The excerpt below was NOT written by me. It was sent to me as a message and I thought to share it. I do not know the source and writer of the piece. If I did, I surely would have fully acknowledged the writer. The piece succinctly sums up an aspect of my research which deals with how ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman are learnt through socialisation in the home especially through division of household chores-who does what. From my findings, mothers are usually the ones who divide household chores in gender stereotypical ways- teaching their daughters to cook in preparation for their future roles as wives and homemakers while boys are not expected to learn to cook. Mothers hold a very critical position in dismantling  stereotypes, use your position well and be deliberate about it. Again, although this is a very common socialisation model in many homes, my research also shows that in a few homes, boys are actually raised to cook and perform other “feminine” duties in the home.

Below is the piece.

Teach The Boys Too
When you get married and have kids, constantly teach your son that he is not better than females; imbibe in him the spirit of equality and debunk every perception of patriarchy. He should equally cook sometimes like his sisters, he should wash, clean, tidy the house.
Teach him that if he is hungry, he needs to go and cook, not a woman.

Teach him that gizzard is for all both genders.

If you’ll teach your female kids that Virginity is their pride, teach him same.

If you’ll have to teach your female kids that sleeping around makes them lose integrity, teach him same.

Teach him that “HE CEASES TO BE A MAN AND BECOMES A BEAST” immediately he lays his hand on a woman.

Teach him not to think about marriage because he cannot cook, because he’s too busy or lazy to wash his clothes. No.

Teach him that what makes him a real man is how he treats his woman;
Teach him that his responsibility is to love his woman like Christ loved the church.

Teach him that listening to his woman doesn’t make him a weak man.

Teach him that his woman has no business trying to keep him by going by some rules. He’s got to be responsible enough to stay committed.

Teach him that his opinions are not superior just because he is male.

Teach him a lot of things that will save his future woman from pains and agony.

One of the causes of gender inequality is parenting. It starts at home. When our male and female children come back from school, the male carelessly undresses and throws his uniform all over the house, parents asks the female to go arrange them, because? She’s female and needs to learn how to make a home. She wakes up by 5am, he wakes up by 7am. Why? She’s a woman, she’s got to wake up first and do chores. And he sleeps till 7am and you say nothing as a parent?

She cooks all alone and serves, and even when there’s a little flaw in the meal, you nag her, telling her that she won’t make a good wife. In fact that she might not last in marriage. Why? because she didn’t cook well. What of your son? How many times have you told him of things that won’t make him a good husband?

See, cultural bias has made us tilt the full responsibility of making marriage work to a woman. Even as early as 15, many females are constantly reminded of what they must do to be a virtuous woman; homely wife; that they must cook well, wash, clean, wake up early etc. Do we remind our male children constantly these same things we instill in our females? And when the average woman gets into marriage, her husband does not care about the kitchen, can’t wash, can’t help out, can’t do anything. She has to do everything to make it work, in as much as he is to blamed for such irresponsibility as an adult. But who mothered him? Who fathered him?

Your work as a parent isn’t just to send your kids to school and when they grow you let them be. No, you’ve got to start now to mould them into a blessing to whoever they’ll marry. Parenting influences a child’s future marital destiny. Parenting influences how a child treats the opposite sex. Start from your home. Start debunking gender stereotypes. Boys should cook, they should also wake up early, wash, clean. Teach them too and watch what tragedy he’d avert in future for the woman he’ll decide to spend forever with. Save a woman in future by raising your male children well today

Gender stereotype visible in raising boys and girls is not only limited to division of chores in the home but it begins at birth and most times, precedes the birth of the child. It is very easy to identify the sex of an unborn baby from the colour theme at bridal showers- blue for boys and pink for girls. This is also visible in children nurseries- pink walls and it’s a girl’s room and blue décor for the boy’s room. Children are born into this atmosphere and then automatically internalise it. In playrooms, Girls are usually exposed to dolls and boys to cars.

The huge issue I have with stereotypes is how it limits choices available to children because of predetermined “gender appropriate” labeling on everything. In schools, this is disheartening. Girls strongly assume that they do not have the ability to study certain school subjects and will not even try because those subjects are for boys. Thus, certain choices become totally unavailable to them because they are girls. When I asked a female student why there are very few girls in the technical class, she said “because girls can’t study technical subjects.” I asked her if she has tried to and she said no. Where do these ideas come from? Potentials and skills remain untapped and carried to the grave as a result of gender stereotypes.

Parents, I plead with you, pay attention to your children and their interests at an early age. Recognise their skills and help them develop those skills. Let them have the freedom to be who are created to be rather than trapped in a few boxes of behaviours, careers or roles deemed appropriate for their gender. From this view, gender stereotype is so limiting. In a world where some findings suggest that the human eye can distinguish as many as 1o million colours, isn’t it so limiting to put all girls in the pink box and all boys in the blue box? Let’s allow children to be the original versions of themselves, express their potentials and raise children who have the freedom to think outside the pink/blue box dismantling gender stereotypes associated with their sexed bodies