It so happened once that one of my boy cousins had forgotten to pack his shoes when visiting us. I happened to have a spare pair of brown shoes which I offered to loan to him for that day. His response was astounding.
“Chi! These are girl shoes! I won’t wear them!”
And they weren’t even pink.
It did not matter to him that a total stranger on the road, not acquainted with our circumstances, will not guess that the shoes he is wearing belong to a girl; it was the fact that he himself had possession of that knowledge that irked him the most.
Likewise, there are times when I am capable of doing a job, but am denied that chance simply because I’m a girl. There might be numerous shopping bags to carry, exceeding the capacity of my brother’s two arms and still I would not be allowed to help the poor boy.
They would say, “Being a boy, you should learn to do all this and become strong.” And against my will I’d have to witness him lugging three bags in each hand up two flights of stairs, while I follow with one measly bag, despite being able to carry the same amount.
Although my nucleated family is quite modern, it is not so with my extended relatives. All gatherings of cousins over holidays see the girls helping with the cooking and washing and mopping and sweeping and clothes- drying and whatnot, while the boys are fawned over and attended to.
Imagine my vicious glee when one of my uncles decided enough was enough, and when the washing machine broke down, flooding the house with soapy water, ordered all the boys to mop it up while the girls watched them with ice cream sundaes. Oh, they blew it off and said, “How hard can it be?” until they were slipping around on the floor, struggling furiously to drag the mop across the floor in one smooth motion.
There are no such things as “girl” things and “boy” things.
If you can lift weights and ride a motorcycle, so can I.
If I can cook and accessorize, then so can you.
If I can be “boyish” then you can be “girlish”.
If I can be what I am, then so can everyone.