Being a Netflix junkie, series and serials are a part of my everyday life. Yesterday, as I sat through ‘Madam Secretary‘ Netflix marathon, a thought popped in. I said it in my mind and repeated it out loud. We need female role models in our everyday life and in everything we do and watch. Why? you ask. I’ll tell you.
Then and Now
The feminist movement sure has changed many a things, that we often refuse to acknowledge. The mindsets have evolved and women speak up a lot more for their rights, needs and wants. The social stigma of the need to segregate work, behaviors based on gender is changing, but still has a long way to go. We have women in leadership roles in companies, politics and hear the strong voice of women who refuse to be suppressed nomore. Yet, how often do we hear the comments, ‘It’s a woman’s job!’ ‘Don’t behave like a girl’
I wonder if anything has changed at all. The society still screams at everyone who is trying to break the gender norms, refusing to accept gender equality as a standard. Back then, it was rampant, where men were meant to go to work and women to take care of homes. But now, it is more on individual perspectives and their choices. Yet, we constantly hear, how the generation now has no respect for the society.
It doesn’t seize to surprise me when the toddlers tell me, ‘it’s a girlie behavior or color or dress’. Does the conditioning start young? Is the only way to change it is by watching what we say and do in front of these little ones?
We Need More Female Role Models
Girls as young as 3 years are conscious about their looks. The clothes they wear, the color and the obsession on make up. Yes, they learn from their parents, but they also learn from their peers and the surroundings that encourages or discourages them on this. From the clothes to the toys to the games, everything in our society is gender categorized. A boy is never encouraged to get a doll and the girl is never bought a gun for a toy. Why so?
The need for female role models, is not just beneficial to girls but to the young boys alike. The more they see women working, leading and having a voice, the more they will think that is how things are. I feel empowered when I see the protagonists in Madam Secretary take the lead and solve world problems. It feels even more great to see her husband and family not creating a fuss of her not doing womanly work at home!
Girls will also be influenced, when they watch serials that show, what she could be capable of and need not be just limited to a marriage and kids. The working mothers, the stay at home moms who insist on their husbands doing homework are everyday female role models. Even that sister who went out and choose a career instead of marriage, is also a role model.
What if, these were different?
I wonder if Chota Bheem was actually about Chutki and her super powers. Chutki, who was not scared and called Bheem and friends to help, but took care of her own self and others alike. Chutki, who wasn’t weak.
If the Indian Saas Bahu saga were actually about women helping eachother get ahead in life. If we had serials that showed women working to grow in their career and not to find love, have a husband and be a good bahu?
What if toys were made and sold as suitable for both girls and boys based on their choice? Barbie is a superhero, a scientist, a doctor instead of the one who needs her clothes changed and hair combed.
What if cooking shows had more men urging even more men to cook? What if we had more female role models who showed the kids, the life is about being more human?
Would there be less sexism? Less assualt on women? Would boys grow up to be men who felt women were their equal and hence deserve all the respect?
The questions are many, but the answer is in our thoughts.
How are you bringing up your kid? Does he/she have a female role model?