In the previous session at the centre, we had done an activity based on the broad idea of stereotyping and gender roles. This was followed by a story on why we associate certain characteristics or objects with specific genders.
In this session, the volunteers at the Bhowanipore centre, Priyanka and Apoorva took the discussion on the activity forward.
They started with a discussion on why certain objects are linked to a specific gender. For instance why a hairbrush only associated with women. The children replied that women use it more. When the volunteers asked about belts, the children said that men use them more often and the ones used by women are different.
Priyanka then asked them to explain what they understood from the story of the girl with short hair, which had been narrated in the previous class. According to the children one should not tease anybody or make fun of others. Priyanka then explained that one should not make fun of those who look different from us.
Would they make fun of a boy with long hair?
Initially the children said they won’t but when Priyanka probed a little further they said they would.
The discussion continued using various examples. We asked the children if they had faced discrimination. Unfortunately they have, one of them said that he is called names because of his dark complexion, another said that she is teased in school because of her height. Other children said that they have seen people making fun of others.
The volunteers want to take this discussion as well as the issue of stereotyping further in the coming sessions using stories and games. They asked the children to think about this and also help others when they are being discriminated against.
– Rupsha Paul