If you are a professional in an emerging industry, like gaming, data science, cloud computing, digital marketing etc., that has promising career opportunities, this is your chance to be featured in #CareerKiPaathshaala. Fill up this form today!
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.
My cousin remembered the time of her brother’s birth. And how her grandmother could not contain her joy at the birth of the only male child of that generation.
The grandmother repeatedly checked the newborn’s penis and kissed it to appreciate the phallus and the birth of the male child.
The extended family met this ‘quirky’ story with bouts of laughter. I was the only one to consider it a clear violation of health and hygiene for the neonate, let alone the offense bordering around paedophilic margins.
The family dismissed my horror as a stupid side-effect of my ‘over-education’ and ‘evil’ feminism. They felt the grandmother’s reactions were a normal expression of love and happiness.
After all, the grandmother had longed for a male grandchild from her three children. However, she could finally find that happiness only when her youngest became the father to a boy. This came after eight failed attempts resulting in daughters by her children.
Even the boy, who, in my opinion, was wronged on account of this violation, didn’t see it as problematic. He wondered why I was sexualising a completely normal behaviour towards a male infant.
Thus, I was dismissed as a woke heretic who spoils the fun. Having learned my lesson from this, I decided to keep my mouth shut regarding the phallus worshipping that was being normalised there.
I realised that even though the grandmother’s behaviour was problematic on many different levels, she was an ‘innocent’ victim of the widespread normalisation of phallus worshipping.
A few years later, as a new bride meeting with her husband’s cousins for the first time, I witnessed another instance of this normalised violation of a toddler’s penis as an object of adoration.
My husband’s cousin’s wife was the mother of a one-and-a-half-year-old son who was the source of the entire family’s pride and joy. While applying the mosquito repellent roll on her son’s clothes, the mother of this toddler was adorably naming her son’s privates with what she thought of as ‘cute nicknames’.
In an overwhelming expression of admiration for her son, she kissed his penis. Then, she applied the mosquito repellent to his underclothes covering his penis. Again, this behaviour was thought to be funny by the rest of the family, while I couldn’t help finding it problematic.
Even when the intentions of neither the mother nor the grandmother were a potential danger to the infant, this normalisation of kissing the infant’s penis in public could easily make him vulnerable enough to be a potential prey to child abuse, since, in his mind, this kind of behaviour wouldn’t register as an act of violation but as an act of adulation.
Our culture has normalised the flashing of a male child’s private parts either under the pretext of saving him from the heat flashes or under the misconception that a male child is not an object of a pedophile’s sexual desire.
In this day and age, when we consider that children must be taught to identify the good and bad touch from the adults, the family elders must be educated about the potential harm their adoration of a baby’s private parts can lead to.
Even while imparting the education on good and bad touch, we are often blind to the fact that male children are at equal or even greater risk of abuse due to the normalisation of such behaviour.
It is the need of the hour to educate the elders in the family and the society regarding the adverse effects of phallus worshiping a male infant.
Image source: Fizkes/Getty Images via Canva Pro
I am an internationally published author of the book entitled "The Feminist Shaw" which has been published by Routledge, UK, and the USA.
I was born to Professor mother and Doctor father and am married read more...
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.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: