Recently, I witnessed a lady in my neighbourhood publicly admonishing her teenage daughter for hanging out with a boy, and not with other girls. The mother was livid and the girl seemed apologetic. I see the same happening to younger children too. Although not as blatant, gender dynamics are played out even on the playground – boys usually play with other boys and girls with other girls. And it’s not deliberate. They have been divided for as long as they have known in school, at home, on the playground. It’s blue for boys, pink for girls; cars for boys, dolls for girls; cricket for boys, badminton for girls and on it goes.
Luckily there are people who refuse to conform to the stereotypes. Parents who understand that confining their children hampers their development and that laying down restrictions for their teenagers leads to rebellion. There are women who know that a man talking to another woman does not imply him having an affair with her, and men who realise that just because a man cares for a woman, it doesn’t mean he is romantically or sexually attracted to her.
So, there continues to be hope.