Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gender Roles

        I.           As a child, one distinction I made between genders is the colours that were assigned to each gender by default; pink is for girls and blue is for boys. In first grade all the girls in our class said their favourite colour was pink, and we all wanted to be the pink Power Ranger not the yellow one including myself. If there were no female roles in a show, we did not mind associating ourselves with a male character who was wearing a colour that was ‘appropriate’ for girls; I wanted to be either the red or purple Ninja Turtle.  A year later, I decided it was a colour for younger girls and choose purple as my new favourite color. Now, that my favourite colour is blue, I wonder what would happen if I walk into a first grade class and tell them that; do children in 2014 still assign colours to gender?

Another distinction was that I was expected to wear dresses at parties and my brother was not. I only had a brother at first and he did not wear dresses and I did not want to dress drastically differently than he did. I remember two times my mother tried to get me into a dress and I made such a big deal about it. Both times were at my brother’s birthday parties. In the first incident, I was four years old and it was my brother’s fifth birthday at Chuckie Cheese. I thought I was already dressed for the party when my mom came down with what I thought was the most horrendous piece of clothing. It was a spotted light blue dress with ruffles! My mom was struggling to get the dress on me while I cried and fidgeted trying to resist. A family friend who was invited came while my mom still had the dress in her hand. My mom told her I thought the dress was ugly and I would not wear it. The family friend told me it was beautiful and that is all it took me to wear it as the naïve child I was.

About three year after that, there was another birthday for my brother. He was in the stage where boys and girls believed in ‘cooties’ so he only invited boys to his party. I had a sister at that time and she happily wore one of my dresses I had outgrown and barely worn. I was expected to wear a dress as well, and when my mom proposed the idea, I refused. I wanted to stay in my Jiminy the Cricket shirt and leggings. I was older at that time and nobody was able to trick me into wearing a dress anymore. I remember how my mom and my visiting aunt told me that my sister was better than I was or looked nicer. Many years later, I got used to hearing similar comments but now being compared to two sisters who dressed more "femine-like" than I do. 

Wait for Part 2