Actions

Work Header

Stereotypes

Chapter Text

Stereotype

noun

- a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing:
the stereotype of the woman as the carer
sexual and racial stereotypes

- a person or thing that conforms to a widely held but oversimplified image of the class or type to which they belong:
don't treat anyone as a stereotype

 


 

Prologue

 

His mother woke him up gently by stroking his hair and removing a few strands from his face.

"It's your first day in school," she whispered softly. As soon as the words settled in his sleepy mind, he opened his eyes and jumped out of the bed. His mother giggled and went up to get the set of clothes she had placed on a chair for him to wear. The boy was fast to get the clothes on and ran to the kitchen, where his breakfast was waiting for him.

His mother walked into the kitchen, pouring up cereal for both of them. She always made sure she had time to eat with him. She knew it would only be a few years before he wouldn't want to eat breakfast with her any more, if he would even eat his breakfast when that time came. She had given birth at a young age - not too young, but still young - and she remembered quite well how she had refused to eat breakfast herself through most of her teenage-years. She knew her son would get to that point too, some day.

She watched him eat his cereal with a spoon a bit too big to fit in his small mouth, hip lips unable to close around the metal. His eyes shined brightly, happy that his first school-day had finally come.

She was alone with him, as his dad travelled a lot due to his work, so she did her best to fill out both roles of parents. She let him decide his appearance for himself, let him have his freedom. He was a good boy and they were happy even though their family was small. He was helpful, caring and very empathic for a six-year-old. They laughed together often, and when she thought back, she only had good memories of their life together. She hoped it would always be like that.

The little boy was done eating and wiped his mouth in a paper-towel before getting of the chair and running out the kitchen-door to get his shoes.

"I can tie them myself today!" he yelled happily from the hallway.

For the last couple of weeks he had practised tying his own shoes, 'cause he had decided that by the time he started going to school, he should be able to do it himself. It had taken quite some time and a lot of practise, but his mother had sat down next to him every time he tried, ready to help him if he needed her. She had come up with all sorts of rhymes and stories to help him remember how to do it, none of them really helping him, but one day he did it, and today was the important day of his deadline.

As the unspoiled child he was, he didn't feel any pressure on him, and he tied them fast, looking up at his mother proudly. His eyes was shining even more than before.

"We're not ready to go yet," his mother said, "You need your bag and you need to brush your hair before we go."

"Will you brush my hair?" the boy asked, sending his mother a pleading look.

His mother fetched the hairbrush and started to brush his hair gently.

"It feels so nice when you brush my hair, Mommy," the boy said, enjoying the caress.

The little boy had long, smooth hair. After seeing an old picture of his dad as young with long hair, he had insisted on letting his hair grow himself. It was a couple of years ago now, and his mother had let him have his way. She had thought to herself, that he might grow tired of it in time, but the little boy had held onto his decision and was now proud of his long hair.

"I never want to cut it!" he kept on saying, every time his mother had asked him if he was ready to get it cut soon. "Never! I want the longest hair in the world, longer than dads!"

His mother was proud to have a son who already knew what he wanted and what he didn't want. Most kids only see what they don't have, but her son never noticed what was missing in his life, he focused on what he had. He had a caring mother, a father who visited him as often as he could and always brought him presents and would play with him for hours. He could decide for himself how he wanted his room, when he wanted to clean it, what he wanted to wear and what he wanted in his lunch box. And now had the day finally come, when he started school.

They walked to the school, hand in hand. His mother thought about how fast time went by and how fast he was growing up. She wished she would always be allowed to walk him to school and always hold his hand.

The boy walked joyfully along her side, jumping up and down, obviously happy to finally be on his was to the school. He sang a home-made song to himself, and his mother smiled to herself by the sight of his happiness.

As they arrived at the school, they found their way to the classroom, where children and their parents already had settled down. The desks were decorated with nameplates, and most of the children was already seated by their name-tags, looking shyly down the desks, while their parents stood along the walls, smiling and waving, some of them even taking photos of their child's first day of school.

His mother smiled and greeted the other parents, gently pushing her son before her. He could feel the nervous atmosphere and the shyness coming from the other kids, and suddenly he felt the same way. His mother stoked his hair, sensing his change of mood.

"Let's find your seat, okay?" she whispered to his, smiling gently to calm him down.

His eyes started shining again and together they found the desk with his name on it. The boy placed himself on the chair, gently as if it was made of glass and sent his mother a look of determination. She understood he wanted her to go to the other parents and find a place to stand along the wall, now that he found the courage to be on his own. She walked back and found a place next to the door, talking lowly to a couple of parents close by, but she kept her eyes on her son. He sat there, his small feet hovering a couple of centimetres above the floor, swinging them absent-mindedly as a look of thoughtfulness settled on his face.

He watched the older children, silently. Some of them moved their nameplates around on their desk, some of them picking thing out of their pencil cases, only to put it back shortly after. The boy studied them curiously. Most of the girls was wearing flowery dresses and bracelets with shining beads. The boys was wearing shorts and t-shirt with either superheroes or cartoons portrayed on the front of the fabric. He looked down at his own clothes. He wanted to look like his father did when he was young, with long hair and chequered shirts, or black t-shirts with the bands his mother and father had listened to when they were young. He liked the music his parents heard, and every time hos mother put on those CD's, they would dance around and sing and laugh together. He really liked the music, and wanted to wear shirts with the names of the bands. But none of the other boys were wearing band-shirts and none of them were wearing necklaces or bracelets, like he was. And all the other boys had short hair.

His mother looked at him thoughtfully, watching how he studied the other kids and then himself. She started to doubt if she had made a mistake to let him have that much freedom to choose.

The teacher - who had been out smoking in the school-yard, walked into the classroom. He greeted the parents and walked up to the blackboard, where he introduced himself to the class. He told them he recently graduate and this was his first job as a teacher. He didn't seem nervous but very relaxed, and the mother thought he seemed like a man who shared a lot of her beliefs that kids needed their freedom, under the responsibility of grown-ups of course. It made her a bit more relaxed, and he seemed like a strong character. She had shortly been afraid her son stood out too much, but she felt comfortable that the teacher would deal with problems between the kids, and - if nothing else - inform her if her son had a troubled time.

After the introduction, the parents were asked to leave as the children would get time to get to know each other. The mother kissed her son on the cheek and promised to come pick him up after school. His eyes was still shining with enthusiasm, but a small frown was visible on his face. His mother wanted to tell him that everything would be okay, but now wasn't the time. It could wait to after school, and with that in mind, she left.

After the parents had left the room, there was a moment of silence before the teacher asked the children to introduce themselves in turn. When it was the boys turn to introduce himself, he stood up proudly and told his name, how old he was and that he had practised tying his shoes for when he started going to school. The other kids watched him long after he was done talking. After all the children had introduced themselves, the teacher told them to go take a break and shoved them out in the school-yard.

They walked out the door in silence, still feeling shy by the situation. The boy tried to smile friendly at the other kids, but most of them was looking down at the ground. He placed himself on a rock in the yard, looking around at his classmates, whereof most of them was standing alone and the few who knew each other beforehand was glued to each other.

Two boys caught his eyes, as they watched him in silence. He got up, walking towards them to strike up a conversation, hoping to make new friends.

"Hello," he said, "my name is-"

"Why is your hair long?" one of the boys asked, cutting him off.

"Because my daddy had long hair," the boy answered, surprised by the sudden question.

"It's only ladies who have long hair," the second boy said, taking a step closer.

"My daddy had long hair too, and I want my hair just as long as his was," the boy insisted, "No, I want it even longer, I want the longest hair in the world!" He was proud of his hair, and he had waited patiently for it to grow this long.

"No, only ladies have long hair," the first boy said again.

"Yeah, ladies and girls!" the second boy continued.

The boy looked at the in shock. What was going on? The other kids was looking at the three of them now, some of them moving closer to get a better look at what was happening.

"No, my dad had long hair too!"

"Where's your dad?" a girl asked as she walked towards the boy, "I didn't see a man with long hair."

"My daddy is travelling right now. His hair is not long any more, but-"

"I don't believe you even have a dad!" the first boy teased.

"Me neither!" the girl contributed.

"That's silly, everybody had a dad," the boy said wisely.

"No, you only have a mom," the second boy yelled, "That's why you have long hair like a girl!"

"N-no!" the boy shouted desperately.

The other kids started laughing, most of them standing around him, teasing him along with the two boys and the girl.

"And you're wearing necklaces and bracelets, like a girl!" the girls laughed, pointing at him.

"No!" the boy yelled. His mother would never let him wear girls' accessories, he knew that. Most of the time she let him do what he wanted, but she would never let him make a fool of himself. Never!

The kids laughed and yelled as the boy looked around, searching for support from a classmate or the teacher. The teacher was standing in the other end of the yard, smoking with a couple of other teachers, not noticing what was going on.

Tears was forming in the boys eyes, as he realized he was alone.

"Now he's even crying like a girl!"

"Eren is a girl, Eren is a girl, Eren is a girl..."