We are all put in boxes very early!
I was born female, so my father was told, don’t worry the next one will be a boy. People started planning to make me into marriageable material. The presents I got, were generally clothes or things that helped me learn about household chores, which of course, we had to help with.
My brother was born a male, so got a bike and did not have to do any chores, except the shopping. He also got money, when we visited family abroad and was able to play out.
I do not hold any grudge and wish all well: we all have expectations that can limit our potential. I did love, the more than life size dolly, my father got me, on my brother’s birthday and I do like cooking. And after all, only three things last : faith, hope, love and the greatest of these is love (Bible: 1 Corinthians 13:13)
It is does matter, however because it forms an expectation and stereotype, in ours and other’s minds. No idea what happened to the large trunk, my mother used, as my bottom draw: “a young woman’s collection of household items to use in her home after marriage’” all I know is, I never contributed to it. Though, we still use the microwave, from my trousseau.
I loved the figure of the Thinker, at the central library and suppose the above has made me into one. Why should expectations of me and others be limited by what people perceive to be my gender, ethnicity, age etc. We have all come from the same source/universe and will continue to be part of it. So, here are some TV and radio programmes that made me think.
No More Boys And Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?
I loved this programme, where, Doctor Javid Abdelmoneim, takes over a Year 3 class and aims to remove all differences in the way boys and girls are treated, to see if, after six weeks of ‘gender neutral’ treatment, he can even out the gaps in their achievement, across a range of important psychological measures, from self-confidence to spatial awareness. It is a bold, engaging, and provocative experiment but what a difference it makes. I loved the bit where he bought gifts, for the children and took away the gender packaging, before giving them out: the girls’ maths improved and the boys were able to explore another aspect of their humanity. There was an interesting sequence, when he reflected, with families about their girls’ clothing and aspirations. It was an eyeopener and even the teacher realised how they responded, differently, to the boys and girls. It was 2017, but I do hope the experiments continued in same form.
The Expectation Effect by David Robson’s
This is more recent, so only just started listening to it. It seems remarkable, however, how the science of our mindset, and brain can change our world for the better. To me it proves there is no conflict between science and faith because, I can think many of spiritual leaders, great thinkers and philosophers who would agree.
The programme seems to suggest that our brain is a prediction machine. Our eyes do not see as well as we think they do, so our brain is constantly making predictions about what we might be facing. These predictions, I assume include thinking every plumber, doctor is male and women like shopping and shoes!
The episodes so far have included: “The food Paradox, A Pious Fraud, Do no harm, Faster stronger fitter, limitless will power and the superagers.”
It can be hard dealing with our own predictive brains limiting our expectations, adding other peoples is oppressive; a bit like the “evil demon, the dark saw”, referred to in episode 1 of the Expectation Effect. This is one reason, why I am changing my pronoun, at work to, they/them.