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While teaching our daughters to 'be strong' in a patriarchal society, did we teach our sons to understand the concept of women's autonomy and choice?
While teaching our daughters to ‘be strong’ in a patriarchal society, did we teach our sons to understand the concept of women’s autonomy and choice?
Somewhere during the 80s and 90s, there was a family where the husband is a civil engineer, the wife is a history lecturer, and they have two kids, Nikhil and Tamanna.
Being well-educated parents, the parents provided a family environment where kids can have good education and family value system. They made sure that Tamnna, the girl child, should have same level of exposure as Nikhil, the boy.
Tamanna is loved, pampered at times, and has a supportive family where she can build her own identity, assert her opinions, and when she completes her education, she becomes financially independent. Nikhil is also raised with a similar value system.
When Nikhil and Tamanna are in their teens, there are instances when relatives, friends visit their house. The mother asks Tamanna to get water for the guests while Nikhil sits with them.
During their school vacations, both kids take up some hobby classes, visit cousins, and play with friends. While Nikhil plays football with his friends in the afternoons, Tamanna told to avoid being outside too much in the sun, so that she does not become dark.
Tamanna spends a lot of time helping her mother in the kitchen, and is often told to set the dining table by the time Nikhil and/or her father returns home, and then they all eat together. There are times when the house help is on leave. At such times Tamanna is asked to help her mother in household chores, while Nikhil does his brotherly job of teasing her.
Tamanna is often fondly told to become whatever she aspires to be by her father, while Nikhil, emotionally and socially, is systematically raised to choose a career which elevates their social and financial status. Nikhil secretly aspired to be the football coach. (Childhood fantasies!)
While parents feel proud to have a daughter who becomes an investment banker, they don’t approve of Nikhil’s childhood dream of becoming ta sports coach. Instead, he was diverted (of course, in the name of parental love) to become a doctor.
Let’s take a moment and crunch the pattern here.
A fairly ‘open-minded’ family believes in providing equal opportunities to their son and the daughter, but that equality is limited to academic education only!
A son is not given equal opportunity when it comes to helping in household chores, choosing a career with ‘not lucrative enough’ economic and social benefits. Isn’t this something boys have been doing for centuries?
A daughter is also not treated equally as a son, with the expectations that she takes over household chores, even though she may be given a good education.
It ultimately boils down to some unanswered questions.
Image source: a still from the Hindi film Dil Dhadakne Do.
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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.
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Relatives kissing children's penises made me wonder how this is leaving boys vulnerable to potential abuse under the garb of affection.
As we witness in all Indian family gatherings – whether a wedding, a birthday, or a summer vacation – nostalgia soaks us all.
However, one such gathering exposed me to a horrific practice that, though common in many houses worldwide, is very problematic.
It all started with my horror at hearing one of the supposedly funny anecdotes about my cousin’s birth.
Many men suffer from an inferiority complex when their women are earning. They feel their wives will rise higher in the professional worlds.
I hear many women tell me about how they are privileged that their husbands do not want them to work.
One claims that her husband wants her to have a luxurious life and just relax and rest. Another feels her husband just wants her to stay at home and enjoy cooking. Some feel that their husbands just want them to look after the children. Some other women look at these women and feel that they are so lucky and fortunate to have such loving and caring husbands.
My question to these luxurious women is that then why did you educate yourselves? Why did you painstakingly study? Is your purpose in life to only be dependent on your husbands for money? Do you not have any skills that can be utilized? What about teaching and showing others what you have learnt.