If you want to understand how to become better allies to people with disabilities, then join us at Embracing All Abilities: Including People with Disabilities at Work.
Instead of repeatedly telling sons to respect women, they should be brought up tenderly like a girl. Read for more such parenting tips by Anupriya Gupta.
Instead of repeatedly telling sons to respect women, they should be brought up with tenderness – like we do our goals. Anupriya Gupta shares her own transition.
I grew up in a household with no boy kids. We were two sisters in the house and our father pushed us really hard to achieve perfection in life. My upbringing was nowhere like those girls pampered by their fathers. During my teens, I resented the strictness and behest meted by my father.
One day during a heart to heart talk with my mother, I expressed my resentment to her. What she said then, made me see my dad’s constant pushing us towards bettering ourselves, from a new perspective. “He is only preparing you to take on the harsh world out there. You must grow up to be financially independent. And you ought to be bold and independent to brave through this man’s world.”
At that point I argued with myself saying that a little bit of pampering here or some indulgence there could do no harm. Years later, rather decades later, now I understand his intentions where he was trying to instill life skills that would help us stand as equals in a male dominant world.
The comprehension about my dad’s parenting style, led me to formulate a notion which I surmised in one of my campus interviews for an automobile company as, “I have been brought up like a boy.”
I remember with acute clarity even today (around 13 years later) the amused look that my interviewer held at such proclamation from me. I took offence then, and went onto justify further that I have not been brought up delicately like the other girls around me. I have been tempered by struggles of being a girl in a male dominated society and hardened enough to survive alone without anyone to really look upto.
When I look back at that interview, I completely understand why the recruiter did not shortlist me. Who would want a fresh recruit with so much baggage?
Keeping that aside, the point here is that my early life had a lot to do with my perception of how parenting is different for girls viz-a-viz boys. This reminds me of another incident.
My best friend had a younger brother. Not too young though, just a gap of 2 years. But she often boasted about her father who was always protective of her and always took her side whenever there was a brawl between the siblings.
“She is your sister. It is your responsibility to protect her. That’s why she ties rakhi on your wrist every year.” The brother of my friend was further bogged down by the fact that he was dissuaded from playing with the girl gang, whenever we gathered at their house during the vacations.
“What are you doing among the girls? Go to your room and play with your Mechano set. You can play with your friends in the evening.” I also know for a fact that, he was extremely irritated with the constant reminder of what he could not do because he was a boy.
At this juncture, I am also reminded of a cousin of mine whose grandmother pampered him and favored him above his younger sister.
“He is going to be my buddhape ki laathi (support system during my oldage). He deserves this extra love and care.” It was amusing how she would always ask for an additional glass of milk for my cousin brother, because he needed that extra nutrition to prepare himself for the challenges of life as the pillar of the house.”
She also insisted that he be served meals along with his father and given the same amount of respect as he is the future bread winner of the household. She did not mind him bossing around his sister to do small chores for his. My cousin brother loved the extra attention he garnered by the day, and often faced flake from his sister for being the bossy brother who thinks he has the right to order her around.
Fast forward life by decade and a half, against all my wishes and prayers of having a girl child, I was blessed with a boy. Years of conditioning where the difference between upbringing girls and boys stared in the eye and started playing its role in my parenting style.
As my boy began growing up, I brooded over not having a girl child who I could pamper and be protective about. The resentment only peaked, as my boy grew up to be a hyper active toddler, who wanted to be on wheels of every size (tri-cycle, bi-cycle, Skates, Scooter, Gliders) and showed a clear preference for things that put him in physical rigor.
With the coming of my second son, I mused over the fact that I will never witness tiny girls playing with their dolls and kitchen set. Also I would never be able to swoon over their mehendi clad hands and in my life I would miss a girl’s constant fetish for dressing up and accessorizing her appearance. (Not that I did it as a girl, but then I was kept quarantined from such girly things). I was constantly running behind my boys and reprimanding them for tiniest of mischief. That’s how it is going to be with the boys. I constantly justified to myself whenever I rebuked at my son’s rugged behavior.
Why couldn’t I have had one girl who would sit with her dolls, teddy bears and her kitchen set in one corner of the room and remain busy on her own.
I spent numerous days whining about how my life is going to be only about wheels in all shapes and sizes, as that’s what they receive for gifts. Other than some educational toys and equipments, all that he receives are cars, trucks, bat and ball in various sizes.
When it’s time to buy clothes for my boys, it doesn’t take too much time. The best of stores dedicate 70 percent of their space to girl’s section and a small corner for the boys. Although a lot of boutiques are coming up with designer clothes for boys’ party wear, but for a regular wear it’s largely a t-shirt and a half pant or full pant. Then there are so many restrictions on the colors that boys may or may not wear!
But lately I have put my hands up and decided to give up on biased parenting practices towards my sons. The thing is that first we overlook the boys’ rugged attitude as a gender trait and then when they grow up with skewed notions of their rights and entitlements we call them chauvinistic (I am tempted to add the p** word).
So, I decided to pay attention to finer behavioral patterns of my parenting attitude and made a few changes in them to make it more gender neutral.
These are just a couple of things that I am currently doing to make my parenting gender neutral. As they grow up the gamut of issues will broaden and I will have to pay continuing attention to my parenting style to keep it gender neutral. I realize that using a gender neutral approach to parenting, will do more good to my boys than I can fathom in the current moment. No amount of telling them to respect girls and women is going to yield the same results than treating them at par, with equal tenderness and genteel.
This is just a beginning I have made. It is going to be a long patient journey before it can reap the fruits. But I am going to tread the path, nevertheless.
Image Source – Pixabay
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
As parents, we put a piece of our hearts out into this world and into the custody of the teachers at school and tuition and can only hope and pray that they treat them well.
Trigger Warning: This speaks of physical and emotional violence by teachers, caste based abuse, and contains some graphic details, and may be triggering for survivors.
When I was in Grade 10, I flunked my first preliminary examination in Mathematics. My mother was in a panic. An aunt recommended the Maths classes conducted by the Maths sir she knew personally. It was a much sought-after class, one of those classes that you signed up for when you were in the ninth grade itself back then, all those decades ago. My aunt kindly requested him to take me on in the middle of the term, despite my marks in the subject, and he did so as a favour.
Math had always been a nightmare. In retrospect, I wonder why I was always so terrified of math. I’ve concluded it is because I am a head in the cloud person and the rigor of the step by step process in math made me lose track of what needed to be done before I was halfway through. In today’s world, I would have most probably been diagnosed as attention deficit. Back then we had no such definitions, no such categorisations. Back then we were just bright sparks or dim.
When Jaya Bachchan speaks her mind in public she is often accused of being brusque and even abrasive. Can we think of her prodigious talent and all the bitter pills she has had to swallow over the years?
A couple of days ago, a short clip of a 1998 interview of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan resurfaced on social media. In this episode of the Simi Grewal chat show, at about the 23-minute mark, Jaya lists her husband’s priorities: one, parents, two kids, then wife. Then she corrects herself: his profession – and perhaps someone else – ranks above her as a wife.
Amitabh looks visibly uncomfortable at this unstated but unambiguous reference to his rather well-publicised affair with co-star Rekha back in the day.
Watching the classic film Abhimaan some years ago, one scene really stayed with me. It was something Brajeshwarlal (David’s character) says in troubled tones during the song tere mere milan ki yeh raina. He says something to the effect that Uma (Jaya Bhaduri’s character) is more talented than Subir (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) and that this was a problem since society teaches us that men are superior to women.
Please enter your email address