Why are we so shocked? Isn’t this a mirror of our Society where Misogyny is normalised?
Do you really think that just blaming those boys and feeling disgusted by their mindset is going to change anything?
Does this incident make you question your own mindset, and that of your friends, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, and fathers?
If this doesn’t make you wonder whether you’ve helped this culture, silently or not so silently, what will?”
These boys have gone to an extreme and have talked about rape and violence, but the objectification of females is happening around us all the time. Most boys and men, including men at your home, are part of such groups offline or online on WhatsApp or Instagram.
It’s time to stop and challenge why it is normal to objectify and chat about female or male body parts, whether inside or outside the locker room. Who hasn’t heard words like ‘Maal’ ‘Tota’ ‘Cheej’ used for girls in common conversations and songs?
When will we come out of this regressive mindset and educate ourselves and our children to understand that we are all humans?
Boobs, butts, penis, and vagina are just as much the part of the human body as hands and legs are. There is nothing hideous or extraordinary about talking about these things.
A friend called me and shared how disturbed she’s been since she read this news. How worried she is and how she’s questioning whether she has raised her boys right or not.
Shouldn’t we all question this too –
Are we doing enough?
Are we raising our sons right?
Are we doing something terribly wrong as a society?
Do you feel even more responsible than before, to bring up boys who are respectful of women and who treat them as equals?
Isn’t this high time that we look deeply for the answers to these questions.
After all, no child is born with such a mindset and value system.
What is the role of parents, teachers, and society as a whole in cultivating wrong values in the future generation?
First of all, we need to realise that raising the young generation is the most important task and we can definitely do better.
We are shaping young minds by example. With our thoughts, words, and constant actions. Every single moment.
So how can one raise a better human being (boy or girl)?
To begin with, Stop Believing And Saying These.
‘Boys will be Boys.’
There is nothing dignified and manly in disrespecting another human being.
So stop using this phrase at home, at gatherings, in jokes, at workplaces, or in WhatsApp chats.
JUST STOP IT.
‘My son can’t Do That.’
Yes, He Can.
A common issue with the parents of these children is that they believe ‘my son can’t do this’. We all know these kids are from families like ours, not from the underworld.
Rather than justifying their behaviour, We need to educate and sensitise boys at an early age.
Irrespective of the status, education and class of a family and its background a boy can misbehave with a girl. Any boy can.
That’s where our upbringing and value system comes in.
‘Talk openly about Sex.’
Sexuality and sex education is the biggest problem in our society. Parents and teachers have a huge role to play here.
We need not hide things that happen around us, else they will get to know and interpret it in their own way.
“Pornography is not sex education.”
In many families, that’s the first encounter of young boys and girls with sexuality. That’s just so sad.
We need to be open about all these things with young children, and we need to be prepared to answer, what is rape, harassment, eve-teasing, and consent.
In an age-appropriate way, we should talk about sex with our children, and all these topics before media or anyone else does.
“If you have young sons at home, talk to them today. “
Ask if they know about this incident. Ask them to share openly what they think about it?
If their friends did this, how would they react?
What are their thoughts and feelings around this topic?
Do not judge but listen first. See where they are coming from.
If you feel their thoughts are not sensitive towards this topic or they don’t care about it, gently introduce the idea of respecting other human beings, the way we would want others to respect us.
Ask them how can they ensure they respect others in their circle, whether girls or boys. Find out how they are exploring their sexuality?
What do they think about different genders?
They need to know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. We need to be honest and open, they are always listening even if we think they are not.
‘Lead by Example.’
This is the most important piece in raising responsible children.
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Children learn from their environment the most. Pay attention whether, at your home, people respect each other or not?
Is there gender stereotyping or sexism going on in your home?
If yes, communicate with your partner and other family members gently and talk about solutions so you can truly lead by example.
‘How do you encourage negative values in children?’
When you laugh at sexist jokes and forward such jokes.
When you comment in sexist ways.
When you discuss why girls should not wear short clothes (because it’s provocative).
When you say things like –
Be like a man!
Do not behave (cry/run /talk) like a girl.
When you sing and dance on Bollywood item songs that objectify girls.
All of this is the beginning and leads to Toxic masculinity in long term.
Do not normalise it, because everyone is doing it.
‘Boys are Special.’
In India still, the mother of a boy is celebrated at his birth, more than a girl’s birth. This flawed notion itself is a problem.
In many families, it’s not verbal but non-verbal gestures can be seen in the whole society and lead to invisible and visible entitlement and patriarchal behaviours.
Gender biases and stereotypes are deeply ingrained in the fibres of our society that come into play very early on.
Boys will play with cars and girls with dolls.
Blue for boys and pink for girls.
Boys need to be strong and girls need to be pretty.
These categories and biases get formed in a child’s personality from a very young age. If he likes stuffed toys, it doesn’t make him less masculine.
‘Parenting — not only the mother’s responsibility’
Parenting comes down to both the parents. Father has an extremely important role to play.
The father’s words and tone towards the mother and other females at the home are paramount.
If the father is disrespectful, shows entitled behaviour, always gives orders, is constantly busy with the newspaper and his work or gadgets, it gives a completely wrong message to children.
If the father doesn’t help in family responsibilities, it is time to change that.
It’s not only in our words as much, as it is in our actions.
It’s time to Look into the mirror before we point a finger at others.
Change begins with us.