Mom!Take me to the parlor!

Natasha, all of 7 years, got an invitation for a friend’s birthday party.  The birthday party had the theme of a princess.  Natasha wanted to look her best and wanted others to envy her.  She came back home from her school and straight went to her mother’s room.  “Mom, I want to go shopping today and tomorrow I want to go to the parlor to get my makeup and hair done according as per the theme.  I want all the girls to be jealous of me.  I want to look my best.  I want to be the most popular girl in my class and school.”

Her mother smiled very proudly and took her shopping.  The dress, shoes, and matching accessories were meant only for one day.  Next day, mom and daughter went to an upmarket salon where Natasha decided that she will get her hair done as per the theme with some highlights, manicure, pedicure, chocolate facial for the “glow”, nail art, and finally the makeup.

When she was done finally, she blew a kiss to herself and her mother was beaming with pride.  She entered the birthday party adjusting her off-shoulder gown and strutting in her 4-inch high heels.  All the other girls looked at her in awe.  That’s exactly what Natasha wanted, the look of appreciation, awe and jealousy in each girl’s eyes.  She said to herself, “No one can stop you from becoming the most beautiful, stylish and popular girl in the school.”

Sounds filmy..isn’t it?  But sadly it is not.  Children as young as 6-7 are “groomed” by their parents.  Just came across a write-up in a popular publication where parents said that “looking good” would make their children confident and popular among peers.

Call me old-fashioned but is that what makes a child popular and confident?  What about the values of sportsman spirit, sharing, helping, being happy and confident in your own skin, not judging anyone on the basis of their caste, looks, complexion, gender, etc.??  Kids as such get bullied in the school.  A plump kid getting teased daily, a dark girl being discriminated, a child from humble background being looked down upon, and many such examples of bullying and discrimination start from the school itself.

Why does an 8-year-old need chocolate facial for relaxation?  Its an age where playing with friends, getting dirty in sand and mud, chatting with friends brings relaxation.  Every stage has its own charm.  Childhood means innocence.  The entire adult life is left to do all the other things.

Times are changing, kids are exposed to a lot of things now.  But as parents we have the responsibility to make them understand what’s right and what’s wrong.  They are kids and would demand everything that they see.  Its we who can tell them about the pros and cons of things that they wish for or see.

Giving emphasis on looks right from a very tender age has adverse effects on the children.  Once in a while pampering is fine but making it a daily ritual is not!  No, I am not being judgmental, I am forced to think as we are raising the next generation!

Think about it!

No medals, no respect for daughters?

 So, India is going gaga over Sakshi and Sindhu winning medals in the Olympics and making our country proud.  Understandably, so..we should be proud of our girls Sakshi, Sindhu, and Dipa who tried hard battling all the biases and lack of infrastructure and bringing glory for our country.  Everybody is now echoing..beti bachao nahin betiyon ne bachaya!!

 

All this set me thinking.  When a Sakshi, Sindhu, Saina, or any other daughter is born someone or the other might have lamented on their birth.  Someone must have remarked, “Beti hui!  Oh..koi baat nahin. Beta hota to achcha tha!”  Isn’t this the comment someone or the other makes when any daughter is born?  May I ask why?  She is an angel whose birth should be rejoiced, be it the first daughter or tenth!!

Why should the government start campaigns like “Beti Bachao, Beti padhao” in the first place?  Doesn’t a daughter have the right to live or to study?  I truly admire parents of Dipa, Sindhu, Sakshi, and such other girls whose parents have supported them unconditionally in their endeavors and encouraged them to shine and achieve something in life.  Along with these girls, their parents have also sacrificed a lot.  Its not easy in a patriarchal society like ours where the parents are forever told to groom their daughters to be “ladylike”, non-aggressive, no desires of their own.  The sole aim of the daughters is supposed to get married to a “good guy” and give birth to children.  Of course, that’s also a part of any woman’s life, but that shouldn’t be the ONLY aim of a woman’s life.  Parents have a big role to play in instilling confidence in their daughters.  They are ones who can tap their daughters’ potential and encourage them to pursue it.

Sadly, still in our country once the daughter turns 20 the standard question is “when will she get married?”  Nobody asks her what she wants to become, what her dreams are!!  There are parents who are rock solid support to their daughters, but still in the 21st Century that percentage is very less.  Nobody is interested in the daughters’ talents!

I wonder the people who are applauding Sindhu, Sakshi and Dipa and going gaga over their victory, will the same set of people encourage their own daughters to pursue their dreams?  Will these shining girls bring down the crime rates against women?  Will these glorious victories stop female foeticide, rapes, dowry, domestic violence?

So..a daughter’s worth is understood only if and when she proves herself.  Why can’t she be simply welcomed and accepted just like that? Why does she have to prove her mettle and worth to the world to get accepted? Beti bachao echoes louder only when a Sakshi or Sindhu win medals, else its just another campaign!

We all girls are full of talent, only majority of us didn’t get a chance to prove it.  Hope these winners become more than front page news, hope the Indian parents welcome their daughters as they are and not wait for 20 odd years to prove themselves..