Start With The Girls – A Beginning to End the Misogyny

By Arushi Chaudhary
3 min read

For centuries now, women – not only but especially in India – have meekly accepted their position in society as the second gender – the fair sex to put it euphemistically – or as second-grade citizens. They have been denied their right to equality at homes, in workplaces, on the roads, and in public places, never mind what the constitution tells you about fundamental rights, etc. The mounting atrocities against women – rapes, infanticides, honor killings, dowry deaths, domestic abuse, molestation, teasing – have given away to a narrative that focuses on breaking down the feudal setup and patriarchal mindsets to accord women their rightful due to a dignified life. And to be able to do that, they say to begin with the boys. Teach them to respect women, treat them as equals, and not view them as sexual objects and so on.

start with the girls a beginning to end the misogyny

While that’s all very well, I believe, a beginning to end this misogyny must start with the girls. Here is a value-system that parents raising girls need to engrain in their consciousness to help them stand up to this rampant sexism:

1. Teach her the importance of education.

2. Teach her that financial independence is not optional but a necessity.

3. Teach her to cook for her survival and not because it is her ‘duty’ to cook and feed her family.

4. Teach her that she can dress however the hell she pleases.

5. Teach her to not be ashamed of her body. Slim or fat, tall or short, dark or fair does not define her. Her accomplishments will.

6. Help her learn new skills. Driving, playing a musical instrument, learning a new language, horse-riding, swimming, golf. Let her take her pick.

7. Shun the pink and Barbies for girls, and blue and trucks for boys approach to parenting. She can wear blue, play with trucks, or whatever else catches her fancy.

8. Teach her that her husband’s paycheck is not a measure of her success. If she wants to taste success, she must work her ass off to earn it.

9. Teach her to not expect men to vacate chairs, hold doors, or carry her drinks for her. She is capable of all that and much more.

10. Teach her that marriage does not define who she is. It is okay to be married, single, or divorced.

start with the girls a beginning to end the misogyny

11. Teach her to marry for love, have kids because she wants to, and not because that’s what society expects of her.

12. Do not use ‘ye to humara beta hai’ cliché to praise her for there couldn’t be a more evasive reinforcement of gender stereotypes. In doing so, you are chucking gender equality right out of the window.

13. Help her find magic in the world of books.

14. Make her believe in happily-ever-afters, make her capable of creating her own.

15. Teach her to stand up to abuse and raise her voice against it.

16. Never clip her wings for the fear of ‘log kya kahenge’.

17. Teach her to value relationships but not more than she would value herself.

18. Teach her that she does not need a man to survive.

19. Teach her that she has the right to say ‘no’.

20. Teach her kindness and respect.

21. Teach the importance of caring for her health.

22. Teach her to be comfortable with her sexuality. That her period, her breasts, her sexual desires, her ability to carry and give birth to a child are not taboo.

23. Let her know that the world is her oyster.

start with the girls a beginning to end the misogyny

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Arushi Chaudhary

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A journalist by profession, she has ventured into freelance writing to be able to do two things she loves doing most – writing and spending time with two-year-old bundle of joy. When not writing, she likes to spend her time in company of books and food or hitting the road to explore new places.