Inequality among male and female members of the society has existed from time immemorial. I often wonder about the origin of the divide, which might not have been present during the Palaeolithic period. According to sociobiologists, patriarchy arises more as a result of inherent biology than social conditioning. Some movies like ‘The Croods’ comically display the controlling nature of the male dominant in a family, even during a time when thoughts were quite primitive.
When I was a child, my father used to buy me Barbie dolls. They would come completely equipped with a mesmerising set of dresses, accessories, and even kitchen appliances. But he would also buy me action figures of superheroes like Wonder Woman and Superman. He taught me to cook in the kitchen and serve food but also to go to war for the sake of the greater good. The idea of the gender roles that have been assigned through the production and marketing of toys in itself is a danger to the existence of equality. A picture is being created of how women are supposed to cook food and look after household chores while men protect the world. There are exceptions, of course, but the majority works in this manner. For instance, I never saw a female soldier toy or a household set for a man doll while growing up. But I have a brother who has been encouraged to play with a kitchen set, which most boys are not allowed to do. The patriarchal disapproval of letting a boy play with a Barbie is also evident through a scene in the sitcom- ‘Friends’ where Ross does not like it while Ben seems to like the Barbie more than the G.I Joe toy. Toys are also coloured, with girls being pushed towards pretty pink princesses and boys towards blue race cars. A prime example of this could be found in the marketing techniques used by Kinder Joy, which demarcates boys’ toys from girls’ toys. This brings in an idea of the domestication of women and the promotion of boys to aim higher in life, which also comes with a false superiority assigned to aggression. Kids would, however, in the absence of social conditioning, gravitate towards toys without considering the gender appeal constructed by society.
The claiming of women’s rights should start from the very base by encouraging a gender-neutral environment. The struggle for equal pay and equal division of household chores will never fully attain fruition unless the root cause of the problem is solved, which can only be attained by not conditioning new generations to follow the biases that have been nurtured until now.
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