Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Really Shouldn't Be Upset About This,

This evening, I went to the grocery store with my two daughters. When we go out, we (they) always get a lot of attention. And tonight wasn't any different.

As soon as we walked through the door, the greeter started telling my girls how beautiful they were. This old grandfatherly type of guy went on to ask Cherry about her Hallowe'en costume and sort of kept the girls engaged while I waited to use the bank machine. (It wasn't creepy in the slightest, just so that's clear.)

And then, throughout the store, other customers would say "hi" and tell them they were cute and or beautiful, etc.

Then, this one man came up to the kids and started talking to Peach. He was asking her how she was, and telling me how beautiful my baby was, and how "good" my baby was. During all this time, Cherry was saying "Hi! I'm (insert real name here)!" and was trying to get his attention too. He was completely ignoring Cherry. She's sort of use to this, because Peach is the BABY, so she gets a little more attention, but in general, the person doing the gawking will turn to pay attention to Cherry after a few seconds. Well, not in this case. The man didn't turn towards my sweet pigtailed little girl who was dying for attention as well.

I found it weird that he wouldn't turn to talk to Cherry, and I wondered "why?" but the whole event probably lasted a little more than 30 seconds. It was when when the man said "Gee, doesn't talk much..." looking towards Peach, and after I said "Yeah, she's the quiet one!" that I finally clued in to what was happening.

"Oh! She! It's a girl! I thought she was a boy!" The East Indian man said as he suddenly quit his lollygagging, and walked away.

"She's wearing mostly PINK!" I exclaimed as he walked away.

And then I almost teared up.

In a split second, I felt sad for Cherry 'cause she didn't get the attention, sad for Peach because she was adored one second, then became a whole lot less important as soon as her sex was discovered, and then, I felt sad for over half of the population of India.

I adore my girls. In fact, I'm glad I had girls instead of boys. (Not that I have anything against boys.... except for the pee thing.) And I cannot even imagine living in a world where raising a daughter is "like watering a neighbour's garden".*

We're lucky where we live. Women on this continent may still have a ways to go until we will be earning the same wages for the same work done as men, and may struggle with other inequalities, but at least we're not second class citizens. And I really shouldn't have been bothered by that man's reaction, but I just couldn't help it.

My girls could have been born in any country, to any set of parents, but they were born here and to me, and I adore them. They are important. They are NOT any less important than any boy. And I intend to let them know that as they grow up!

*This is a paraphrase and translation of an Indian saying.


Angela b said...

I loved the way you put that.Girls are important.I just hate when your child is all dressed in pink or blue and they are confused for the other sex.but some ppl do put there boys in pink.I dont know why.But I am so sorry peach had to go through that.Your blessed to have 2 little girls.I love my boys and I am glad I only have one girl.I couldnt handle more then two of me.LOL!!

sally said...

When my son (J) was very young an Iraqi friend who my husband played volleyball with would always pick J up and walk with him on his shoulders. When our daughter was born he never picked her up once, never paid attention to her. There is something seriously f....d up with a culture that places so little value of half it's population, esecially since without that half there would be no population!

shandelle said...

Crazy, actually really disgusting that there are people like that.