My son Emir has a live weekly cooking show on our Facebook page. It’s not a production but an activity he enjoys and strengthens his passion for cooking. He dreams of becoming a soccer player or a chef in the future and from a very early age, he always showed great interested in helping in the kitchen. It’s been over these years that he’s been improving his skills and come to the point of full independence and to developing his own recipes. I suppose it has perhaps been an ability he has gained out of some necessity considering I am not a good cook myself and he is never happy with my dishes. Because he is so successful with his show, people constantly point out that Ayelen, my daughter, doesn’t participate. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Ayelén has no interest in this kind of activity. Believe it or not, not every girl enjoys cooking or playing with kitchen sets.
For those of you who have known us for years and have been following our lives since Emir and Ayelén were babies, you probably have already noticed that Ayelén’s strength is not helping at home and that Emir’s passion is doing everything for her. They are very typical but very atypical siblings at the same time. They are typical considering the fraternal natural bond that all siblings share, and atypical in the sense that they are very aware of their differences and instead of fighting over them, they complement each other perfectly. This is why, every weekend, Emir takes over the task of cooking. He chooses what to cook, he is in charge of buying the products at the grocery store, and of course, he cooks on his own. His sister enjoys waiting for everything to be ready before she pops up and enjoys the dish. And again, this is just because not every girl enjoys cooking and that’s ok!
Ayelen is a natural fashionista. She transforms in front of the camera. She loves acting. She has her own YouTube channel. In her own words, she wants to, “click and find herself all over.” Ayelen’s personality combined with her attitude makes her unique. She doesn’t care about pots or pans but she cares immensely about shoes and clothes. For many, this might be a girl’s attitude that needs to be corrected to avoid being “plastic” or “materialistic”. To me, this is one of Ayelén’s strengths and her creativity to turn a piece of fabric into a scarf or a curtain into a dress is something that needs to be celebrated. I love her “plasticity” or “materialism” because I love her individuality. I also love the opportunity that I have found in it to help her grow free of gender prejudice which can be as bad as disability prejudice.
Through her passion for fashion, she has learned to follow patterns, to structure, to clean up, to combine, to define shapes, sizes, and textures. She learned how to get dressed independently at a very early age just because she wanted to make her own choices and clothing combinations and have the time and focus to practice her “pose” in front of the mirror without unsolicited attention. She is very aware of the value of things because she works hard for them. Not only does her best as a child but working with brands through my blog. Something else I want to highlight is that with her own style she influences others’ style and she is very proud of herself for that.
As parents, we can fall into the senseless discussions of letting the world rule our perceptions of our children, or we can assume the responsibility of understanding that nothing is black or white. Girls who enjoy fashion can learn valuable lessons from it. Not every girl enjoys cooking and expects to have a set of plates or mugs to play with. Not every boy loves action games or super-hero fights. Some of them, like my dear son Emir, love cooking, cleaning and nurturing the ones they love. In the case of my family, I feel Ayelen and Emir are doing a great job by following their respective passions and I think we could all learn a bit from that.