Football Doesn’t Judge You By Your Gender

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The ground was dusty and the scorching heat was unbearable. The stands at the ground, with coolers installed, were still a better place to sit and wait for the practice to get over. While the June sun was killing us, there were a few who didn’t seem to be bothered about it. Among those few was my 4 year old daughter. With her jersey wet in sweat and the braid at the verge of opening, she looked every bit of her cousin who is a state level football player.

Our daughter was about to turn 3.6 years in a few days when we knew that it was the time that we had to figure out her interest. We started exploring different hobby classes to find out her area of interest and it was after 7 different classes that we found her love for football. It took her a few days to understand the game and her formal training began. The journey so far was great but full of n-number of comments, suggestions and stereotype remarks. I and my husband were often suggested to enroll Kyara in some music or dance class; for according to them football was a non-feminine game. “What if she gets a permanent mark on her face?” Or “Her body will not look gentle, delicate or feminine as it should be” Or “there is no future for girls in this game” and what not. I have heard tons of such comments & questions from the people around me. These 6 months of her football classes taught her the game and taught me a lesson. We are about to enter the year 2020 and yet haven’t been able to brake the gender stereotype in our country. Children are born into the world the same way. It’s how they are raised that makes all the difference. I still find mothers instructing their sons to not cry as a girl; to not play with a doll or a kitchen set; that household chores are not to be taken up by you. It’s high time that we as parents start making our kids realize that a males can be caring, sensitive and nurturing while females can be tough, competitive and strong. A girl is not supposed to be raised to sit by the window and wait for her “prince charming” and a boy shouldn’t be considered as you “Budhape ka sahara” (you support for old age). Shouldn’t a child, girl or boy, be raised to enjoy this beautiful journey called life? And to assure that we first need to figure-out the problem. And the problem does not lie in the society, the problem lies within us. When the IN-equality in the home between daughter and son is so obvious, how can we expect this young girl to grow into a woman that is self-assured, and capable and able to handle what life throws her way? A boy is never expected to enter a kitchen and cook a meal, why? In fact take our latest songs for that matter. Almost all the songs and videos these days portrait as if a women just run around men with money and power. Certainly, there are issues that arise solely with each gender that parents raise. But raising daughters out of fear and curtailing their world around fears and dated beliefs that girls need to be protected all the time is a waste of time. And it is an unhealthy way for parents to raise their daughters and even sons who end up considering every girl as weak. Every parent needs to trust in the fact that they have raised each of their children to the best of their ability, and that they have instilled beliefs and morals that will impact their choices. The day you find out that you are going to embrace a new life, that is the time you should promise to yourself and to the new life budding inside you that no matter what comes your way, you’ll always raise him or her to be strong yet respectful towards others. I still remember holding a positive strip of Mankind’s PregaNews , which is India’s leading Pregnancy Detection Card ,in my hand and making this promise to the life budding in me for I totally believe that when you trust in your parenting, you trust in your child and the world becomes a better place to live in.

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