The November 19th Saturday Sidebar question was so interesting I couldn’t help but take a deeper look into the whole gender issue, especially from an Indonesian mother’s point of view.
(Disclaimer: it is not easy to characterize the existing patriarchy in Indonesia, as there are more than 200 ethnic groups organized along patrilineal and matrilineal lines. Also, I have no experience raising a girl here in Indonesia–-in fact, I had no experience in child rearing before my son was born. And finally, before I became a mother myself, I never paid much attention to how people raise children here.)
About two years ago, when my son was a toddler, who dearly loved stuffed animals, I took him to a store here in Jakarta. He immediately grabbed a stuffed pig off a bottom shelf and started loving it. The store attendant quickly made a comment that caused my defensive mama-bear mode to jump into action: (more…)