My 3-year-old twin cousins with their parents had come to visit me one afternoon. The scene involved two boys fighting for a toy that led one of them to start crying. In order to soothe the little sobbing boy, my uncle said, “don’t cry! You’re a boy!”
My first reaction to this comment was a response that may have been a little disrespectful but was a reflex. I said, “so only girls are supposed to cry, not boys?”
My uncle was speechless. I didn’t say anything more because that question was enough to bring out the obvious yet hidden discrimination that is observed even in the upper social classes which are often dismissed as ‘modern’.
The belief that the educated and modern population of the world does not gender stereotype is an illusion because although they may be aware of the unfairness to believe that everyone is equal no matter what their gender is, they themselves may not semi-consciously practice it.
For example, an educated and wealthy employer may support the campaign to stop female infanticide but would not hire a female employee over a male employee even though they may be equally qualified. Thus the root of the problem does not lie in the amount of education or knowledge the person has to stop stereotyping, but lies in the lack of understanding of the whole concept of equality. In the above example of the employer, there is a chance that many would think the employer is male. This proves that discrimination is in our minds.
I would certainly have made the same decision to speak out again because I am sure that it is not only the lower and uneducated class, but also the upper class who do not truly believe in gender equality. The upper class is definitely the ones who would become true egalitarians because they are already half believers, that is, they are against the obvious discriminations, but do not understand the slight stereotypical comments that they themselves state or public sexist references that may actually be offensive.
You may then ask, on what should a person be judged on? A person should be judged on his or her ability, knowledge, skills and capability because these are characteristics that actually bring out who she or he is. The notion that the individualities and traits of a person can be deciphered from one’s gender is illogical.
I am not stating that men and women are equal. I am stating that whether you are a man or a woman shouldn’t be the criteria for you to be successful or the barrier between you and achieving your goal. I await the day when no application or form asks for one’s gender as I consider that if one really supports equality, one must support it in all forms, consciously and subconsciously.