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We want our daughters to be strong, independent women, but we restrict them from exploring the world of romance and sex. Why try to lock away your daughter’s sexuality? – asks this post.
A friend’s daughter recently turned eighteen. The girl is a class topper, is beautiful, and has multiple interests. She has a great body, a superb mind, and a wonderful sense of humour, and the mother cannot stop talking about the daughter. What the mother doesn’t want the daughter to have is a pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases the sex hormone in the body, and my friend would much rather her daughter didn’t have it.
If she has her way, the girl would remain a virgin nerd till she is safely married. So sleepovers are a strict no-no unless all the mothers of the party-goers are connected with each other on Whatsapp, parties have to be screened for adult content aka boys, booze, and drugs, and entertainment is always vetted by the parents. My friend is very clear – there’s far more to life than sex, and her daughter had better understand that.
But while the daughter’s cerebral cortex is fully cognizant of this reality, the pituitary gland is busy following its own trajectory. The sex hormone is raging through the teenager’s body, with no release whatsoever, except for giggled conversations with girlfriends in the middle of the night, and an occasional, guilty look at porn.
Technically speaking, the body is ready for the sexual act as soon as it reaches puberty. That’s when the sexual organs start developing. A girl’s body starts developing around the age of thirteen. But sociologically speaking, is she ready for sex at that age? Probably not. Physically, very young pregnancies weaken the body. Socially, the mind is still not ready to enter into a healthy relationship with the opposite sex. So children have to wait for romance till they are more grown up, even though it can’t be the end of the world if they choose to experiment before then.
As mothers, we wish to protect our daughters and end up stripping them of self-confidence.
But eighteen? Society allows a girl to choose the leader of the country at that age, but not her own partner. What does the girl do? What do most girls do? They take lessons from masala films and steal kisses behind bushes. They hide from society, and feel ashamed of their feelings. They are defensive and therefore, defenceless. As mothers, we wish to protect our daughters and end up stripping them of self-confidence.
While we want our daughters to be strong, to march head-to-head with their male counterparts, we also treat them as weak. We don’t trust them to be sensible. We treat their sexuality as a burden, not as a joy. We want them to be cheerful in society but cheerless in bed. We would much rather they did ‘all that’ behind closed doors, with their husbands. Until then, they must put a lock on their hormones.
Ideally, we would give them a pill that would take away their pituitary gland secretions, releasing them only on their wedding night. We teach our girls to be doctors, pushing them through medical school, while indicating that anatomy is only for patients. We allow them the right to grow their minds, while denying them access to their hormones. Society and religion privilege chastity over ‘promiscuity’.
An enthusiastic, lively girl in touch with her body is a whore, bitch, slut. We want our daughters to be ‘good girls’, while what we actually want are virgins. We don’t think about their wedding night, when they begin the most important relationship of their life with ignorance and fear. Their virginity is considered an asset, whereas the absence of sexual knowledge in a grown woman is an ignoble liability.
Will we learn to change our attitude towards our daughters? Will we facilitate their entry into the adult world of relationships and romance, or continue to act as gatekeepers? In all likelihood, we won’t have a choice. The girls will break down the barriers that we have erected ,and push us aside. All I can say is, more power to them. Our jihad on their chastity is, hopefully, a lost cause.
Pic credit: anantns (Used under a CC license)
Beyond Pink writes on women's stories in urban India. They could be real or
So let them sleep with whoever they want and be cool with it.. Right?
Having hormones is a natural part of growing up. But it doesn’t mean you should act on it.. When you find the right person just go ahead and marry.. Why does it have be an illicit relationship?
Maybe in race to be modern and out-going we are forgetting the core values our Indian culture teaches us..
Well, this piece is a crisp and sharp talk of an honest parent.
Fact however is, if we bring up educated, aware and confident daughters, they will setup their paths of choice – and that will be the responsible choice. As parents and as ‘custodians of culture’ our role will increasingly be of spectators who ll matter less and less with time. And thats not a bad thing.
As for physically restricting grown up children, it would be an attempt that’s so last century. I ll be under no such illusion. Our only contribution can be to surround our daughters with trust and a sense of responsibility to themselves….
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