Personal

When Malala Met Emma


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I admit I got myself into a tizzy over a short Watsapp forward in my school group. It was meant as a celebration of girl children. And it said some typically well-meaning but ill-articulated thoughts about how girls are as good as and even better than boys (including such gems as “1 girl is equal to 10 boys”). I should have let it pass. After all, its motives were faultless. However, as mum to two boys, I couldn’t. Instead I sent a reply to the group that I found it offensive (strong word where a ‘I am bothered’ would have sufficed).

I began wondering why I found it so, was it because in general I found such lip service to the cause of equality damaging to the genuine fights that people undertake? Or was it the general attitude of ‘we can belittle boys, they can take it’? Perhaps it is both. After all, girls are discriminated against much more than boys. And such pearls of wisdom exhorting people to treat their daughters on par with their sons are sadly necessary.

I am married to a man who’s proud to call himself a feminist. My boys are raised in a household where their parents are on an equal footing and know no different. Sadly that is not quite so in several other households. Even today, the birth of a girl child is greeted with dismay while boys are welcomed with joy in several parts of the world. I remember being relieved when my first son was born as I knew that I would not be under pressure from others to beget a son or have to constantly apologise for or defend my daughters.

But how do such rhetoric-spewing messages and pointless ‘Celebrate Your Daughter’ week (the forwarded message was sent as part of it) help? They are empty exercises that really mean very little. And frankly, the equating of ten boys to one girls is at best facetious. Because we all know, girls are equal. No more and no less to the boys they are always compared against.

(Do please watch the video above to see two fantastic young women being utterly brilliant and if you must forward something, forward that.)

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