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While empowering our daughters is good, even critical, what about our sons? If gender equal generations are to be future citizens, this is necessary.
On 15th August, my timeline was flooded with Rakshabandhan and Independence Day messages. I had no plans of writing or posting anything. But I found something common running through all the messages and forwards, that compelled me to write this.
Most of the Independence Day messages talked about how our ancestors fought for freedom from foreign rule, and now our generation needs to fight for freedom from prejudice against women. How we need to raise our girls to be independent and strong. That society should not judge her on what she wears, what profession she chooses, which home she chooses to stay and whom she chooses as her life partner.
As a society, we are working hard towards eradicating all bias against women but what about bias against men? Ever thought, what a man goes through when he plans to study even after his masters, but what he’s told is, “Apne pair pe kab khada hoga? Zindagi bhar baap ke paise hi udayega kya?” (When will you become independent and earn for yourself? Are you going to live on your father’s money?)
A girl is asked at 25, but a boy in India too is asked at 30, “Shaadi kab karoge? Budhape mein?” (When are you getting married? In your old age?)
If a married man plans to pursue his XYZ-passion, while his wife takes care of the finances, people ridicule him, “Ab biwi ki kamayi khayega?” (Now you’re going to let you wife support you?)
A man wearing a crisp kurta pyjama to the office will undoubtedly be questioned, “Aj Diwali hai kya?” (Is it a festival today?)
Heads will definitely spin if a well-chiseled man walks on the streets in vests and shorts! For good or bad, it is for you to decide.
I have still not come across a single male teacher in the primary section of schools.
Tech subjects are still reserved for boys and comes as an obvious choice to them. Similarly, humanities is still dominated by girls. I am yet to come across parents who would willingly encourage their male child to pursue arts as a career.
A man who loves his mother unconditionally and listens to her advice is termed as ‘Momma’s boy’ (definitely in a negative light) and a man who hands over the reins of the house in his wife’s hands, thus empowering her, is termed as ‘Joru ka Gulam’.
The blue still symbolises boys and pink girls.
A man is expected to be strong, masculine and the breadwinner of the house. But times are changing.
Many girls have got lucky because they get to hear, “Jaa Simran jaa..jeele apni zindagi” (Go, Simran, go… live your life!).
I am waiting for the day people say, “Jaa Raj jaa…jeele apni zindagi… Khol le apna startup. (Go Raj, go… live your life! Open your start-up). Take a break from your stressed career. Pursue your passion…Kamane ko toh zindagi padi hai (You have your whole life to earn)… It’s not important to own a 3BHK. A hefty bank balance is also not important, but happiness is definitely important. Jaa Raj jaa…jeele Apni zindagi!”
Author’s note: I have read about men taking the unconventional path and their contribution to society but this post is for people in general. People like you and me, who come from middle-class families and whose idealogies are still driven by bias. Today it should not be just about empowering the girls and ignoring the boys. It should be about raising our kids equally, without any preconceived notions, without any bias. Stop just raising your daughters like your sons! Raise your kids like responsible citizens. Like they ought to be in a gender neutral society.
Image source: a still from the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
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