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Girls want to have the freedom to have fun just as much as boys. Patriarchal restrictions of morality just push them into leading a dual life.
Way back in the 90s when my elder sister was in the hostel while pursuing her graduation, she used to tell me how the girls would ‘make’ boyfriends as soon as began to stay at the hostel, would wear all sorts of clothes, go out late with the boys, spend weekends with their boyfriends in a resort and so on.
For my sister and me, this would be shocking partly because we had ‘conservative’ values. When my brother was pursuing his postgraduation he dreaded taking my father to the college campus as there were more girls smoking in the canteen than the boys. Just the other day a friend of mine told me how the conservative bahus would drape sarees over jeans and once they went out of the house they would wear what they wished to!
What does all this indicate? Patriarchal society would label such girls and women as cheap, sluts, characterless, devoid of ‘sanskars’ and so on. Ever wondered why girls resort to leading this dual life?
Once I grew up I started realizing that girls wanted to be free. The restrictions and rules at home were stifling. Everything was related to morality. Short skirts, talking with boys, laughing out loud, staying out late, drinking, smoking – all this wasn’t done by ‘good girls’! Well, boys were and are never questioned! Drinking and smoking is manliness. A boy is proudly asked by his parents whether he has taken his first sip of alcohol or had his first puff but would parents dare to ask this to their daughters? It is assumed that a ‘good obedient girl’ won’t do that! She won’t bring shame to the family reputation!
It is a fact that more restrictions give birth to more rebelliousness. Once the girls or women have an opportunity they break free. They want to live their life freely without rules and restrictions. If the parents trust their daughters, give them freedom, the daughters would never try to lead a dual life. Once a girl is married, she is supposed to wear and behave like a true blue good bahu; again the impositions! So, when will she have a say?
Impart the right values but don’t confuse values with morality and imposing restrictions. Set the girls free, let them exercise their own choices. Nobody likes to lead a dual life; it’s not fun always but sometimes girls have no choice as the parents, husband, in-laws, society don’t try to understand or realize that she is a human with a mind of her own, with desires of her own.
A girl/woman if caught leading a dual life will be labeled immoral, but who’s responsible? Think about it.
Editor’s note: This story had been shortlisted for the August 2017 Muse of the Month, but not among the top 5 winners.
Image source: screen grabs from the movie Lipstick Under My Burkha