To my captive audience (Or so I’d like to believe), I am so, sooo glad to be writing a post after the longest time! This had been nagging and nudging me for quite some time now and I really, REALLY wanted to pen this down with as much sincerity and courage as I could muster.
I had been MIA, mostly, because of my work and the crazy schedule that left me with little to no energy (also, you know how lazy I am). Add a, fierce, little 5 year old girl to the mixture and, there you go, all sanity lost (But, also because I am so darn lazy). Now that I am on a break and have some time to myself, I had the time to think things through and put them into words. Or, atleast, I tried to. Here’s hoping that I make sense to most of you and that I do justice to what I perceive something extremely important.
So, here goes…
Everytime I look at my stubborn little daughter, a knowing fear grips my heart. I try not to over think when it comes to her well being or her future. However, being her mother, I can’t help but look into her eyes and predict the hurdles and hardships that are to come her way.
Why can’t I protect her from them all? You might contemplate. I am ‘The Mother’ after all. Am I not supposed to shelter her from the storms? The answer would be yes and no. I would be there for her, no matter what, to be her anchor, making sure she always has solid ground to fall back on. However, she would have to fight some battles on her own. All alone. She would have to fail, fall, learn from her mistakes and get back up again. The obstacles in her way would only make her stronger and more determined in attaining her goals.
Having said that, I also fear that our society would only add to her struggles. Raising a daughter in a place where women are still struggling to be treated as well as their male counterparts is a bloody tough job! As I sit here and write this, I can well imagine that she would be expected to conform to certain standards set by the society, being a female. It pains me to think that at some point in time, she would be made to feel inferior or not good enough for something, based on her gender. What’s more disturbing is I cannot expect the dynamics to change for the better any time soon, as patriarchy is so deeply rooted and ingrained in all of us that anything that questions the power dynamics is simply deemed absurd or completely disregarded.
Let’s talk about the much dreaded ‘F’ word here. Feminism. There, I said it. Now, before you cry out in disgust, let me break it down for you. To put it simply, Feminism means, “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes”. Now sit back, take a few deep breaths, and reflect on this definition. If you feel that your daughters, sisters, wife and female colleagues should have the same rights and opportunities as you, well, there you go. You are a feminist. And there is no shame in claiming that! It only shows that you stand for justice and equality!
Why should a female not get the same opportunities and have the same rights as a male in this day and age? I still find it difficult to comprehend. When I was younger, I never really gave it much thought. Because we are all conditioned to just go with the flow. To let things be the way they are as that’s how they’ve always been. I can only thank my education, exposure and awareness for making me question the obsolete norms! I cannot expect things to change around me over night, but, I can very well contribute towards a society that is more just and fair for both the sexes.
Starting from my home, I feel our kids learn through examples. My husband and I have decided to practice and establish a few things that should help us raise a fearless daughter.
First things first, we try to maintain an equal, respectful relationship between us. We also make sure that chores are equally divided, focusing on demolishing gender specific roles.
One important aspect, I feel, is to always demonstrate that power, when it comes to decision making, is not specific to one person in a relationship. There should always be a balance in the power dynamics of a household.
We do not believe in gender specific toys! Nobody should have the power to decide what your little girl should be interested in but she herself. We have toys ranging from pink, glittery, barbie dolls to construction trucks (which, by the way, are all the rage these days in our household.) and scary looking dinosaurs. This is our way of telling her to go chase her dreams!
Likewise, activities should never be gender specific either. We enjoy an Elsa tea party where muffins are made out of play dough as much as changing our car’s tyres with daddy!
Most importantly, we try to embrace diversity by accepting individuals at face value and for who they are. Although, our daughter is still young to understand this, but we plan on raising her to be empathetic towards people and accept that everyone’s different and that they are unique in their own way.
Lastly, we would not want her settling for anything less than what she deserves. Because, nobody is going to give it to her on a silver platter, it is upto her, to claim what is rightfully hers.
I would end this post with hopes and prayers that the next generation and the generations to come after that would see a world where there is justice, equality and empathy.