While girls are often shoved into the kitchen once they reach teenage, mothers rarely ask their sons to make that cup of tea, ever wondered why? While the boys chill and play video games, their sisters are expected to extend help in the household chores, ever wondered why? While parents tell the girls to wear “proper” clothes when they go out of the house, they seldom advise their sons to look at women with respect. Ever wondered why? Parents don’t let their sons shed tears because ‘ladke nahi rote‘ (boys don’t cry). Ever asked why boys don’t cry?
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Why are we so adamant about raising our girls with “right values” and completely ignore the same values when our boys lack them? Isn’t it unfair to ask girls to break the stereotypes and become astronauts and scientists? Why don’t we also tell our sons that there’s nothing feminine in becoming a teacher or a painter?
Crying is not weakness
What parents say or do shapes a child’s personality. Why do we often see boys bottling up their emotions? This is because we taught them not to cry and vent it out as we believe crying is not masculine and a sign of weakness. We need to change this because crying isn’t bad, it’s an expression. Teach your sons that it is okay to cry and they won’t think of women as the weaker gender when they grow up.
Isn’t it unfair to ask girls to break the stereotypes and become astronauts and scientists? Why don’t we also tell our sons that there’s nothing feminine in becoming a teacher or a painter?
Uncommon career paths
Parents now are more encouraging of daughters choosing male-dominated career fields such as STEM, construction industry and software development and women are breaking the glass ceiling in many of them. However, parents now need to stand by their sons when they decide to pursue dance or take up writing as a profession. Confining the boundaries for males while lifting the barriers for females would bring us back to square one. The next time you buy toys for your kids, make sure that you don’t earmark the fighter jet for your son and Barbie doll for your daughter. Let them choose what they like the best. Buy a pink T-shirt for your son if he likes it and tell your daughter that it is ok if he loves that colour.
Equality at home
Get rid of the fatherly and motherly duties, instead let’s call them parental duties. Make it normal for fathers to cook and mothers to travel for official work. Something as basic as this would make the coming generation nix the gender roles that are being carried forward for years now.
As much as a girl needs to be taught about managing a home, boys too should be indulged in things that would make them capable of handling the household on their own. Teach them to do the laundry and to lay the table.
The next time you buy toys for your kids, make sure that you don’t earmark the fighter jet for your son and barbie doll for your daughter. Let them choose what they like the best.
Teach them what consent is. Our sons should know how to respect the other gender and take their opinion seriously. Start this early by making them give due regard to their sisters. Never make sexist jokes or body shame anyone.
Ranting about the insecurity for girls and patriarchy doesn’t make you a progressive parent. We can make the future environment safe for daughters by raising our sons with the right values and right values is gender agnostic. Dear parents, teach your sons and daughters what equality is, make them respect each other, ensure that they are compassionate and kind, let them raise their voices against the wrongs and empathize with those who are suppressed.
Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.
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