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Men are a very confused lot .They don’t know how and what to talk because they can’t risk being called sexist. I know this , because as a mother of boys, I can vouch for the fact they are as vulnerable as any girl.
Scene 1: A girl and boy are trying to climb on the monkey bars. Both seem to be of the same age and looked like friends. The girl’s mother was clapping and cheering for her girl. The girl made it to the other side ,so did the boy. The mom of the girl said, ” Hey! My little princess is so strong, as strong as boys.”
Scene 2 : The children wanted to show off their new found skill so they went on to the monkey bars again. This time the girl fell down halfway. Her mom picked her up and said, ” It’s okay, boys have more physical strength.”
I was walking one evening in the society when I witnessed this. I could feel the confusion on the boys face. I think his mother was not with him. I wonder what she would have said to him.
My thoughts went to my boys. I am mother of two boys. I admit when I had my first son I was a little worried about how I would bring him up because I thought I would not have anything in common though I grew up in a joint family with a lot of cousins who were boys. I never liked the books and movies the boys liked. I would enjoy cricket matches but was not obsessed with them. The games we played were laughed at by the boys .
With my first son, I made a common ground. I started playing all the sports he liked. I read to him books which girls loved along with the books the boys loved. I bought a kitchen set for him along with his cars. I learnt the names of cars, their make along with him. I played with his transformers too.
When I had my second son, I was prepared. I brought them up without any gender stereotypes. They know they have to pitch in to help in all the household chores. They are learning all necessary life skills. They know that when they want to they can cry. They know everything about consent and how they should behave with a girl.
Having done my bit, I am a worried soul nowadays. The incident at the park, for instance worries me because we’re all happy to talk about our desire for ‘strong women’ in society these days, it almost feels like victory over oppression. On the other hand when I hear ‘strong man’ I think of negative connotations like misogyny or bullying.
We are so obsessed with this, that any display of male strength is discouraged.
Equality beyond gender stereotypes
While I am extremely happy that after years of discrimination, women deserve a chance to shine and achieve whatever their heart desires, I can’t help feeling that in the process, we’re in danger of swinging too far the other way. In empowering girls, we’re also dis empowering our boys.
I want a future which brings about change but not one gender over another. Isn’t it better that way?
I know some women will argue that feminism is not about male bashing and they hate it when we say all men are not bad. But when I see that every other article is about feminism , every movie review is about the female characters , when every sportswoman is celebrated because she is a female instead of for her achievement, it worries me.
Why? Because when I am teaching my sons to appreciate every woman who is strong and successful ,they need to be appreciated too for being strong and successful. And I want them to accomplish whatever they want, not because of their gender, but because of their self-worth.
While we teach our boys to be appreciative about successful women we also need to teach our girls that it’s okay to date a guy or marry a guy who is not as successful as she is. Because in most cases however successful they are the women look for men who are equal are a little more successful which again confuses the man when he has learnt to accept the fact that the woman can be more successful than him.
Again, these are stereotypes, but we need to change if we really want equality in every way.
I am a feminist but I don’t want my boys to be left behind.
Image source: Unsplash
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