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I believe in raising feminist and empowered kids which is why I discuss both cars and grocery lists with my son and daughter!
There was once a time when we had women like Rani Laxmi Bai who picked up a sword to fight a war for her own people. And there is a time when the same people are putting shackles and restricting women and their education, wishes, choices and even birth! While we have come a long way in how we perceive our daughters since then, we still have an even longer way to go.
I was born in an extremely conservative Gujrati family and wasn’t allowed to wear shorts or go out with my friends or even on school trips. Meanwhile, my brothers had absolutely no rules or guidelines to follow about what was allowed and what wasn’t. And it was all because (you guessed it right!) they are boys!
I know a lot of us are familiar with this and over time, some of us have rebelled against it or simply accepted it as a part of life. As a young girl, I remember being told that it was unsafe to be out of the house after a certain time. And also that I would be inviting trouble if I didn’t listen to these rules.
But I’ve always wondered why don’t we teach our sons to be equally responsible for one another’s safety? Why isn’t self-defence a compulsory course in schools? Instead of teaching girls to hide and avoid ‘being into such situations,’ why don’t we prepare them to take care of themselves?
At the same time, why don’t we raise our sons a little differently? Why don’t we teach them not to indulge in behaviour that will potentially harm others?
The rising social issues are only a sign that all these restrictions have brought us only unfavourable results. So why now try other methods? Why not ease some of these constraints and instead ‘impose’ some of it on our sons? It is time for some major changes in our parenting techniques.
I remember this one time when I took my daughter to the park and she was climbing on and playing on the monkey bars very easily. But there was another boy, around her age, who couldn’t climb and fell off the monkey bars. As he fell, he ended up hurting himself and started to cry.
His father helped him get up and wiping his tears off, he said, ‘Stop crying like a girl!‘ I stood there staring right at them and wondered what this boy is going to grow into with this kind of parenting.
We need to raise our sons in a way that they make the world a safer place for everyone. And this will happen only when boys are raised with no added privileges simply for being boys. At the same time, we need to stop teaching our daughters that they are too fragile or less capable than boys.
But most importantly, we need to teach them that they can’t escape situations by simply not facing them. Girls are incredibly beautiful creatures who are emotional and sacrificing, however, these should be seen as their strengths and not their weaknesses.
For far too long, we have treated the symptoms of this illness called patriarchy without any fruitful results. It is not time to treat the root cause of the illness, not just the symptoms. Boys need to be brought up with an equal sense of emotions, responsibilities and accountability.
The only reason boys take certain advantages is because, unknowingly, as parents, we have given them all the wrong ideas. For example, household chores are not only for women. They absolutely are not! These are survival tactics for both boys and girls.
Let our sons see how we raise our daughters equally and let’s stop showing them that the only way to feel empowered is by suppressing the women. I say this because when power is vested without knowledge, it leads to a situation we are in right now.
It is going to take a long time for some considerable changes to take place but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! Let’s go one step at a time, one son at a time, if you may. And slowly, we might just bring about the desired change.
Let us set the same time limits for both the kids, let’s have the same sports classes and self-defence lessons for them. Treat both your kids the same and send them to the same art classes and cooking classes. Teach both girls and boys to do household chores and have the same parties for them. Let’s have open conversations with both about everything from bank policies to market conditions and even grocery lists with girls and boys.
This way, you will be raising resilient, independent and confident daughters and emotionally strong and responsible sons. It is a win-win for all of us. However, it will take a lot of effort from us to make this happen!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie We Are Family
With so much juggling the entire day i find utmost peace when i have a topic in my mind and a pen in my hand. I am a mom a home maker, an advisor to read more...
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It is easy to give in to patriarchal expectations from a married woman and lose your self in a marriage, but the path to happiness is in keeping your independence.
Marriage is often described as the joining of two individuals’ bodies, minds, and souls. Upon getting married, you are expected to share everything with your partner, including time, money, and all other aspects of life. Your life should revolve around your spouse from beginning to end.
But is it necessary to spend every waking moment with the spouse? Are you not supposed to have a life apart from your spouse? And do these rules apply only to women or men as well?
Although both men and women may face this situation, women are generally expected to give up everything once they get married. Despite progress in several areas, expecting women to abandon their interests, passions, and friendships to align their lives with those of their spouses is still considered the norm.
The rising numbers of single women choosing this life shout out clear and loud that patriarchy and sexism will no longer break or chain us.
Another book on singlehood? It seems to be the season for books on the joys and freedom of being single. But Demystifying and Dignifying Singlehood: Life Journeys of Single Women Across the Globe by Uma Jain is different. The book does not glorify or glamourise the lives of single women in any way. These are real stories – with the good, the bad and the ugly, all there.
The book tells the stories of 15 single women across the world. A feeling of deep understanding and empathy fills you as you read the book and understand the challenges faced by the women who are single – by choice or chance. Some of the women chose to be single because they faced discrimination and even abuse as girl children. Some others had abusive marriages and sought divorce.
The tag line ‘Crafting pathways on rough terrains’ on the cover page is enough to tell you that this is a serious take on the issue of singlehood. If it focuses more on the rough than the smooth, that has been the reality for the 15 women.
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