• A woman “must” wear dresses, skirts and more light-coloured clothes
  • Division of toys, hobbies, and after-school activities/sports into boys’ and girls’  
  • Men mustn’t cry or express their emotions
  • A woman must cook and care for children, while a man must earn money for the household. 
  • Stereotypical and sexist questions in the work environment and context, e.g., “When are you planning to have a baby?” 

We mentioned at the beginning that if you’re a woman, you have to be soft with the children in the kitchen. Whereas, if you are a man, “bring home the money”. And if you’re neither, you don’t exist. Also, if you’re a woman who doesn’t want kids, you’re a lesbian. You have a problem. You have an issue if you don’t want to get married and have kids at 22.


“Were traditional ways of gender expression visible, clear and very segregated as you grew up?

To a fairly large extent, yes. But at least no one forbade me from playing with my brother’s toys or playing football. I think there was flexibility in that in my house. I stopped playing ball, though, because my folks were afraid, I’d have the legs of a male athlete. Fun fact: I stopped playing a sport I liked because my parents were afraid, I would have man legs. However, to a large extent, there was that flexibility to do the things I liked. But there were also things like tidying up, looking after mum when she was cooking, helping and clearing the table. It’s okay T. is a boy and boys are boys. Because even though I had some freedom, there were the attendant stereotypes of being a girl. For example, something I still experience strongly: When I go back to my parent’s house and I want to help my dad with work, because to my dad I’m still a girl, I won’t go into the workshop but I’ll sit in the office and clean it or do secretarial work. My brother on the other hand would be in the workshop, lifting weights, painting, and going to clients. There’s flexibility but behind is all the rest. It’s superficial flexibility more “so as not to upset the child” than because of their beliefs. It’s something. But behind it is something deeply rooted in our patriarchal society.”