Scenario 1a : Me in my 7th grade. That day was extremely uncomfortable for me and my friends, because we know that the convent has organized for “that talk” during P.T period. The boys went to play football and all girls were gathered in a corner of the large play ground. It was the education about “puberty and menstruation & how to behave a grown girl and dress accordingly and how to handle periods in school and health tips”. After this session was over, I still remember, we never looked into each other’s eyes and our heads looked on the ground as we walked, the boys laughed and mocked us “so they got ready for their stardom” and it was so humiliating. I looked up and saw our school principal’s face being very proud that she has taken required steps for the girl students.
Scenario 1b :Fast forward to one of my recent blogging classes to senior kids and when I spoke about a writing contest on women empowerment mentioning any girls interested can take this up and participate, Sannihita, a quiter girl from a town asked me , “aunty, I don’t believe in this, why can’t we be equal? Why can’t boys write about girl power and we write about them?” – The best part was she was not polished and her tone was super confident. The next question popped in from Harish who asked, “aunty, I don’t understand why there is nothing on boy’s issues. you know we also have teenage, peer pressure and many things” and it was like I was standing in ethical mind court with these kids questioning me. That was when I realized, why we felt sad during our school’s ‘girl’s initiative’ and we disagreed with the pride on ‘principal’s face’. During the blogging class, I was more like the principal but who was questioned honestly. But I realized, let it be an educational talk or a contest, why do we restrict to one gender? How will the world be equal if we continue to classify the audience.
Scenario 2 : My husband was reading ‘Born a Crime’ book very involved and suddenly he asked me to read a page and said, “I know you will like it”. The page was about his mother’s advice on how to treat a woman, how to respect her feelings, how to understand the female expectations etc. I looked at my son and got worried, because my husband was right. For being the strong woman, I am very capable of doing that pep talk with my son. But, the question is, why is there no version where a father teaches her daughter how to treat a man, about the space every boy / man needs, how to co-exist instead of burdening him with expectations?
Scenario 3 : We made a beautiful poster of women and girl kids in the family wishing women’s day and my son asked, ‘oh you want both boys and girls to wish you, celebrate but it is all women and girl in the pics? hmm well.. ‘ and he dint bother much, went on continuing his xbox match. But, it hit me hard. What is equality and inclusiveness if you keep them away and exclusive ?
I agree, what we have to celebrate on womens day, what we have to celebrate on mens day and everyday is about “Co-existence and respect for each gender”, adoring the space we all have in this universe. There was once an era which required inspiration to highlight women to bring them out from social pressure. I myself was born in such a society and have faced those halla bullas. Today we have crossed the era of celebrating that a girl has reached this job industry, a woman has received this award. Gladly accepting that this is a beautiful milestone and we should enter the world of togetherness and learning how to understand mutual existence. These children are so raw, unfiltered and made me realize that they are ready for a gender neutral empowerment in future. All genders are ready to listen to each other’s world and embrace the methods of supporting one another. Are we ready to give them such an ecosystem as adults?
Recalling my Women’s day blog in 2016 : http://tigressandbutterfly.com/tag/thank-you/