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The typecasting syndrome

Instance 1 
A little boy cries because a certain thing does not go his way. 
"Don't cry. Are you a girl to cry?", snubs the parent.

Instance 2 
Another little boy whines for some reason. 
"Don't whine. Only girls whine", chides the parent.

An innocent lad plays an innocent game of "dress-up" or is playing with a kitchen set
"Don't play like this. Only girls play this game."

Instance 4
A small boy falls down while playing, is hurt and is crying.
"Stop crying now. Be brave and strong. You are a boy."

Yes, the crying had to be stopped. But the more important lesson to be taught is that, that it is OK when sometimes things don't go your way and life has to be taken in its stride. Unfortunately the only lesson learnt is-boys cannot/should not cry and that the expression, rather than the reason, is wrong.

Yes, whining is not a pleasant way to react to a particular situation. The boy had to be taught that one cannot keep complaining about a certain situation and that it is up to us to turn any situation to our advantage instead of looking at the negative side of it. However the lesson learnt was that girls generally behave in a disapproving manner.

Little kids like to play dress-up as it gives them an opportunity to explore and experiment. It is not important or necessary to give them an insight of worldly perception right then. The understanding or perception that the kitchen belongs to girls/women is injected so subtly yet effectively at this tender age that when these boys become husbands, it is no surprise to see them continue to hold the thought.

To cry when you are hurt physically and mentally is a way of expression. There is no harm in shedding tears if you are going to feel better at the end of it. Be it when you are 3 or 30. It is a natural reflex and it gives relief.  When you deny someone the right to express in a particular manner, there is every likelihood of the emotion getting manifested in a different level and perhaps unpleasant manner.

Girls have as much right to lessons of courage and bravery as boys. Masculinity and femininity have nothing to do with the gender. Yin-yang, male-female, X and Y are just attributes that are applicable to any living being. No one person can live a balanced and fulfilled life with just one set of emotions functioning. Being sensitive, kind and compassionate does not make a man effeminate. In fact, it makes him much more humane.

Maybe if we could stop typecasting our children and be more sensitive to what we say, we can perhaps raise a generation that is far more sensitive towards the other gender, less violent in thoughts and action, and more considerate and compassionate to the others' feelings. A new world of goodness in the future-however distant it might seem today-might perhaps be a possibility and reality. Can we hope and try?


  1. True Uma..many times we do that...I have told my son too, many times as he cries more than other kids...

    1. aww..I know..happens at times..I do say things that should not be said..*hugs*

  2. Replies
    1. ooh..*overwhelmed and bows down humbly*

  3. Fail to understand rationale/logic behind typecasting of such kind. One reason why most men can't handle tears as an emotion from their partners!

  4. Every word of your post is practical and awesome. Such typecasting at a very young age deep-roots certain misinterpreted thoughts which often build up the character of a person in a wrong way. And because men are told that they are not supposed to cry at a young age, they start suppressing the emotion and it bursts out in some other form which is neither good for him nor his near ones.

    We cannot go back and change the damage done, but we can avoid doing this mistake and perhaps in our younger generation, this can be reset properly the way it should be. Let's hope.

    Until later,
    Keirthana :)

    1. Yes, I hope we avoid doing this and be conscious of what we say.

  5. I had written a Flash Fiction on this problem of stereotyping:

    Do check it out if you get the time :)

  6. It is wrong to drag girls for comparison.One should tell the boy not to cry,whine or crib but in the process not demean the girls in general.The boys tend to carry the mistaken impression all through their lives.There are strong girls as much as timid boys.A good post

    1. you have summed it up beautifully, sir..thanks :-)

  7. hein? haven't I commented already?

    The virtues - being courageous, brave, patient, kind, learning empathy must be instilled regardless of gender. why should a girl always learn to be patient and suppress her emotions and why should a boy be let to have his ways just because he is a boy? It still happens.

    I think it is upto us parents to teach them.

    BTW the article you had sshared on FB was very nice!

    1. That article was really nice and pragmatic..I found it on someone else's blog !

  8. We are born as male or female but society through its upbringing of children makes them into boys/ girls .. men/ women. Gender is a social construct around a bilogical difference. Who says that girls like to play with dolls and boys with bats and balls? It is the subtle way we mould them to behave like that . The entire concept of aggression that is associated with men is also a trait that they develop as they grow up. Gender stereotype hamper men as much as they hamper women.

    1. True, we create stereotypes. Stereotyping harms both the genders equally. Thanks, Meera for dropping in and sorry for replying so late!

  9. OMG, how true we all do it without even thinking a sec about what a blunder we are doing and then we blame men for being stereotype oh insensitive of us!!!

    Fantastic post claps claps and claps :)

    1. Hey Ramya, thanks for the applause. *blush* :-)

  10. So true Uma .. Typecasting is a primary root cause of many eveils that plague our society today.
    I was completely nodding in agreement as I read this post. Very good food for thought.

    1. Hope, at least the present crop of parents take the effort to change this. Thanks, Aarthy!

  11. Uff.. I can so relate to most of these instances Uma .. having a gentle boy at home leads to someone or the other coming up with stuff like this, which of course leads to angry glares from me ;).

    1. Please give me some tips to raise a gentle boy, Aparna! I am making vain attempts to ask the little boy at my home to be more gentle :-0

  12. Uma, This was a very meaningful post and till this day I thank my mother to have taught me to cook and clean as any girl would have learnt! I served in the Armed Forces and still take pride in what I learnt:) This gender sensitisation is only for treating women with greater respect and should not be harped upon otherwise to show that hey are weak!!

    1. Your mother is a role model, Rahulji. I'm so happy to hear this. I have the same ideals of raising my son to be houseproud and domestically trained.

  13. I completely agree with you here Uma and I find this utter nonsense!!

    1. such nonsense is so rampant even now, Privy! and that's the sad part :-(


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