what their gender is. And if we do an even better job, decades from now, the gender of our children will be not dictate their lives.

A version of this wasfirst published here.

Picture credits: Pexels

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