Despite having ushered in the 21st century, men and women are still boxed into expectations placed on them by the virtue of their gender. But such stereotypes only serve to cause harm. Who says that boys can’t do something just because they are boys?
We’ve put together five stereotypes that are best broken, and reasons why it’s totally fine for men to break the mould and follow their passion!
Screenshot. Image source: Youtube
Boys can’t play with dolls
Why is it that Barbie dolls and kitchen sets are meant for only girl children? After all, gender has nothing to do with what toys one should play with. If a girl loves to play with GI Joes and racing cars, she should be encouraged and similarly there is nothing wrong with a boy having fun playing with a doll house. They shouldn’t be shamed for expressing themselves.
Boys can’t cry
How often have we all heard someone say – boys don’t cry? We end up stifling young children by placing unrealistic expectations on them, especially about how they are supposed to behave. And it is far more harmful because narratives on masculinity denies boys, and by extension, men to be vulnerable. They are not only told that boys are not supposed to cry but crying is equated with femininity and derided –boys sometimes end up forming harmful impressions about women as a result. Thankfully there are those who are quietly yet surely bucking this trend. It was truly a water-cooler moment when Bollywood superstar and someone considered by millions as a pinnacle of masculinity, Aamir Khan, showed his vulnerable side while hosting Satyamev Jayate. By simply being unafraid to shed a tear or two, he normalised the idea that men can express emotions.
Boys can’t be into fashion
Only girls are “supposed” to know how to sew and be interested in arts and craft and also take to the latest fashion. And yet, any boy who shows interest in similar fields is immediately derided. But from Sabyasachi to Manish Malhotra, the Indian fashion industry has a good ratio of men and women making the country look fashionable and that’s nothing short of inspiring.
Boys can’t study arts
While women across the world struggle to break into STEM fields (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics), men are often mocked for choosing fields of study that are less technical in nature. Especially those who choose to pursue higher studies in liberal arts. Given that yearly there are millions of young boys essentially arm twisted into opting either for engineering or MBBS courses, their creativity also gets choked in the process.
Boys can’t cook
More than being told that they can’t cook; boys are often told by their own families that they shouldn’t cook. And it’s confounding given that starting from Sanjeev Kapoor to Vikas Khanna, some of the most respected chefs in India happen to be men. And yet, the kitchen is considered a “woman’s domain.” As celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor succinctly puts it, “It does not matter if your little boy or girl wants to be in the kitchen with you. It is the interest level that matters.”
Boys will be boys but that should only mean that they are true to themselves.