Mark Hamill reached out to a seven-year-old girl via Twitter, who was scared that she would be laughed at for wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. Her mother posted about the dilemma of her daughter on Thursday, and numerous people reached out to encourage her, along with Luke Skywalker himself.

Star Wars is not “Boy Stuff”

Mother of a 7-year-old N.J. Simmonds posted on Twitter that her daughter wants to wear her Star Wars t-shirt to school but is scared that her classmates will laugh because she likes ‘boy stuff’.

Her Tweet received immense support from people, who encouraged the little girl to embrace her choice with pride. And how Star Wars belonged to girls as much as to boys.

Hamill, who recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,  also came across Simmonds’ tweets. He had some great advice for the little girl.

Mark Hamill also used Princess Leia’s example to prove that Star Wars was a story of a strong princess.

Many parents shared stories of their children who were going through a similar struggle. These tweets point out that it’s about time we shun gender stereotyping in choices of toys, clothes and hobbies for children.

Choices of our children should not be dictated by social norms.

Both genders have long suffered consequences of gender stereotyping. Society and our gender specific ideas heavily influence the choices of our children. Girls are afraid of being ridiculed for liking toy trucks or video games. They are afraid of being mocked by their friends for choosing to do” boy stuff”. Similarly, many boys give up on playing with dolls or buying unicorns and kitchen sets, because they know their friends and peers will shame them.

In a way we all are responsible for filling these toxic gender stereotypes in their heads.

It starts with us buying pink for girls and blue for boys. We encourage girls to play with dolls and kitchen sets. We roll our eyes and say “boys will be boys” when they show tendencies of violence or aggression. The imbalance that we see amidst the two genders in our world, finds its roots in such stereotyping.

We need to initiate a change in perception of gender identity in schools, homes and on social media. We all know of kids who come from homes where roles and choices are dictated by gender. Such children bully other children to fall in line. It’s not their fault though. It is the fault of their families who encourage their behaviour.

Just as it is important to stand by a child who dares to choose as per his or her liking, we need to stand up to parents and social outfits who instigate gender stereotyping in children. This means changing our approach to everything from personal conduct, cartoon shows, to clothing and toys as well. Also, it’s not wrong to give  children feminine or masculine choices. But it is wrong to make the choice of which one to pick for them.

Pic credits: scooops

Also Read : Are we stereotyping gender roles with toys?

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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