While I was engrossed in my work my younger son comes to me with a sad as well as confused expression and announces, “mamma, I don’t want to grow up to be a man.”
Confused, I asked him, “why?”
He replies, “mamma, in all the books, advertisements, songs, movies and even the people talk so much about mother. Like, she is the best, she sacrifices, she loves more, she cares more and all that. I cannot be a mother, and no one will love me. I don’t want to be a man. I am good as a child, at least I am cute!”
I just heard him with open mouth, utterly shocked, speechless and tried to understand what he said.
My nine year old can feel and understand the gender bias in the society how come we adults miss it?
I then thought on how are we creating gender bias right from the day a child is born. We express our happiness of having a girl or a boy. If a boy then “Ghar Ka Chirag” if a girl then “maa baap ka dhyan rakhegi budape mein,” making her sit on an elevated platform.
I remember a few conversations just some days back.
I was at the bus stop to drop my boys to school, and we mothers were discussing our routine, school, maid, etc. Work from home moms had a different set of grievances, and we were talking about time management. I told them that now my elder son goes for his cricket and swimming coaching on his own. I also give him a list for grocery, and he gets it from the supermart. The following question was, “you don’t have a driver then how does he go?” I replied, “for smaller distances, he takes his cycle, and for others, he goes by auto” There was a silence for few minutes, and I wondered if I have said anything wrong. Then came a single reply, “ladka hai na you can, we have a daughter, can never think of sending her alone.”
I didn’t comment anything.
Another conversation was with a father who is worried about the safety of his daughters because they stay in Delhi.
I had nothing to comment there too.
As per my observation, whenever there is a girl in the family, we love seeing them grow into an elegant young woman.
A lady, who sits well rather than rough, talks with all manners than the way she feels; we are happy when she can prepare tea than playing a rough football match, dresses well than shabby, shows small gestures of taking care of you than not understand your mood(which is a boy’s trait)
Then promptly comes the comment, “ladki hone ke apne sukh hain”
I still wonder how many are raising their daughters without using “we are blessed to have a girl” in their conversation?
How many have career goals for their girls? Why is it only a boy’s job to be a breadwinner?
How many worry about their girl’s future financial security?
I am not talking about the money you’ve accumulated or properties created, and I am talking about do you worry what will happen if my daughter is not earning well in the future? How will she run her household? Will she have her own house before she decides to settle down? Why are these things the only responsibility of boys?
Wealthy people might have a reason not to worry for such things as they have enough to support their daughters even if she is not capable enough, but aren’t you turning them into a vegetable?
Why are we over-protective for girls like not sending them to local shops, market, public transport while for boys it’s okay?
We unknowingly make our girls grow into precious darlings, and when they grow up, we seek equal rights as boys.
Here the life comes in full circle
I have no idea if I am bringing up my boys correctly or not, but I am very sure that they are seeing a woman who has the tenacity of rock and who does everything and even more than what any male can do. I am assuming that they will see girls as equal partners and not just a decorative piece.
I am so glad that my son at this age is sensitive and feels that the society is biased towards the female gender and both should be treated at par.
Upbringing, mentality and thought process is changing, but there is still much to do knowingly to create a just and even society.