IF ONLY children's bodies were all the same until puberty! Every child attending school prior to the age of 11 or 12 would not only be the same but be TREATED the same.
As it is, we still ascribe differences to children based on their physical appearances. A boy might become a surgeon, a member of Parliament or a big businessman; a girl a nurse, a councillor or a secretary.
And, apologies, but a tIny item informs not only the way we perceive the person, but the things we encourage it to do, the items we encourage it to like or dislike, the people we encourage it to copy, and the way we encourage it to react to life.
Right from birth.
And all through junior (elementary) school.
Boys are encouraged to have fun playing football and to get dirty in the mud, girls are encouraged to learn a homely 'trade' like needlework and to stay clean in the gym. If this sounds old-fashioned, it is, and things ARE changing, but it is still practiced at many junior and pre-teen schools in old, new and "developing" countries.
And why aren't more girls persuaded to pursue science subjects to high school?
Or, for that matter, why aren't boys persuaded to pursue improtsnt subjects like "domestic science" or housekeeping? They need to!
My neice, aged 7, recently went on a nature ramble. Not only was she warned not to play around "like the boys do", but when she needed to use a toilet, she was prevented from following the boys not by a woman concerned for her safety and privacy, but by a man who told her that she, well his exact words were that she was "missing something".
How MYSTERIOUS, HURTFUL and MISOGYNISTIC to a 7-year-old girl could he be?