Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fitting the stereotypes

Before boys are born, they're made to drink a shot of the car-airplane-monster truck-anything on wheels potion. And before girls are born, they're made to drink a make-up and clothes potion. These are not just stereotypes. Looking at my kids, I'm almost certain this is what really happens.

Vir's undying passion for cars is no secret. Seriously, that boy scares me with how much he thinks about cars and how much he understands them already. Yesterday, he pulled out two pet cars for the day (he always has a one or two that go with him everywhere for a couple of days and are then put away safely while a couple of others get the honor for a while.) Anyway, the two dinky cars he pulled out were, as I saw them, completely different. One was a black and white police car with lights on top and some other embellishments. The other was a blue race car looking thing with a spoiler on the back. As always, he brought them to me to get me to read their names, typically written on the bottom of the Hotwheels ones. I couldn't believe it when I realized that different as they looked, they were both Dodge Chargers. Some part of his boy brain was able to figure out the similarities in the two cars despite all obvious differences and pull them out from his embarrassingly large collection of dinky cars to form a pair. Totally incomprehensible to me of course. I stared and stared at those cars after that to see if I could spot any similarities. None. At all. Of course, I was never given a shot of that magic potion before I was born. Maybe this is why boys don't understand the differences between mauve and lilac, or beige and taupe, or  jade and sap. Same as why I don't see the difference between a Dodge Charger and a non Dodge Charger.

The little woman in my house meanwhile is discovering that she loves all things girly. Ask her to show you her nail polish and she'll preen and show off without apology. It started when my sister in law painted hers and her cousin's nails to entertain them one day. They both came out of her room blowing lightly at their fingers as if they've been doing this forever. And today, she came running up to me urgently handing me my kajal and asking me to twist it open and apply it to her lips. All things that twist open must be lipstick of course! And she doesn't let a single opportunity to use creams and lotions and perfumes go by. She just has to see me opening my toiletry cabinet to come running up with her demands. She's always ready to show off her clothes and shoes and her pretty face to all willing admirers. Add a small purse to her ensemble and that's all she needs. My mom actually sent her a shiny little purse with two bottles of nail polish inside as a present to make her happy recently. Totally made the little show off's day!

Of course, we're not doing anything to consciously promote these stereotypes, but they're such fun to watch that we're not really discouraging them either. As if we could fight against the magic potions even if we wanted to!

1 comment:

Shailaja said...

I agree for sure. i have twins aged 4.5 yrs, one boy and 1 girl. When they were small, we have absoluely not distinguished between both. Given the same toys to both whether it is soft toys or cars. But now, my girl prefers to dress up, pretend play and dolls whereas my son prefers or rather plays absolutely only with vehicles. This inspite of me getting a car for my daughter, whenever i get for my son.