So I’m at a toy store, hunting for a set of sharks (this is the Brat’s latest tentative request – Mamma, do you think, can I please have some sharks and whales?)
Grateful to have him voice anything at all, I walk my legs down to a stub, until I find them. I’m at the store and am driven to distraction by all the other lovely toys we didn’t have available as kids. And then I hear a little voice say, ‘Mamma, dekho Spiderman.”
I shudder thankfully that the Brat is over his fleeting superhero phase and ignore the little voice.
The little voice pipes up again – “Mamma, dekho na, Spiderman.”
And then an angry mother voice snaps – “Spiderman? Girls spiderman khelti hain kya? Barbie le lo (What kind of girls play with spiderman? Why don’t we get you a Barbie?).”
It was a little girl wanting the big remote controlled Spiderman on a bike.
I stood there wondering if I should pull my underpants on over my jeans and rescue the little girl and buy her the Spiderman toy or whether I should just mind my own business and move on. Maybe I could have been less dramatic and simply walked up to the mother and told her not to tell her daughter what girls CAN’T or shouldn’t do when it comes to toys and their lives.
I’m ashamed to say I minded my own business and moved on. It would have been so much nicer to end a post saying that I righted a wrong, but sadly I didn’t. It seemed like a trivial thing to poke my nose in, unless viewed differently. I don’t know if anyone else would.
I walked out and told the OA who for once instead of saying “Babe, don’t be a jhandewali-jholewali,” said – Why didn’t you buy it for the little girl? You should have.
I believe this is what happens when a man has a daughter. He becomes a feminist.
Anyhow, I can’t help but admit that our generation(maybe I should say families like us) has moved beyond the fighting for the right to work/retain surname etc and now we’re insanely ticked off by such small incidents.
Only a few days ago friends were discussing their daughters and their dolls on Facebook. Most of our daughters have disfigured and dismembered their dolls (especially their Barbies). Either we’re terrible mothers and it’s showing in their treatment of the dolls, or well, the big bearded men were right – its mostly social conditioning. These girls don’t care for dolls although I know a lot of the children, both boys and girls are gently tucking their stuffed animals into bed (maybe we’re not doing it entirely wrong then). In all this I must make the disclaimer that the little girls do have elder brothers and I think that makes a lot of difference. The Bean can tell you the difference between an Apatosaurus and a Brachiosaurus only because of the Brat. It’s not really her own interest – so we’re never really free of influence.
In defence of the mothers, I believe they are living vicariously through their daughters. Not all of us grew up with Barbies and some of us might have wanted them. I did. I have to admit I did nothing once I got them. It was just the thrill of owning something from abroad. Something that was in fashion.
Oh well. All I can carry back as hope is that the little girl clearly knew her own mind. Someday Mamma won’t be there to mind her and I hope she kickstarts a bike and takes off, Superman style.