The X Files

Born to the sound of rolling drums, though there is no kingdom to inherit. The heir apparent of at least his parents’ fortunes, the son’s birth is followed by an unequalled contentment society cannot duplicate. Women beam with pride, their own gender forgotten and men enjoy a round of boisterous back-slapping camaraderie for having ushered into the world, one more of their own kind, a fitting tribute to their so-called masculinity. Years of social conditioning have resulted in the noun ‘boy’ to serve as a superlative. Supreme joy encompassed in three words- ‘It’s a boy.” Worthless, though he may grow up to be.

A Girl Is Born-

No one said girls are not loved. More loveable, infinitely sweeter than their male counterparts, girls often steal more than their fair share of love, even if they have to work harder at getting it. Loving a daughter cannot be helped, but there is a need to value them more. A girl’s birth is surrounded by hushed whispers of thankfulness towards the Lord, for at least having bestowed a healthy child, of praise to the goddess of wealth (Laxmi) for having replicated her form into the humble home of the girl’s parents. And of course, how incomplete life would have been without the golden opportunity of performing a girl’s ‘kanyadaan’ (literal translation is donating a girl into her husband’s home) at the time of her marriage. In the case of a third or fourth daughter in succession, the female infant in lesser educated societies, is ushered in to the sound of wailing women, heralding near death for the ‘unfortunate’ mother. This from the same women who spend most of their time worshipping goddesses. All barriers of age, caste, creed, sect and boundaries are broken, as the scales tilt in favour of the coveted ‘male’ child.

The Educated Blind-

Though maternity clinics have put up posters explaining the process of conception and how the man is responsible for the ‘sex’ of a child, the information seems to have fallen on conveniently deaf ears. In a superstitious society like ours, women bear the brunt of giving birth time after time to helpless female infants whose gender is blamed entirely on the mother. She is described as a ‘cursed’ woman or one who has bad ‘kismet’ and the misguided take refuge by attacking her ‘karma.’

Boys Will Be Boys-

How come one never hears of ‘girls being girls’ as opposed to ‘boys being boys.’ Often. I’ve heard even well-educated parents proclaim that among their three daughters, the elder is like a ‘son’ to them. Whatever that may mean, it insults all women. Girls don’t have to don overalls and slip under a car to prove their worth. Neither do they have to burn their bras and defy a masculine society by smoking cigarettes. Gone are the days when a successful woman was like one of the boys or who could think like a man. Let us women be! Beautiful, charming, feminine and successful not in spite of being women but as women.

Bring In the New Age-

Each child is special. Boys don’t spend a lifetime proving it. Girls do. But self-awareness and education may help in shedding these ideas held by women from all walks of life. If only they appreciate themselves, they will in turn feel the same towards their daughters. Being born a man is not a higher birth. Just a different one. No self-respecting and well-informed woman should make bearing a male child her goal. Gender is what nature sets for us. Goals are what we must set for ourselves.

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