The race today ends with power and power rests with the strongest and strongest is ‘being man enough.’ The gender of a baby suddenly influences the parents to think whether the colour of the room would be blue or pink. The market does it work with their production of toys but the division takes place when it’s bought. Barbie dolls for the girls in pink and cars and trucks for the boys in blue.
Kids would still be in their fifth year yet would know what is girls stuff and that it excludes boys stuff without knowing when stereotypes did ‘that’ stuff to them. Boys voting for Superman, Spider-man and imitating their actions is every family thing. But what happens to a boy when he suddenly cries to watch Cinderella or the Disney Barbie Princess series? I can see how bad he’s laughed at for making a choice that conforms the alien gender. Male superheroes are admired by every kid who watches them. But the female characters or the girly ones are exclusive for the girls. It is embarrassing for a boy to look up for a girl as his superhero.
Comics and children’s fiction aim at what is called ‘hyper-masculinisation’ where characters reflect aggressive behaviour and boys get influenced to be anti-emotional and make up stuff by themselves about how crying is a girly thing. Superhero culture is not like a birthday party but everyday ritual. A stereotyped ritual; torn between what is boyish and what stands to be girlish.
An odd scene strikes everyone’s childhood where girls are taught about girl power and shown female superheroes while boys are made to admire the male characters and make them believe how female superheroes are yet inferior and not stronger enough. It’s still a taboo for a man to follow a woman who is stronger enough and this gender-injected stem finds it’s roots from the childhood itself. It is because of this injudicious veil of division that choices get locked in the closets.
It is just not about admiring the superheroes, it is about the belief that they are being fed. A boy being shunned for his choice of girl characters impacts his overall perception about girls and about women when he grows out to be a man. A man grown out this kid will see women as only the second best for they were barred from reading stories lead by female characters. They were made to believe how women are less admirable when it comes to their comparison with men.
They’ll still think how it is weird and unnatural to make choices which otherwise a girl is supposed to make.
Change is the only constant. Such stereotypes that limit choices starting from the childhood itself not only moulds their otherwise natural instinctual behaviour but makes them adapt to something which only concerns their social self avoiding any development with the personal self. Choices are free and it’s never a choice to limit them. Let your kids walk down the toy shop freely and choose whatever they want to. Allow them to admire their own superheroes out of their own perceptions. Stop making up stuff for them!