Girl with courage is a revolution…

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Nowadays one very good TV serial is going on Starplus at 10PM(IST) “Tamanna”.The story revolves around a woman who wants to become a cricketer and the sacrifices she has to make in order to achieve her dream.I am inspired to write this article after watching couple of shows of this serial together with my 20 year young daughter and discuss the reality of woman’s life which is more or less common in majority of women in our Indian society or it may equally true in other third world countries also.

The reality is our beloved girls are not free to plan their life according to their dreams.Even highly educated parents also see their daughter’s marriage as a biggest dream.I would like to ask the society WHY?In “Tamanna” – TV serial expresses a true story where a young girl struggles to follow her dream, against family and social norms. The show depicts the story of an enthusiastic Dharaa who belongs to a conservative Gujarati Family and wants to become a Cricketer. But the society and her family (other than her father) create hindrances in her road to the fulfillment of her cherished dream. However, she never loses her self-confidence and stays focused on her dream and finally, she become a top woman cricketer of India. The story is all about her journey from childhood to achieve her dream and the struggle she experienced during her journey. But do her dreams have an expiry date?

“When are you going to start saving? Don’t forget there’s a girl growing up in the house..”, countless wives have been reminding their husbands in Indian households and sometimes on TV screens. Parents in the country place too much emphasis on marriage. And if you’re a girl, this gets doubled. The moment the doctor announces the gender, the planning starts, the saving starts. And more importantly, the worrying.Giving your daughter’s marriage utmost importance means everything you do for her is ultimately influenced by this concern. You either don’t educate her beyond a basic level because you don’t have enough money to spend on both (and clearly you’ve decided marriage is to be given the bigger priority), or you educate her (often according to your own wishes rather than hers) with the prospect of fetching a well qualified groom so that she can be ‘sent off’ to a ‘respectable’ home.

Placing emphasis on marriage means raising girls in a manner primarily aimed at moulding them into a societal expectation of what an ideal bride or wife should be like, instead of fostering and encouraging individual characteristics. And in a patriarchal society, these demands are never free of misogyny[Misogyny  is the hatred or dislike of women or girls] .The perfect wife looks like Aishwarya Rai, talks like Mother Teresa and is willing to be submissive like Sita. She is unambitious, unassertive, unaware or not demanding of her rights, and has been blessed with extra invisible hands to successfully manage all household work and (increasingly) also a job without the slightest complaints. Girls then are taught from a young age to value their looks more than their talents and skills, to place their career aspirations or financial independence secondary to the need for being married at the ‘right’ time and having kids, and to perpetuate this vicious cycle through their own daughters, all the while carrying a burden of living up to the good girl myth so as to not ‘invite’ rape, lest they become used goods. Because rape is something that is given to us when we “ask for it”, and the unit of measurement of a woman’s worth is virginity. Right?

Imposing one’s dreams on another human being and wanting them to strictly fulfill them for you is a pretty selfish expectation and even a messed up form of ‘love’ (which is how people usually like to rationalize it). This stems from the perception that holds children as properties of parents and in particular, a woman’s identity only in relation to a man. It’s somewhat similar to indoctrinating kids into the parents’ religion at an impressionable age and closing the doors of curiosity, only even more violating. While one may be able to completely break free from religious beliefs at least on a mental level, the social costs of leaving an unsuccessful marriage in a patriarchal culture are many, especially if you’re a woman. Being a father-in-law or a grandmother is a privilege, not a right. But having the freedom to decide whether we want to give our parents that privilege is a right no one should be denied, because the decisions involved would first and foremost affect ourselves.

Marriage is not the ultimate purpose of a female life. I’ll say that again, it really isn’t. It’s only a part of it, and a choice some women wish to make while some women don’t. The important thing is they should have the liberty to do so without being coerced or emotionally blackmailed. This has absolutely nothing to do with their ‘worth’ as a person. Meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life can be found in a billion ways and if your daughter wants to include marriage at some point in that list, fine. If not, that should be fine as well. Give her education, good morals, encourage her to pursue her passions, let her celebrate her sexuality and uniqueness. The rest should be up to her. After all, if it is your daughter’s welfare that you wish for, then start by placing the control of her future in her own hands.

“Do not allow anyone to tell you what you can and cannot do,” Andrea Barr said, she is training to be an elementary school teacher at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. “Do what you like, because that, in the end, will make you most happy. You are the sum of the choices you make”.

Always remember,  “Educate a Girl,Let her support to fulfil her dreams and she will change the world.

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