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While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
I asked the girls what happened, they said it is ok let them play, we don’t want to play anymore.
I realised this is how from a young age, girls willingly or unwillingly give up their spaces and the boys without overtly demanding claim the spaces as their own.
The whole process was very seamless, without any gender realising what has happened. Such incident and stories exist around us while we pay no heed or fail to notice them.
I think it has got a lot to do with the way we are raised, with the conditioning given to both genders from early on. While the guys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, the girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since “it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together.”
We are victims of regular conditioning with constant reminders while growing up that we have to be mindful of others, what they perceive, how they react, and most importantly that our self worth is linked to us being “Good Girls” “Do what the society expects us to do” and being validated by the males in our lives.
So it is easier for these boys to simply enter the court and take over. If it was reverse and had the girls taken over, chances of them being riddled with guilt were high. Had they done the right thing? Had they disturbed their game? And the fear that the boys will not play with them in future would have eaten at their soul.
This conditioning starts from a very young age when the sister is asked to get up and give the seat to her brother who has come from outside as “he is tired.” When the wife is asked to serve her husband first or adjust her schedule when there are guests at home as the husband has to work as per his schedule. When the female colleague is asked in a team meeting to arrange for tea / coffee for all the team members.
We are taught to be apologetic about our choices if it is not in larger good, to let go of our spaces for the overall peace or termed as stubborn and impatient for not adjusting.
What needs to change is how we bring up our boys and girls. What messaging and conditioning are we giving them while growing up. Let’s normalise girls being aggressive, stubborn, unapologetic and owning the spaces not just in their houses and workplaces but the society in general. WITHOUT shaming them for it.
Have there been instances like these in your life where you have given up space (physical, mental, emotional, financial, social) to a male in your life?
Image source: a still from the film Piku
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Strong believer in the power of conversations and finding comfort in uncomfortable conversations. Love to encourage both genders to break the chains of patriarchy and come into their own indentity.
Also love exploring the space 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.
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Some time ago, Imtiaz Ali and Hansal Mehta respectively spoke of biopics of Madhubala and Meena Kumari. But do these biopics do justice to these women?
I recently came across a Reddit thread that discussed the fact that filmmaker Imtiaz Ali had announced making a biopic of Madhubala, and I wanted to explore this a little.
Of late, biopics based on the lives of beautiful but fatefully tragic women such as Lady Diana and Marilyn Monroe have created waves. Closer at home, we hear about the possibilities of biopics being made on the lives of Meena Kumari and Madhubala as well. These were hugely famous, stunningly beautiful women who were the heartthrobs of millions; who died tragically young.
I am glad that the Orange Flower Awards seek self-nomination. High achieving women often suffer from self-doubt, and this is a good way to remind us that we are good enough.
A few days ago, I saw an Instagram post announcing the Orange Flower Awards which recognise the power of women’s voices. I read about it with curiosity, but didn’t give it a second thought.
I received an e mail from Women’s Web seeking self-nominations for the Orange Flower Awards, and I ignored it. Yes, I write occasionally, but I didn’t think my work was good enough for me to nominate myself in any of the categories.
A past winner especially tagged me and asked me to look at nominating myself, and I told her that I was not ready yet. “That is up to you”, she said, “but I think you should nominate yourself.”
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