05 September, 2004

Sugar and snails

Completely fascinating to watch the process of indoctrinating kids into their appropriate gender roles. I'm watching my little cousins - four or five, I think. They're tearing around madly, squealing and giggling and wrestling with each other. Then a pack of adults descends upon them, separates them carefully, and sternly reprimands Ashwin, the boy, not to play so rough. "Isha got hurt yesterday," his father tells him. "I got hurt too," Ashwin mumbles, seeking the same sympathy his cousin receives. "You did? Where?" his father asks, giving him a casual once-over. Isha, meanwhile, wanders off, confused as to why their play has been interrupted.

Interesting philosophical debate: do parents have the right to break this cycle? If it were possible, can I morally make the decision to abstain from gendering my kid, or mis-gendering them, and thus subject them to a lifetime of being socially outcast?

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