Sunday, March 31, 2013

We boys are spoilt by our elders !

Between two siblings, the 14 year old boy would get to pee whenever and wherever he gets the urge. It may be by the side of a lonely highway at night, or a busy flyover during the broad daylight. The car would be stopped, and he would quickly come out of the car, pull his pants down and start peeing in multiple directions drawing an imaginary painting.

The 12 year old sister on the other would have to wait till the family reaches home, or a decent restaurant.

This is where we boys start getting spoilt. Think of all the various situations where the girl by default, or by design, would get a better upbringing and hence can become a better citizen.

Girls are told to return home after the sun goes down, but it is a custom for the boys to get out of their homes after the sun goes down, for that evening adda or stroll. Boys, in fact get into a better dress for the ocassion. Mumbai may not relate to this behaviour as much as a reader from any of the smaller cities would. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for girls doing better in all the board exams across the country.

Whenever there are guests in the house, the girl in the family would have to get the glass of water. She has to play the good host, and the boy would just sit with the guests chatting, or would go out to play with his friends. Boy being absent from home is usual and acceptable.

When a girl becomes adolescent, she is not allowed to via roads where boys get together for a chat or normal masti. She is told to be safe and keep a distance. On the other hand, when a boy becomes an adolescent, he is never told by his parents to restrain himself. He is not discouraged from eve-teasing, as if that is his birth-right. He is expected to behave in a certain masculine way. He is a boy and can therefore live a life of careless abandon.

I have seen two kinds of parenting when it comes to a girl child. There are parents especially mothers who would encourage her daughter to study harder, to become financially independent, and effectively not become a housewife like herself. There are other set of parents, who bring up their girl child in a very conservative way and teach her to become the dutiful daughter-in-law and a domicile housewife.

Both these set of parents however bring up the sons in pretty much the same way. In the first case, the son is not being told that he should adapt to this new world of independent women, that many mothers like his own mother is building for his sister. He is not told that he should learn to adapt to marrying an independent working women, and effectively not be like his father. In the second case, the conservative ways of upbringing a daughter does not apply to the son in the same family. He would be the normal care-free boy whose mischiefs would be forgotten or ignored by the family.

These circumstances and society's ways of treating a male child is detrimental to the overall male species. In the short term, it may not be evident, but in the longer term this difference of upbringing between a boy and a girl will manifest into much grievous social and psychological problems. Worst possible scenario would be a diminishing respectability for the male gender.

I don't mean that male gender should be respected more than the female gender, but the scale should be equal for both the gender. Today, it is tilted towards the male gender. Tomorrow, it should not tilt towards the female gender.

Boys are inadvertently taught to be a MALE child by none other than his parents. The society add to this make-up. By the time we become adults from boys, we are already addicted to a huge male ego that cannot face failure, rejection, subjugation, a higher earning female colleague and a kitchen when the wife of the house is late from work.

Thank heavens that there is no way that men can get pregnant. It is the wife of the house that goes under labour and decides to quit and make professional labour a secondary labour. If the opposite was possible, I wonder what would happen to men with their super-sized ego and masculine attitude !

Things are not rosy just because we can't get pregnant. With higher incidence of broken marriages and lower incidences of child-bearing, there is a serious challenge that the male gender would face from the supposedly fairer sex in terms of competing for the coveted 'provider' title in the society.

We, male boys, have to adapt to this new reality. Parents have to guide their children fairly and equally. The notion of equality is euphoric, but the process to attain the same has to be smooth.

All of us, guardians of the society need to be aware, active and supportive in this transition, and take apt care of the boy child.


  1. Unless and until the world is not safe for women to step out any time of the day or night, the mindset of parents is not going to change.And there is nothing wrong with the current attitude of teaching their daughters to play safe and not court trouble.
    However, I completely agree with you that parents do not impose restrictions on boys or try making them aware/protective of their female counterparts. Mindset of men needs to change for us to see any great impact.
    At the same time women need to get more assertive and stop grovelling at the feet of men.

  2. It's true that major behavioral patterns depend on the upbringings, however, a conditioning is not a universal truth. It's the individual who reacts or behaves in a certain way or in other words chooses to act. Gender discriminating upbringing is a study, not an answer to the current problem. We easily say that, not everyone is as courageous as Phoolan Devi or as bold as Arundhati Roy, but lets just consider individual acts sans the upbringing factor. Lets not consider the exceptions as exceptions. Lets be such fathers who can discuss and help their girl children about their mensuration cycle traumas, lets be the mothers who can discuss with their boy kids about getting bullied and molested by their near kin !!
    Or lets just stop doing case studies and/or discussing reasons of failed parenting !!!


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