“But, you are a girl doctor. “
“You are a beautiful doctor.”
I recently conducted a health check up in a reputed school in our area.
Most children overcame their initial fear of a doctor pretty soon.
Once they realised that I wasn’t armed with the traditional injection, most kids overcame their fear of a doctor pretty soon.
We had one kid who said he wanted an injection because he was strong.
And then two kids came up with the above statements.
Not surprisingly, a boy said I was a girl doctor and a little girl followed it up saying I was beautiful.
In all my decades as a doctor, I had never had the adjective “girl” used before “doctor”.
Of course I had heard people specially demanding a “lady doctor” because “ladies ka problem hai”, but to hear it from the mouth of a 5 year old.
I thought we had overcome gender biases at least for the next generation.
Maybe I can hope that I did not fit into the stereotype he had of a doctor’s image.
Maybe as more and more women enter the workforce and break the traditional glass ceilings we will have fewer comments like this.
But then, the little girl completely disarmed me by saying I was beautiful.
Are girls more likely to appreciate beauty as well as the capability?
Did she think that a playful manner and smile reflected as beauty on a face?
Maybe it was my love for children which was reflected as beauty? Or my natural concern and healing intentions towards children…
Beauty is a subjective thing, which ultimately lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Maybe the tiny superman just made an objective observation about my gender and profession.
The differences between the genders have existed since times immemorial.
The answer lies in appreciating the differences and using them to bring harmony in life.
The answer lies in letting each one’s capability, and not their gender decide their profession.
Budding minds are the best guide into a society’s psyche.
As we try to explore the mysteries of the universe, let us also ensure that our future generations learn to judge people on their capability and not by the presence of absence of the “Y” chromosome.
I hope in my next health check up, a child wishes to try on my stethoscope, a symbol which I associate with my profession.
Of course, compliments on beauty are always welcome.
“But beauty is ephemeral, whereas your mind is eternal”.