For the past few years, I am part of various mom forums and keep on sharing my parenting experiences and try to help out new moms. There are various kinds of queries and experiences from the mothers, but something caught my eye the other day. I read in a moms’ group how a little girl’s mother cut her daughter’s long hair to make her look “ugly” so that she isn’t noticeable in this big bad world! Really?

I too have a daughter who is beautiful, extremely expressive, vivacious, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about her or the way she is. She is at a stage where she is growing up and at a risk of all kind of stares and later on, maybe comments from unscrupulous people. What do I do? Do I keep her locked in the house, ask her to speak or laugh in measured tones, ask her to dress drab, ask her to stop interacting with people? I would rather make her fearless and make her ready to take on the world instead of getting her to withdraw into a shell. Yes, the world is a scary place and like any other mother, I am also scared about the well-being and safety of my daughter. But making her look “ugly” or be inconsequential is not the solution. People who are perverts don’t look at the age, gender or “looks” for that matter.

I would rather make her fearless and make her ready to take on the world instead of getting her to withdraw into a shell.

The message given out to that little girl is to become subdued; give in to the society’s age-old traditions where girls are subjugated and treated as objects or later keep mum whenever they are facing any injustice, be it from outsiders or from husband or in-laws!  Instead of teaching them to become inconsequential or not speak up and keep mute, isn’t it better that the daughters be taught to become more visible and vocal? Wouldn’t making them inconsequential make them meek and underconfident?

Instead of teaching them to become inconsequential or not speak up and keep mute, isn’t it better that the daughters be taught to become more visible and vocal?

Despite all the fears that I have, I am raising my daughter to be fearless, and I hope all mothers out there raise their daughters to be fearless and confident.  Let the girls be unapologetic about how they look or what they speak.

Ritwika Roy Mutsuddi, is a social media expert by profession and a blogger by passion.  Parenting and women are her favourite genres.  She is a mom of a 16-year-old strapping son and an 11-year-old vivacious daughter.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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