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If a girl brings light and colours in the house, why isn’t she allowed to be herself throughout her life? Why do we still prefer boys over girls?
We often hear people say, ‘Daughters make the house colourful,’ ‘Betiyaan ghar ki lakshmi hoti hai.’ ‘Beti hai tho ghar mein ronak hoti hai.’ ‘Jis ghar mein beti nahi hai tho uss ghar bilkul kali kali lage gi.’ (Daughters are like the Goddess Laxmi. A house with a daughter is one that is full of happiness and light. Any house where there’s no daughter seems dull and colourless)
However, the reality for a girl is very very different from the adages and quotes by the famous poets and writers.
Today, we have multiple international and national organisations that work towards the safety and rights of the girl child and the women. These organisations were started solely for the purpose of taking care of girls right from their existence in the womb.
Unlike in other nations, where the gender of the foetus is revealed in the early stages of pregnancy, in India it is still regarded a crime owing to its past history. Sex selective abortions were and still are quite prevalent in the society. Though today, cases are registered against the people who commit this crime, rarely is anything done about it. Despite the government having various schemes for the welfare of the female child, female foeticide is still on the rise.
Even today, do we really need incentives to deliver and raise a baby girl. Do we really need special events or occasions like Daughters Day to celebrate the birth of a girl? Why can’t many people celebrate the birth of a baby girl just like they celebrate that of a baby boy’s?
In most cases, this discrimination against the girl child starts the moment a new life begins to grow in mother’s womb. The moment a woman becomes pregnant, family members begin expressing their expectations by saying things like, ‘soon an heir will be born in the family.’ Why isn’t a girl considered an heir too?
Don’t her feel proud of her if she achieves laurels or reaches the highest position? Just because she is a girl, do they abstain from saying she from their family when she achieves something? Whatever be the reason, many women, too, desire to have a baby boy. Though people say we don’t have such thoughts, they still expect a boy.
Both the parents start making conversations with the baby in the womb as beta and not beti. It could be the difficulties that a woman might have faced she still expects and desires a baby boy in her womb. Even if the mother-to be asks what if it is beti, she will be persuaded that beta or beti both are same. However, she needs to be positive that it is beta only and not beti.
Everyone says, we would’ve loved to have a daughter but we are blessed with a son. And yet, many of them probably desired to have a beta only when they are expecting. Why is it that even those who proclaim that they wished to have a baby girl don’t make any vows to god that they want a baby girl?
Many people make vows to god that they will visit the temple or offer some prashad or something similar if blessed with a baby boy. Why is it that they don’t make such promises when a baby girl is born? And why can’t we ask god that whoever is delivered must be healthy irrespective of the gender?
Unfortunately, for the family, even a baby boy has to be delivered from a woman and not a man. What if god is too tired of all these demands for a boy and grants only boys to everyone?
How does the family continue the lineage without a girl for their boy? And how do they even try for any medical alternatives without a girl to offer her egg for fertilisation? Are they going to develop new medical sciences where they can mutate their sperm with some animal’s eggs? (Lol)
Fortunately, people are starting to accept baby girls in their families. Some people even take a day or two to realise and accept that they are blessed with a baby girl and they have to be thankful for her. And this is even more so if the girl is fair skinned. It is still believed that a fair girl looks more beautiful.
When does this perception change? A number of beauty product ads show that a girl becomes more confident after she becomes fair when she uses any of these products. Is it true that only fair girls are beautiful confident and successful?
The moment a girl is born, everyone starts suggesting to save up for her marriage and investing in her jewellery. But very few suggest saving for her education.
Even today, in many families, a boy, born after a girl, is much celebrated, and pampered by the family. And unintentionally or inadvertently, the girl will be trained that she has to take care of her brother. The boy, unknowingly, is brought up believing girls are weaker or lesser than him. Thus, he is nurtured with an ego and wields superiority over girls.
People often tell their sons not to ‘cry like a girl’ and to ‘stay strong like a boy.’ At the same time, a girl who is playful and energetic is told to ‘talk and behave like a girl‘ and not to ‘play like a boy.’
Are boys only physically strong and girls only emotional? Isn’t crying another way of expressing oneself like laughter is? Emotions don’t have anything to do with gender and neither does being active, energetic or loud. A loud voice is related to our vocal system and not gender. Some times, a girl with loud voice might be more sensible than a boy or girl with a low voice.
A girl is constantly cautioned to talk softly, walk slowly, behave properly, be patient or it would be difficult after getting married. But how many girls with such girly behaviour lead a happy married life sans any problems?
When someone wants to criticise you, they will find a way. If you talk slowly, they might say you are lazy. Or if you are patiently trying to forgive or ignore their deeds, they might take it that you are silent because you are wrong. It is not our way of talking or any other traits, but our ability to understand and handle situations that lets us live happy.
Even today, most people end up telling a girl to pursue a career and profession that she can continue even after marriage. This is considered a mere time pass or to finance her needs, without any disturbance to family life.
A girl child is usually not encouraged to pursue a challenging career or time-consuming jobs even though she is interested in. People like reading success stories of other girls but when it comes to a girl in their family, they counsel her against it. They discourage her by saying that she will face many hardships before she is successful and tell her that it would be very difficult.
Why do girls have to choose their education and career keeping in mind the post-marriage consequences? A life no one can guarantee would be a bed of roses. Why aren’t encouraged to pursue whatever they wish and marry the person who supports her without restrictions on her career or passion?
Today, I feel a girl has to be raised in such a way that she can stand up for herself without waiting for someone to go and help her. She must be physically, emotionally and financial strong enough to sustain herself regardless of the situation.
It is time we start saving and making investments for her education rather than her marriage. A girl and a boy constantly need to be reminded that they are same in all aspects except gender. This needs to be done so that no girl feels inferior and the boy understands that no matter which girl, she enjoys the same privileges as he does and he isn’t inferior or superior to her.
Picture credits: Still from Puma’s Propah Lady campaign.
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