A few weeks after arriving to Săcueni I experienced a somehow unusual situation. The flat where we are currently living was in the process of being furnished and redecorated so everything was a little messy. One morning, the man who usually helps us with the maintenance of the house came to install a shelving unit in the bathroom and some dust was left behind after using the drill. It is common for the language barrier to cause misunderstanding and so I wrongly handed the man a cleaning brush to sweep-off the dirt. “No, no! Boys strong, girls clean” -he said with his rudimentary English skills. My facial expression instantly showcased confusion and my feminist side fired up when I answered back: “No, no! Boys strong, girls strong, boys clean, girls clean”.
Expectations were reinforced during an experiment conducted with a 12-year-old boy and girl from the Liceul Teoretic Petőfi Sándor Elméleti Líceum in an attempt to establish whether the gender cleavage had already defined their identity. Having been given the options Girl, Boy and Both I asked the following questions: Who is smarter? Who is better at cooking? Who is better at fixing cars? Who likes pink? Who can be an engineer when they grow up? Even though they seemed dubious when facing some of these questions, they strongly agreed in that girls are better cooks, boys are better at fixing cars and that pink is a girly color.