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While girls have more freedom today – to choose their career and education, why is a girl dating still seen as characterless or ‘loose’?
In India, girls and boys are raised differently. Gender equality isn’t still a reality of every household. Parents often take care of their son’s needs more than their daughter’s.
In fact, a daughter must not have any needs. She shall be fed and covered enough. The daughter must wake up early and help her mother in the household work.
Her education is neglected and she will be married off at the right time. And her life after marriage will be no different. That’s how deep rooted patriarchy is in the Indian society.
Times are changing now and girls have more access to education. Their health too is being taken care of. They have more employment opportunities too. Today, girls are seen fulfilling their dreams, but when it comes to dating, the rules are still old. Daughters aren’t allowed to date, it is prohibited for them. It is still unacceptable for girls to date boys.
A girl should be educated and have the freedom to work too, but she has to have an arranged marriage with a boy her parents choose for her. She has no right to choose her life partner. The husband has to be chosen by her parents or grandparents or any other relative. By anyone, but her.
In India, dating isn’t just forbidden for the girls, but for boys too. However, if a son dates, it is slightly acceptable, it doesn’t bring as much shame to the family. But if a girl is dating, the whole family’s honour is questioned. The girl’s character too is questioned.
If parents catch a girl dating, she will be kept at home by her parents for months. She will be denied access to her phone and the internet. Meeting her friends is also forbidden or limited. In some cases, she is asked to discontinue her education or her job. She is considered a girl with a ‘loose’ character. And opposing any of this, some times, also leads to the horrifying reality of honour killings!
Parents should discuss dating with their daughters. They should discuss the pros and cons of it. Parents can play a key role in this, by alerting the girl if something is wrong. Most importantly, they can support and guide her. Exchange of information from both sides will bring transparency in the relationship. This will help the girl feel secure and prevent her from possible threats.
A girl should not consider it shameful if she opts to date someone. Dating doesn’t make her a trust-breaker. Parents, too, should try and cope up with their insecure feelings, they need to reconsider their family values and principles.
Parents need to open up to their kids, not just about dating but other things too, that can be discussed. Communication will bring harmony to every relationship. Parents can also save their children from the dangers of bullying and shaming if they choose to talk about these things!
Picture credits: Still from Tinder India’s #StartSomethingEpic campaign
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