This is something that we all have faced. It starts with the feeling ‘I am a girl and so I cannot do this’ and this shall continue throughout her life journey. From a very tender age, she is being told what to do and what not to do.
All she needs is a little freedom: Kids
You are a girl, sit properly! While this statement is decent enough to make little girls understand wearing frocks or skirts. But this would continue even when they become adults. ‘Sit like a girl/lady’ is the common statement said.
Behave like a girl! While kids tend to copy each other and usually go with the flow while playing. We often tell them to behave like girls don’t do this way. is there a need to stop kids from playing just because she is a girl and should behave like a girl? Yes, extreme behaviors should be kept in check for both boys and girls.
Girls don’t play with these! We still have gender-specific games/toys for kids. Yes, even I got my girls the iconic kitchen set which most of the girls have. Even I had one while I was little. But it is always wise to give them a choice if they want to play with a kitchen set or cars.
Don’t dance like that! Kids have some amazing moves. And those moves only come out rare and when we start saying that, that’s not how girls are supposed to dance. They might shy away from being open and creative with their moves.
All she needs is a little freedom! Teen
Come home before 6 pm! Now, this is the most heard statement throughout my adult life. How about you? While this behavior should be kept in check with teenage kids, not to be specific (boys and girls), this continues through most of adult life.
Don’t talk to boys! This I feel is the most insane statement ever. Glad that I did not hear this statement much. But this is said most commonly to girls or teens. Again, any extreme behavior must be kept in check with teens. Not restricting it to only one gender.
Don’t go out with boys! This should be a continuation of the above one. What if someone sees? We have our relatives to do this job. Don’t you all agree?
Don’t take late-night shifts at work! We have people saying, ohhhhhh night shifts kya? Why is she even doing it? What’s the need of doing night shifts? It’s her parent’s fault! They should have kept her in check.
All she needs is a little freedom! Adult
Love marriage! This brings out the most drama in the house. If a girl does it, it’s the biggest mistake she could have done. The answer is just no! And we could see the change nowadays.
Work after marriage? Why does she have to work after marriage? Who will look after the house, the works, and the in-laws? Doesn’t care about our family. Oh my God, she is giving her salary to her parents. She is spending her salary on herself and gives just more than half of her salary at home.
Work after kids? This gets on to a whole different level now, with the family and relatives especially. She is not a good mother and doesn’t care about her children, also leaving her kids with a nanny/in-law. She is so self-centric!
Well, the list continues. Comment and let me know if have you ever faced such things. I’m pretty sure you did. And what is the positive outcome of the changing times?
This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Make a Wish Box.
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Harjeet KaurFebruary 23, 2023 at 12:32 pm
Well said, Sadvika. Moms of boys should teach their sons how to treat girls. I took a kitchen set for my grandson, who likes to cook. My son was also an excellent cook. My daughter barely knows to cook as she doesn’t have the time.
Ambica GulatiFebruary 24, 2023 at 4:22 am
That is so true. I remember my father saying I should be home on time, it was such a relief to grow up and begin to lead my life without fear of being a girl. Boys need to be taught how to behave with girls, so they can both enjoy their life.
Anasua BasuFebruary 24, 2023 at 9:06 am
We all must read your post and follow what we exactly are ought to do. We should not restrict any girl from what they do or happen to do. The point where you mentioned about not allowing girls to play made me remember an incident I saw in a village I went for a tour. Our mindset should get changed with time else future is not going to be so much good for us.
Kaveri ChhetriFebruary 24, 2023 at 10:09 am
Tell me about it! Good topic to write on Sadvika. I come from a place where the boy girl thingy isn’t that prevalent on the periphery but it is there and is deep-rooted. More than anything it is societal pressure… phew! It is deeply saddening and may take generations to change.
Zenobia MerchantFebruary 24, 2023 at 2:37 pm
What a lovely post! Gender bias is deep-rooted in our society and not just in India. Your post reminded me of all the things I’ve either experienced or seen firsthand. We’d like to say we are modern or liberal, but sometimes seeing educated people working in high positions, who have probably seen the world, telling me that “Oh gosh! I wonder who will take care of you and your husband when you are old” is repulsive and downright derogatory to hear. (PS: I am a proud mother of 2 daughters)
SamataFebruary 24, 2023 at 4:03 pm
Sadvika I want to thank you for writing on this topic with so much boldness and confidence. Yes, as a girl I too also experienced such things fortunately not from my parents but my relatives also insulted my parents saying that they will never marry their sons to any family with only daughters as it will be burden for their sons. But I am blessed to have such parents who always supported me and my sister and gave us the freedom to play the way we want, make friends with whom we wished too, and for me even the freedom to choose my life partner. Equally blessed to have a partner who always supported me to live my life the way I want after marriage without leaving job and career. We should give freedom not just to girls but also to boys to live life with full freedom. After All its their life and its their choice as parents all we can do is to support them. Its indeed a lovely post.
VarshFebruary 25, 2023 at 5:09 am
There can be a change in society only if wr as parents change our attitude towards how ‘girls should behave’. The entire onus of being well-behaved only for them is so exaggerated and hollow.
Flavia CutinhoFebruary 25, 2023 at 9:37 am
Ok something that keeps me pestering back of my mind is ur a grown up girl u should play outside. Trust me seeing the way people are trying to out grow this narrow mentality make me happy, at least im glad girls in future will get to breathe the air of freedom.
Manisha GargFebruary 25, 2023 at 10:08 am
As girls I think we are familiar with lot of things shared in our post. What needs to change is the attitude and mindset, I am glad that a lot of Moms I know who have sons and daughters don’t differentiate and believe that such upbringing can bring about the change we are looking for.
AnjaliFebruary 25, 2023 at 6:36 pm
Very well penned!!! Girls, just like everyone else, deserve the freedom to be themselves. To pursue their passions and dreams without being held back by societal norms or expectations.
They don’t need much, just a little space to spread their wings and fly. To speak their minds and make their own choices without fear of judgment or retribution.
Let us empower girls to embrace their individuality and thrive in a world that celebrates their worth.
Madhu BindraFebruary 25, 2023 at 1:01 pm
That is very true. Back in our times it was very common but these days too, there are too many restrictions on girls. Most of the times, it is the women to put these restrictions.
Meetali KuttyFebruary 25, 2023 at 3:34 pm
A lot of these are universal truths and we have to actively work to break them- I have a niece and we refuse to gender her toys or make her sit still ” like a lady.” The only one I see being a problem is travelling late- this Is more due to general safety concerns in this country for women- sad state of affairs indeed!
JanakiFebruary 25, 2023 at 4:17 pm
While I agree what you say, but it is heartening to see that parents these days are better aware and so very soon it will become a thing of the past, don’t you agree?
Vasumathi DS PondayFebruary 25, 2023 at 7:42 pm
I think this boy girl thing will continue to exist and some parts of it may actually be a good thing. Boys and girls are made differently – physically, intellectually & emotionally. If we are accepting and aware of this, then the differentiation is only to get the best out of ourselves and wont feel discriminated. However, creating that awareness in ourselves and then in others is a big journey.
DocdivatravellerFebruary 26, 2023 at 6:47 am
Each word is so true. Been there, have faced everything. I am not bringing up my girls like that. I give full freedom to my elder one and soon to my little one too. I really don’t want to be that control freak, sticking to societal norms mom like my own mom.
Neeta KadamFebruary 26, 2023 at 8:21 am
Very true and each one of us has gone through this. This will change only when we as a parents change. Then only our next generation girl will have freedom.
Proud mother of girls?
Amritha SrinathFebruary 26, 2023 at 9:14 am
Now this is a hard hitting post Sadvika. All these instructions and suggestions as per the society are nothing but restrictions for a woman to live her life. Having experienced many of these or having seen it in my close circuit, I know how hurting it is for us women. While the society pretends that it is changing, a lot of women/ girls still face these at their homes or with the institutions they work for.
Ritu BindraFebruary 26, 2023 at 11:36 am
Absolutely. Right from childhood, girls have all restrictions possible put on them. And then are expected to behave like superwomen when the situation demands. I doubt anything would change. The situation is similar everywhere.
Nikita JhanglaniFebruary 26, 2023 at 12:40 pm
Ah the relatability of this post! I once met a family that called themselves ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’ because they let the women of their family wear jeans and sleeveless clothes. But, they were not in favor of women working. I also met somebody my own age, a finance professional, who thought that the primary responsibility of a woman was to keep home.
Sakshi BindraFebruary 26, 2023 at 1:14 pm
I applaud you for the post. The way your wrote it for each stage of a women’s life – so relateable for many of us across the generations. This is universal truth and not just in India. If a women is stay at home, she is judged. If she goes out to work, she is judged. She is expected to check all the boxes and still stay a step behind the men. I also loved reading all the comments. This is an amazing community, right here.
Change can happen incrementally and it begins at home. Empower the girl child the same as the boy child. No special treatment, no over or under doing it for either the boys or the girls. Treat them as equal, more from your actions than your words.
Sivaranjini AnandanFebruary 26, 2023 at 1:31 pm
On what a girl should do ..the list is endless. If you are a girl it is selfish if you care for yourself. Wonderfully writtem
Abha SinghFebruary 26, 2023 at 4:18 pm
Beautifully written. I hope future generation will live more freely than the olden times.
Pamela MukherjeeFebruary 26, 2023 at 9:26 pm
Very well written for sure. Being a girl I understand the situation and how we face it. The mentality and perspective are what need to change, and I’m delighted that many of the mothers who have sons and daughters don’t distinguish between the two and think that such upbringing can bring about the change we’re seeking for.
JeannineFebruary 27, 2023 at 12:24 am
This for sure hits me hard and well growing up as the eldest of 4 girls and now having two girls of my own. For me, those reminders and teachings one can get from their parents as a kid/child is really important. It’s where you are embedded with values and beliefs that you can bring to adulthood. As one turns to teens, it’s for the parents to learn to slowly let go and trust that whatever they have thought their child would be put into good use. And lastly as an adult, I guess it is for the person themselves to distance themselves as it’s important also for their own personal growth. It always takes two to tango and while a child can’t do much and really needed guidance, it’s up to the growing child to make her parent’s understand the need for personal growth that entails with the freedom they give. I think it’s important to reassure them that their teachings will go along with you and they shouldn’t get worried much.
Shail ThosaniFebruary 27, 2023 at 10:51 am
I had amazing parents and they never lectured me on lady like habits. In fact they encouraged me to be confident and strong. However when I entered my married life I had these limitations imposed on me by my mother in law which I have in the years changed to my way of upbringing. But I meet so many girl friends and colleagues who are even in today’s era being brought up under these limitations which is so wrong.
Pooja JhaFebruary 28, 2023 at 7:28 pm
Oh yeah, we have heard these. We all have heard these for sure. but, now the time has changed, things are different. Girls are also raised like Lioness, fearless and Confident. Thanks to those who bought change.