“Is a boy’s body part not important mumma,” quipped my 9 year old, just after coming back to school. Something seemed to have snapped inside me. Have I become cynical in many ways, I asked myself. I need to hear him out before inferring the obvious, I said to myself. I gathered my soul and with a quick smile replied, “ofcourse it is beta, but why are you asking this?” My boy replied, “everyone talks about how to treat girls, be respectful and never touch a girl. It seems that’s bad. You also say we should never touch a girl and respect them, but why no one ever says anything to girls? Say what Abhi? “Say that they must also not touch boys and be respectful towards them. I don’t like someone giving a peck on my checks, I don’t like someone hitting my butts, you know some girls peep into the boys’s toilet too, is that a good thing mumma ” he added with a frown.
Being a mother of two, a boy and a girl, I have always being careful about not being biased. But somewhere I felt defeated today. In the midst of all the cynicism and fear, somewhere I guess I missed on making my son secured. I remember telling him too that he needs to be careful, but may be not with the same stress that I have given for my daughter. My mistake…blunder perhaps!! I kind of overlooked the fact that boys are equally vulnerable as girls, and it is my duty as a parent to empower my son on such things as much as I do for my daughter. My son’s indignation and umbrage about everyone’s attitude towards safeguarding girls more than boys, was palpable. Why touching a boy is any which way less wrong and inappropriate than touching a girl… well, I guess it’s high time I say things in the same breath to my son as I do for my daughter, no matter what.
In this world, sexual misconception is glaring. And, children are most vulnerable and at the receiving end most of the times. Thus, the onus is on us to deal with it with utmost equitable and nonpartisan attitude. While on one hand we tend to be more careful and observant towards girls and emphasizing the fact that boys should not do this to you, I feel we miss on one very crucial thing, that no one should do certain things to boys as well. For me, I would say, I felt jitered and was rather annoyed at myself as in how could I miss out on something that is so important….It was bad and I had to rethink about how I could possibly do a damage control and make my son believe that in several levels girls and boys are equal and must be like that.
This whole episode also made me wonder what effect would this have on my little boy. A tarnished self esteemed and botched up feel that his body and wish is of no use, or a false notion that a girl is more valuable than a boy in every level. Because no matter what it is always it is a girl who is valued more, warned about taking care, her looks and her way of things in many which ways. While I believe in empowering girls to the hilt, I can’t possibly deny and overlook the fact that girls or adults for that matter can do pretty many things to boys under the garb of empowerment and age, which again is a big no..no !! Thus, what remains an underlining fact that we need to talk to our boys and girls perhaps in the same breathe. Let their body, mind and soul be equated in a way where it is complimented and not conditioned. They know, what is good or bad, stands equal for both.
I had no other go but to hug and apologize my boy for being slightly nonchalant towards him. My thoughts certainly didn’t resonate in my actions. Even though I have been vocal about abuses to my son, may be I didn’t reach him well enough to make my stance clear. A hearty and open talk with both my kids, I guess did some damage control. However, it’s a promise that I made to myself that never ever I would give room for such notions to dwell in the minds of my children. If I say a girl and a boy is equal… let that be in reality and practice, and not in mere words to be told ! May I live up to my expectations… !!