There is no age to like chocolates, right? Then why does the shopkeeper gives me a weird look every time I go to the confectioner and ask for Kinder Joy, for myself? Is it because the product is only meant for children? And when he realises that l was buying it for myself, without asking anything, he would hand me over the pink edition. I’ve been observing this for a long time now.
The thing that still hinders me and makes me feel uncomfortable just by watching it displayed on the shelf of chocolate stores is the Kinder Joy packaging, which has a pink wrapping for girls and blue for boys. Although I enjoy Kinder Joy as a grown-up adult, I couldn’t resist myself from slamming this sexist remark because these chocolate eggs are not for us, who are mature enough to take this distinction lightly or ignore it or not form any biasness within ourselves. These are meant for children, who are yet to form their consciousness, especially when it comes to their gender and sex.
It makes them believe that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. It limits them from being what they admire, what they like and what they wanna be. I see kids get nervous when they get the other colour, mocked when they pick up the other colour, and offended when offered the other colour. That’s why they’re so keen on picking the right colour for them. It’s not only about the wrapper that bothers me, but also the toys.
The blue one comes with cars, clones of Avenger characters and other superheroes, while the pink one comes with clones of sparkling princesses, unicorns, butterflies etc. At a very young age, children are treated according to their predefined societal roles on the basis of their sex. This actually hurts men as well as women at a later age.
While women are taught to be soft-hearted, emotional and ‘motherly’, men are told to act ‘tough’ and ‘emotionless’. Parents buy guns for boys and dolls for girls. Boys are told not to cry and hit back, while girls are told to cry rather than fight back. Of course, these are not natural distinctions. This early treatment leads boys to hide their feelings for the rest of their lives. In a fear that society will mock them, boys don’t cry and this causes lots of psychological problems for them.
As an Urdu couplet goes: “Patthar bana diya mujhe rone nahi diya (They made a stone out of me by not letting me cry)”. Women, on the other hand, remain fearful of standing against atrocities as they are told that this is not expected of them. As Kaifi Azmi writes in his famous poem Aurat (woman), “Tujh meñ sho.ale bhī haiñ bas ashk-fishānī hī nahīñ (Not only tears, you also contain blazing flames)”. Women are made to feel that they can do nothing except cry.
Kinder Joy is contributing to toxic sexism by keeping their packaging. I don’t know how the product manages to come out at in the market at this point of time when we all talk about gender equality. It’s too late already to stop the product from discriminating on the basis of gender and rather make the packaging gender neutral because kids do not understand that.