In a video uploaded by Sonia John, a data analyst based in Stillwater, Oklahoma, her 6-year-old daughter Teresa Manimala asks her why things are referred to as ‘man-made’ and not ‘human-made’ or ‘people-made’.
The video went viral as people applauded the little girl’s curiosity and ability to catch gender bias at such a young age. When asked where she heard the term, Teresa mentions social studies. Clearly irritated, she asks, “Aren’t women allowed to build stuff?” Sonia agrees and informs her that ‘man-made’ is used to address women as well. To that, she shakes her head and says, “It’s not nice, right?”
6-Year-Old Teresa Manimala Asks, “Aren’t Women Created Equal Too?”
As part of her bedtime ritual, Teresa is seen reading a book, which Sonia says was a book on Abraham Lincoln for children. From it, she reads out, “All men are created equal.” She asks, “Aren’t women created equal too?”
Teresa’s questions and reactions have gotten the attention of many on the internet. Sonia shared this video on her WhatsApp groups, Facebook page, and a YouTube channel dedicated to Teresa, and someone shared it on Twitter before she knew it. The YouTube video has 16,000 views so far.
In an interview with The Hindu, Sonia says that her daughter has always been inquisitive. “I am not surprised that she asked these questions and I am happy that she has begun asking these questions. I hope she has that same attitude when she grows up,” she says.
Sonia and her husband, James Manimala, both instilled a habit of reading in her. Reading bedtime stories was a way to make her love books. “I used to read to her, but for the last two years, she has been reading much of it herself,” says Sonia.
Language Shows Us How People Are Perceived In Society
Late last year, Oxford University Press announced that it had changed the dated definition of ‘woman’ from its dictionaries. A petition was filed against how the term woman had offensive terms such as bitch, wench, and bint associated with them, among other issues.
We might not make much of these words, but Teresa’s response to this glaring difference shows us how children can be easily conditioned to believe that their roles in society are determined by their gender. This also shows us – indirectly – the importance of using the right pronouns for transgender and non-binary persons who wish to be addressed a certain way.
We’re always thrilled to see people dismantling sexism – it’s even more rewarding to see it being done by little children!
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Image Credits: The Hindu