Saw this on UPWORTHY‘s Facebook page.
I still remember vividly how my kindergarten teacher (our pastor’s wife) said to me that I was wrong to colour my flower blue (which has been my all-time fave colour) because ‘Blue is for boys and you’re a girl. Red is for girls’. Fast forward… when I was about 11, my uncle took me to a toy shop and let me make my own choice. When his co-workers saw my doctor set and police set, they laughed, ‘Wow! You’re certainly not a girly girl.’
Beam’s been making most of the choices for herself ever since she was born. Family and friends were worried… because she stopped wearing dresses and skirts at around the age of 3, and she’s never into things like Barbie or Hello Kitty (Dora the Explorer is probably the “girliest” character she’s ever shown some interest in… All the way, she prefers ‘boyish’ stuff like Ben10 and Spiderman, and animals).
Meanwhile, she kept her hair long which is regarded as a ‘girly’ thing in this society. When she first decided to have it cut (age of 5), people asked me, ‘How did you make her?’ The truth is I never did, never do and never will. She felt it was too hot; simple as that. And I can’t tell you how many of her kindergarten friends had been so jealous of her being able to decide on her own look, ‘Aww… I wish Mummy would allow me to keep my hair long too!! But she said it’s too troublesome.’ I’m still baffled — Certainly a pony tail is very easy to do, yuh? That’d been Beam’s trademark for years.
When she was in primary school, though PE lessons were her favourite (which often got cancelled for no reason), a school day with PE lesson was quite unbearable. Imagine in a tropical country like Singapore, girls have to wear a skirt outside of their PE shorts still. Beam asked me, ‘Why is it those female teachers can wear trousers while we have to put on a skirt? Why is it they can let their hair down however they want while we must tie ours up or cut it short?’ Well, because, unfortunately, many adults consider themselves superior.
I never understand how stereotyping works. Such stupid and counterproductive mindset, but still, it’s the mainstream. We once discussed the differences between men and women in class. I wondered out loud why we must put the focus on ‘gender’ and why we can’t just treat every person like an ‘individual’ regardless their gender. My male teacher straight away responded, ‘Well, that sounds very female actually.’ @_@
Well, just glad that Beam’s finally a Summerhillian where she’s free to be who she is. The best decision we’ve ever made for ourselves!!