#Featured

‘Don’t Talk to Boys’ – Why Are We Told That All our Lives and then Asked to Marry Them?

post image

I was in 12th standard and in a very sophisticated and popular school in the state. But everything shattered when I was shamed for talking to a boy in my class. After school hour, I was walking back to my hostel when a classmate met me at the hostel gate. We were just discussing what the teacher taught in the class when the principal of the school “caught” us through the CCTV camera. And within a few minutes, I was summoned to her office. While the male friend had no idea about it and casually went to his room. I was scolded, shamed and threatened to be suspended from the school because, as the principal said, “I am destroying the boys of the school”. She even went on to complain to my warden to keep an eye on me and “cut down my feathers if I try to fly”.

This was not first the incident when I was called out for talking to a male friend. In fact, addressing my male classmates as a ‘friend’ was seen as blasphemous. I was always told, don’t talk to boys. Why a woman is not allowed to have a casual conversation with a man? Why are parents so insecure about their daughter’s safety, reputation and morality? Moreover, if they don’t want them to talk to boys, why do they expect to marry them later in life?

Is marriage the only way to legitimise a relation between man woman? Can a woman have an empowered life if she is not even confident in speaking to their male friends, colleagues or husband?

Also Read: Rape Culture: A Complex Problem That Mere Death Penalty Can’t Solve

It is true that women today are being educated and sent to co-ed schools, colleges. But the rape culture is so normalised in the society that parents are reluctant to allow much freedom to their girls. There has been reported cases of women being abducted and raped by her male friends, teachers molesting and raping women students and whatnot. But again is it right to restrict women from going to schools and being friendly with everyone, irrespective of gender? Why don’t we demolish the rape culture? Why do we still have the assumption that men will be men who can never stop misbehaving with a woman?

I am forced to wonder whether society even considers it important for a woman to speak to men without any inhibitions. The society that we inhabit has upheld men as the superior beings who have the right to command and dictate. While women are the subservient sex whose duty is to listen and silently suffer under male dominance. Women working in firms are not expected to be vocal and critical amidst the male colleagues. Even today, families that arrange a marriage for their daughters, do not allow the daughter to see or talk to her prospective husband until the wedding night.

Women are seen as a “khuli tijori” who needs to be saved for her future husband. Talking or meeting men other than her husband taints a woman’s so fragile reputation and makes her less pure for the husband to accept her.  If this is the reality, why will society even teach their women to talk, sit or shake hands with men?

Society is a space for people of different thoughts, occupation and gender. Not allowing women to talk to men and assimilate in the heterogeneous society acts as a setback in the feminist struggles. If a woman is not confident to talk to a man, won’t she feel inferior to him, re-emphasising the sexism? If a woman does not feel comfortable around men, how will she work at a firm with her male colleagues, go to public spaces and walk alone on the streets? If she is conditioned to assume a silence and shyness when she comes across a man, how will she have a marriage that is equal, compatible and not slavery? Let us stop seeing men and women as sexual partners and consider them as competent individuals supporting and pushing each other towards empowerment. Feminism is not about finding a separate safe space for women but about making the world a better place for them.

Also Read: Dear Parents, Bring Up Your Daughters As Empowered Beings Not As A Burden

post image
‘Don’t Talk to Boys’ – Why Are We Told That All our Lives and then Asked to Marry Them?
post image
‘The Less He Speaks, The Better’: Pak PM’s Ex-Wives Hit Out Against His “Purdah” Remarks
post image
Man Dies After First Shot Of AstraZeneca, His Sister Still Insists People Get Vaccinated
post image
Bombay High Court Lays Down POCSO Act Guidelines For Police And Courts