I write this post for a tag I recently received from blabberblah. I believe IHM set this in motion with her post: My sins against gender stereotypes. We’ve all had stereotyping shoved down our throats. Getting pigeon-holed into whatever is becoming your sex isn’t uncommon. The assumption that certain jobs, skills and interests are meant for a particular gender stinks. As a response, many bloggers are outlining their transgressions of gender barriers.
Before I make my list public, I want to ponder something. A girl having boyish interests is called a tomboy. But people are less charitable to a guy who does something girly. I bet he hears sissy a lot. I don’t need to tell you which one is an acceptable insult. So, female bloggers don’t become the butt of jokes when they congregate to confess an interest in cricket, or declare the number of speeding tickets they’ve received, or know the difference between a carburetor and an accelerator (just an exaggeration!). On the other hand, a guy who confesses to liking chick-flicks or talks about the delicious sambhar he made last night or wears pink is not as well received. This explains the negative responses from many male bloggers who were tagged. Most of them hid behind, “I can’t think of anything girly that I do.”
Here are some things I do or want to do that can be considered girly:
- I like a clean home. That includes a clean kitchen sink that should never be a storehouse for dirty dishes. I have gotten out of my bed at midnight just to vacuum more than once
- I like to cook. I like to try out new dishes now and then. (Somehow I have not been able to muster the confidence to invite friends over for a home-cooked meal)
- I can hem a pillow cover or the bottom of a trouser. I do take some pride in the fact that the stitches are of equal size and at an equal distance from each other
- I have enjoyed playing ‘teacher-teacher’ as a child. I was a bit of a tyrant though
- People say that I have very neat handwriting
- I don’t make much of an effort to remember roads and don’t have an impeccable sense of direction. I have never hesitated to ask for directions
- I almost never let my cellphone run out of power (more and more guys are getting on board with this concept)
- I can listen and give emotional counsel to friends. I might make inappropriate jokes as a defense mechanism
- In recent times, I have become more sensitive to clothes, sunglasses, spectacle frames and other parts of my appearance that might need enhancement.
Can’t think of any more now. My readers are free to add.
Often called selfishness, individualism gets a bad rap in society. What people don’t understand is that unless one is sure of what one wants and takes steps to get that, one can never be secure enough to do good without it validating their own self-esteem. I have, time and again, championed the cause of individualism and asked people to step out of the molds of religion, caste, language and even nationality. So why not gender? While there are some characteristics found more in men than women, they cannot be used as a tool to pigeon-hole people into pre-styled societal roles.
I am me first. Then a man. Then my parents’ son. Then an Indian. Then a Tamilian…and so on. I urge my readers and fellow bloggers to do what they want to do (as long as they don’t infringe on another person’s exercise of his own rights) and only that. We have only one life. Preset rules of how we should behave belong right where they came from: the past. Sadly, in the past, the people did not have the foundation, the knowledge, the strength and the support to stand alone. We don’t have that excuse.