The downside of being a stay-at-home mom is that you miss out on catching the trends. Like general news, viral news, treading stuff, things like that. By the time I get to know about particular news or trend, it has already become stale. So, I got to know about this entire Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul’s stint on the Koffee with Karan late. I don’t have a television set at home so I had to do a Google search to know what exactly happened and realized that the digital lynching of the duo is justified but not sure if it is enough to drill sense into their newly-found-fame-soaked brains.
Of course, I don’t want to keep repeating how misogynist, distasteful and disgusting they have been on the show, the masses, by and large, have done that for them. But there is something else that has been nudging me for long after watching the show online, something that I needed to get out from within.
First, I want to shout out to all new age mothers out there, especially mothers of sons and say Thank You. Thank you, because I know you are trying hard to raise a man of character staying amidst this patriarchal society soaked in misogyny. I know this because I am also a mother to a son. It is not easy to bring up a feminist son in the age of #MeToo and rampant Nirbhayas happening in every nook and corner of the country. In fact, raising a son in today’s toxic masculine environment has become more challenging than raising a daughter. You can tell your daughter to fight misogyny. But how do you tell your son to undo it or be sure that he grows up without having any prejudice for women, there are far fewer role models in the society to look up to. So, you get my point, raising a son with character is increasingly difficult in this day and age.
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) January 9, 2019
But we are trying, in fact, trying hard to teach gender equality, respect, and parity. In this era of #MeToo mothers are trying to break the conventional parenting ways and teaching kids (read sons) the basic human value – respect – while shunning male-privilege parenting that has become an integral part of the Indian culture. And while doing this when we see a Hardik Pandya objectifying women, talking crass about them on national television, mistakenly thinking of himself as a Greek God, we cringe as we fear that all our efforts are now going to go down the drain. Because Mr. Pandya is definitely not setting the right example on those young impressionable minds who follow him. Mr. Pandya probably forgot that it is not just about cricket, being a good human being also matters. Correct me if I am wrong, Mr. Pandya. As a public figure, you should have been careful before mouthing that crass. But then it still can’t change the fact about what Pandya thinks what he thinks about women – mortal being brought into this world for his entertainment (how they move).
Now, I am nobody to question Mr Pandya’s upbringing or his parents’ parenting style. I have watched many of his interviews where he spoke how his parents have sacrificed so much for him and their contribution in his life. Nobody can deny that because before the world starts believing in your abilities it is your parents who put their faith in you to get going. It is the same with parents everywhere even if their kids are not cricketers. But in an attempt to make his parents look ‘cool’ he made the entire thing uncool. Surely not something any parent will be happy about.
When it comes to parenting I am a naive parent who tries hard to be a better parent than she was yesterday and fails miserably every day. But I too want to be a cool parent. And I know being a cool parent is not easy. Cool parenting means building character rather than encouraging chauvinism, cool parenting is being accountable for your son’s mistake and standing by him while he takes responsibility for his misdoings, cool parenting also means teaching him how to respect women of all age and race, teaching the concept of consent and behavioral skills so he can make a woman feel comfortable in his company. Cool parents also know how to encourage their sons to take the lead and also to teach them where to draw the line. Cool parents also tell their sons how to channelize their instincts. You see, it is too much of work. And I see mothers trying hard to teach these virtues to their sons.
I am sure cool parenting is not about being proud of your son who is dating three, four or five women together. Unless, of course, your son does not mean any kind of harm to the women in question, have been transparent enough about his relationship status with them. The last thing any parent would want from a son is he being responsible for a woman’s unhappiness or shattered dreams or a wrecked life. But Indian parents are good at covering their sons’ misdeeds too. But believe me, deep down they know they are gravely wrong. And to break free from the shackles of guilt-parenting, mothers these days are trying hard to teach their sons what is right and wrong when it comes to dealing with women.
You know Mr. Pandya why you became the face of toxic masculinity overnight? Because you have been living in the bubble of male privilege which probably nobody taught you to break free. This has nothing to do with just parenting and one’s upbringing but the society at large is also to be blamed. Our society is largely loving and forgiving towards a male child strict and stern with female children. This is the reason why Indian parenting is flawed. This male bias sweeps into our homes silently and most parents start practicing male privilege parenting, albeit unknowingly. And very loosely attribute their son’s wrongdoings by merely saying – woh ladka hai na. So, more often than not the son grows up to be a toxic man child, the likes of which we meet often at boardrooms, bus stops dating sites and sometimes on a show like Koffee with Karan. While the girl grows up to be a lone warrior receiving more bruises than needed while fighting her battles and most of the times she isn’t there to tell her tale (but that is a different story).
And yes Mr. Pandya most Indian women obsess over this Tall Dark Handsome themed men but having a dark skin tone still don’t give you the license to objectify them or treat them as sources of entertainment. I know how much of talking a mother of a tween or teen boy have to do with her son after he has watched the show. Your apology also sounds so half-hearted you still don’t understand the damage you have done. You mentioned you got carried away it is like most men saying they mistreated, misbehaved, molested or did the worse to a woman because they were under the influence of alcohol. Your apology sounds that lame.
But you know what most new age mothers who are trying to bring up feminist sons can tell you this that we are hoping that the next generation just don’t end up with fine cricketers but fine human beings too and women are not objectified and thought of as just a medium of entertainment.