India is a land of diversity and with this diversity, many stereotypical conservative beliefs come into picture, these beliefs attempt to typecast the society on the grounds of conventional and traditional thoughts woven into the silk of the socio-ethnic culture. Stereotyping of the XX chromosome and the third gender has remained a point of concern since centuries in all parts of India; not only India but the complete world from the highly advanced Nordic countries which grabs the topmost ranks in major surveys to the underdeveloped African countries suffers from its consequences.
In almost every society the upbringing of boys and girls is done as per the gender stereotypes prevalent in the society (toys, colours, clothes etc), one common ad-nauseam is, boys are inured with virile endurance to become the physical and financial backbone of the family, whereas the girls are covered with the sacred pink clothes to protect them from the outside world while keeping the femininity and other chores being inherited from their mothers.
The gender stereotyping not only ends with the predefined roles for the two prominent genders of the social fabric, it also includes the social stigmas that outcast the third genders which as per Facebook has been categorised into more than 60 types. The third genders are withered almost everywhere as only 25 countries legalise the holy union of LGBT members right now.
To break these conventionalized preconceived notions, an initiative cum campaign STEARS 2017 has been instigated into the minds of the ostracised members of the society primarily women and third gender. STEARS stands for stereotypical tears of the people, who are inflicted with the pain of being abused, discriminated and outcasted by the socially derived stereotypes. Omar Hafiz, a development practitioner from Kashmir who had earlier started an initiative ATHWAAS – Handshakes for peace is the founding member of this initiative.
STEARS 2017 aims to break the stereotyping of the focused groups (Women and third gender) by eradicating the social illness of typecasting people based on their age, sex, region or religion. This typecasting has created disgrace, humiliation and fears in the minds of the individuals standing at the suffering end. These innocent individuals are made victims of the circumstances and stereotypes they unintentionally fall prey to, while the culprits enjoy the impunity from the society.
In the first phase of the STEARS 2017, wiping stereotypes initiative, the discriminated, abandoned and expatriated members of the society were given a platform through video and photo-series to question the never answered superstitions and prejudices against them. These vociferous voices of the vivacious veterans (fighting stereotypes) vestige the vexation of the people depreciated, denigrated and disparaged by these vox populi of venal and virulent vermins created under the safe haven of the societal fabric. The vanguarding of this venture has been successful to vanquish the condescending attitude of the society towards these people.
The STEARS 2017 phase 1 has brought hope and solace to these people and has also inspired others to answer the questions that have been raised throughout this time. With the initiation of second phase, where the society will answer the questions and eradicate the false embargoes that are still predominantly accepted by the masses, a paradigm shift towards a 21st century mindset of accepting the people the way they are can be envisaged.