A man and his young son were apprehended in a robbery. The father was shot during the struggle and the son, in handcuffs was rushed to the police station.
As the police pulled the struggling boy into the station, the mayor, who had been called to the scene, looked up and said “My God, it’s my son!”
The story stared back at an entire roomful of intelligent, mostly second year university students.
How do you interpret this story? “Oooh!” a light-bulb went on for someone and the professor turned her head towards them, looking for an answer. “They’re gay parents!” She nodded and said it was an interesting and unique interpretation on its own but there could be others. Several missteps later, a young gentleman finally comes up with it, “The mayor’s his mother!”
With this opening, we started off the section on gender.
I am not asking for a show of hands here, and certainly I cannot hold anyone to honesty – only you can do that with yourself. But how many of the people reading this were initially baffled by this scenario? I admit I was. My first reaction when the answer emerged was a lot of mental head-slaps and berating myself for being an embarrassment to all that I stand for.
Even though I consider myself an intelligent woman who always makes an effort to think outside the box, such is the effect of socialization that we automatically think of certain professions as being by default male or female, when the gender is not explicitly mentioned or hinted at through pronouns. Making a conscious effort to deconstruct and question everything you know is not always enough, but it’s a start. And it’s how scientists are born.
Therefore, even though I consider myself more of a neuroscience based student of psychology, once in a while, between research on neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer’s and effectiveness of therapeutic hypothermia in stroke patients, we are going to go back and look at the broader topics and current issues in mental health research and treatment and classifications.
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