It will happen anyway!
Depriving children of Wi-Fi, Smart phones, Co-ed education in schools will not stop them from developing tendencies of puberty and wondering what sexuality is. They will grow up mentally and physically, regardless of how many restrictions parents put on them. Even if we put child locks on the internet and change channels quickly when sex scenes come on television or restrict them from talking to the opposite sex, they won’t remain clueless about sex. This kind of deprivation only increases a child’s curiosity and pushes them to believe that talking about sex is a taboo. If parents treat it as a part of life, it will not be a thing to hoot or be ashamed about. It will be a part of life and children will more easily accept the changes in their body as they come. They will understand what’s happening to their body when they blush at the sight of attractive actors and actresses and will not freak out when they get a boner or feel something down under.
There will be no walk of shame when boys don’t get a mustache at 12 and when girls don’t have their period at 14. They will have full medical knowledge about what will happen to their bodies both physically and emotionally. The parents will be their confidantes and any medical mishap will be prevented when the children can talk openly about anything with them. If they don’t know what STDs are, they will not comprehend the dangers of unprotected sex and when they notice acne in their private parts, they may push it off and might not even discuss it with their parents. Stopping your children from understanding sexuality as a part of life might be a way for parents to fit in with society but it has terrible repercussions in the future which are not limited to unwanted pregnancies and miscarriages in the school bathrooms. By making their children informed individuals who know how to control urges and understand the true meaning of consent makes a parent a progressive citizen who truly made the future better.
I agree that parents want to protect their children from pornography because it can instill heightened expectations about pleasure from sex as well as acceptable body shapes. But sex education is very important and some children learn better through visuals and in 2018 where children who are barely 3 months are glued to YouTube cartoon videos, have developed a need to see things work out practically in front of them on in a hands-on or technological environment to learn from it. Hence responsible activities such as showing the use of a condom or birth control patch or using video such as one from BBC on consent ‘Do you want tea?’ can be revolutionizing for the newer generation. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at first to have those conversations but you know you are successful when your children discuss their crushes with you, or decide responsibly when it is the right time for them to have sex. Information is power and responsible decision making is the aim.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research is emphasizing on a gender transformative culture in family and society. In essence, gender transformation focuses not only on women for empowerment, but for also works towards liberating men and boys from toxic masculinity. Liberation of both the genders from toxic and regressive stereotypes will make the society more sensitive, empathetic and inclusive of all genders, sexual identities and orientation. This blog emphasizes on the importance of inculcating gender sensitization from childhood in families so that it leads to a generation which is more gender progressive.
About the Author
Nandini Agarwal is majoring in Finance and Accounting at the University of South Florida where she is actively involved on campus and in the Tampa Bay community. Nandini has lived in New Delhi, India for sixteen years and she is back in the city to intern with CSR as she is pursuing an undergraduate research project on the impediments that women face in India to become financially aware and independent.