When the topic for the week was tossed I thought there’s so much to write but my friends were a step ahead and poured their hearts regarding their concerns about how a girl child is perceived to grow up in a society like ours. And I echo their thoughts.
Well after exercising my brain a lot as to what shall I present, I thought of bringing forth two examples (out of many) from my childhood but not directly related to my own life that had a lasting impact on my opinions.
Instance 1: He was my junior in school. A dancer by interest and a very bright student. He was always a target of bullies in school. Calling him “girlie” and many more names that I am unable to express (leaving it your imagination) here, was very distasteful to the core.
Instance 2: I think I was in 4th class, there was one particular chapter in Hindi where the girl child of the family was made to do various chores because she was supposed to know every household task whereas the boy was kept aloof from all that. Ok let’s not into the details 😀.
These instances always made me think “Why this divide?”. Why we as a society are hell bent on dividing the tasks based on gender. A girl child by default is made to master the daily chores, culinary arts and she is the sole torch-bearer of the honour of family. Whereas a boy child is made to believe that it is acceptable for him not to participate in household tasks. Rather it is somehow deemed to be a sign of supremacy to announce “my son doesn’t know all this stuff, I have never let him do that” and God forbid if it’s a girl, then it’s a matter of shame or social outcry.
First things first: We must understand one thing that nature have clearly done the demarcation of who does what and that’s final and irreversible. By trying to divide tasks we are only complicating simple things.
What if a girl child wants to take up taekwondo classes at her will rather than an obligation for safety, what if a boy wants to learn dancing or cooking? Why not let them apprentice what they want without deep introspection of what society has to say. One line that is often passed around in our society especially with regards to a girl child “will so much education and learning change the fact that she has to take care of family and kitchen after she is married” really irks me.
On a second thought: Instead of marking off and dividing tasks between a girl child and a boy child wouldn’t this be better that everyone knows everything or at least a bit of everything. How about making children (irrespective of gender) share and rotate chores and learn extra curricular activities of their interests without differentiation of genders. That would help us to nurture a more confident, independent, considerate generation.
On contrary what are we doing ?
Defining territories and spell stress: Because of the years of upbringing that define specific territories to be taken care of by respective genders we are making inroads for stress in our kids’ life in future. For example a girl child when grows up with the lessons of being solely responsible for her household she is burdened by immense stress of doing it neatly to the T because she knows that she is going to be evaluated by her family on how she keeps the house or how she cooks and her counterpart most probably be unable to share that responsibility because he has never been raised so. On the flip side he is equally helpless in her absence because of lack of know-how of even simple things like making a cup of tea. I have witnessed such people.
Undoubtedly the numbers which we call statistics show an improvement in the number of girls receiving education as compared to our own previous records but giving education won’t be sufficient until and unless the rift, the divide between two genders is not mended. It’s our responsibility to impart an important value in our boys as well (because throughout we have been doing the same to our girl child i.e. imparting lessons on life) that they are equally responsible for peace, sanctity and honour of home. They are equal bearers of responsibilities of house.
To be precise I am not against a girl child learning the tasks necessary to run a household but then it shall not be the sole prerogative of a girl. I am not here promoting the complete role reversals but definitely stand up for role rotations based on need of the hour. And for that to happen we should start treating our kids equally in every way not just helping them pursue hollow education.
Remember one thing: Tasks are not gender definite except for few that are defined by nature. You can ask your son to help in kitchen and your girl child can help you install that new television in living. Let them groom in every possible manner.