mommy mood swings series:3
Pink or blue for your nursery room
Ok, so let’s tackle the elephant in the room. The big Voldemort of issues- especially in India; The one question which dare not be asked but a lot of people are thinking. Do you want a girl child or a boy child?
India is one of the few countries where pre natal sex determination of foetus is not allowed. Female foeticide or preferential foeticide is by no means restricted to India, around the world the female child has been prejudiced , notably in China with the one child norm, many countries in Africa and even in the developed countries. But here we’ve taken a stand of sorts, a legal action against prenatal prejudice against women.
Somewhere around the time of the ‘banned’ “india’s daughter” documentary on the delhi Rape victim, people across social media put up statuses saying “I will never raise my daughter in this country” and the whole “How safe are our daughters in India?” questions.
I wondered then, is it more difficult to raise a daughter or a son in India?
Raising a daughter can be difficult from security point of view but if we educate them well, give them a good sense of self, provide them with opportunities, caution them early in life about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ and arm them with a kick ass self defence routine, I think the girls will come out fine.
But how do we raise a sensitive yet brave, kind yet courageous boy in a patriarchial society?
Tom boyish girls are accepted, even encouraged in our society. Girls are considered naturally sensitive and diffident, fgive them enough competitive environment and academic stimulus and they turn out more or less well rounded. Ok, so it may not be that simple, but it is a lot easier than figuring out how to raise boys with equal parts compassion and competitiveness.
In a society which does not take kindly to ‘weak boys’, boys who would rather not throw stones at the neighbours cat, the boys who would help out at home, boys who listened to their parents about curfew timings and boys who let their emotions show, how do we raise “good “boys?
In our society , and I don ot mean just in India – boys will be boysis an accepted saying. “jaane do ladka hai” is an oft repeated phrase, but is this not where the real problem lies?
Every time the issue of domestic violence and sexual offenders and sexual harassment at offices is raised- the answer is always that we must teach our men to respect women, teach our boys the meaning of the word ‘no’.
How then do we raise boys to learn the meaning of the word ‘no’ when society at large is bent on giving him a sense of entitlement.
“mammas boy” “sister’s chamcha” “tied to his wife’s pallu” these are the words we use to tease the men who listen to their women. We expect these men to revolt against women all through their childhood and then expect them to respect women.
Boys must not play with dolls, girls can play with cars and toy guns.
Boys must not cry, it’s a sign of weakness.
Boys must not go home early, clean their rooms, or sit in one place- because to do these will be to obey, and boys must rebel.
Why? Because that’s what boys do. That’s what generations of boys have done and to start obeying now is not a norm, it’s an anomaly.
I have seen it at playgrounds, at social gatherings, at our neighbourhood flag hoisting on Republic Day even. One mischievous boy leads the pack, and soon it grows to a gang. One boy is held back by his mother, and he obeys. The other mothers say what a good boy. The mischievous boy points and laughs .”haha, GOOD BOY!” and soon all the other boys are laughing too. The ‘good boy’ jerks his hand away the next time his mother says “good boy” and says “ DON’T CALL ME GOOD BOY, I AM NOT YOUR GOOD BOY!
Good is suddenly a bad word.
What they should have done instead is singled out the mischievous boy anfd called him BAD BOY. Singled him out rather than the boy who listened to ghis mother, because no one likes to be singled out. We don’t do that, why? Because as I said “boys are all mischievous” according to our patriarchial society, it’s the boys who listen to their mothers who are the anomaly.
The same thing when happens in a gang of girls, we immediately pull out the ‘bad’ influence, because we assume all girls are ‘good girls’.
Whatever the child psychology behind it, a bad boy and a good girl are still coveted titles. Boys would still go around raising their toy guns and saying “I am a bad boy , bang bang, and indulgent parents will look on and say “ladka hai jaane do.”
How then do we raise ‘good boys’ and make these boys feel valued and loved and above all RESPECTED for being good?