The first time that I came across the ‘Bois (boys) Locker Room’ incident, I was horrified! My second reaction was, “Well, that’s not surprising!”. In a country (and probably the world) where misogyny is a way of life by way of culture and heritage, it is really not hard to believe that teenage boys from influential schools think so degradingly of women. It is easy to claim that these kids have not been brought up well (despite the fact that they come from wealthy families), it is easier to blame everything on the society, which has also been my usual response as well. But now that I am mother to a son, such incidents have started having deeper impact on me.
- Girls are not your personal property. In fact, any individual, other than your own self, is not your property – not your parents, not your partner, not your spouse, not even your kids! So you have no right to make choices for them nor do you get to judge how they choose to live their life. You always need to respect them, even if they are different than you.
- Girls don’t owe you s**t – even if they are in a relationship with you. They do not owe you their bodies, they do not owe you their beliefs, they do not owe you their intellect, neither their past nor their future. Any part of themselves they choose to share with you is entirely up to THEM and they will always be the rightful owner of it – be it their body or any representation of it. Never you! If something bothers you in this respect, you are always free to talk about it to them or choose to end the relation if your understandings do not match. But nothing, I repeat, NOTHING entitles you to any part of her body, mind or soul. And that is why there can be no place in your relationship for any kind of coercion, violence, blackmail, disregard or breach of trust.
- How a girl chooses to dress does not define her character. How you choose to perceive her or speak about her definitely defines yours. Choose wisely.
- Jokes about sexual assault are JUST NOT DONE! EVER! Neither are threats.
- NOTHING can justify violence, ever! Period.
- Sexism is not cool. Misogyny is not cool. Patriarchy is not cool. What is cool is that you understand the meaning of these terms and live a life in which these systems are not a part of your personality, beliefs or vocabulary.
- It is alright if you don’t end up successful in your life, it is alright if you do not end up as brave or wise or kind as I wish for you to be. What I sincerely hope you do not turn out to be, is a spineless jackass with a dick. Be anything in life but THAT.
Peer pressure is ugly. To give into it is easy and uglier. When the pressure you face is opposed to your value system, no matter how difficult it feels, always stand up against it. Your so-called ‘friends’ will not remain in your life forever but your conscience will. When things get more overwhelming than you can handle, I hope you always come and find me, or anyone else you can trust. If you don’t find that person in your circle of trust, always, always seek a therapist to talk it out. No shame in that, ever!