The latest trend surfing online is “square fruits”, yes you read it right, square fruits. These come in hearts and stars too. But if we look closely, much more . than the craziness we can find a striking similarity in these square fruits and the women in our society. In the process of making such flabbergasting fruits, the farmers often take premature ones and put it into a mold and slowly as it grows, the fruits fit into the shape. When it comes to raising a female, our society works in the similar way. Girls are born into a really complicated society. When girl children are young beautiful buds, they have the best curiosity, self-esteem and ambition. But as they grow, all these seem to tarnish and they feel more restricted, judged and start to disbelieve themselves and the opportunities around. Society’s first impact on her can be as early as her puberty period, while she goes through one of the toughest phases, already feeling insecure and anxious. Girls who were confident and brave earlier, suddenly gets determined by the things she should and should not do. In those teenage days when they hear things like, ‘don’t throw like a girl’ or ‘don’t hit like a girl’ they question themselves, is it that shameful to be a girl? When did doing something like a girl become an insult or when did being a girl become an insult? .
On one side these commonly used phrases impact her confidence, but on other side there are more significant issues prevailing in our society which restricts her from taking up the available opportunities, like the lack of support to continue education or to take up a job. According to Times of India, the percentage of female teenagers going to school decreased from 20% to 13.5% in our country and percentage of working women came down to 23.3% in 2017-18, which was 33% in the year 1972-73. These are not just numbers and statistics; these are the crushed and stepped on dreams of many. Another significant issue is female infanticide, which is the deliberate killing of newly born female children. It is argued that the low status in which women are viewed in patriarchal societies creates a bias against females which can be the major cause for female infanticide. If we continue to examine, the list of issues is endless.
So now after reading all these, imagine the state of young girls when they start to assume or rather believe that the society have already decided their future, how they should look like and what all they are permitted to do! These preset standards of “ideal woman” are injected into the minds of young girls which creates difficulty in making their own choices, feeling deserving or capable of. This makes them ashamed of speaking up or prioritizing their own needs or feelings. When 2 sets of girls from two different age groups are asked what they would like to change about their body, the teenagers answered by stating a list of body parts while younger girls wanted a mermaid tail or wings to fly. This makes the difference. The answers give us a clear insight between two different mindsets; a biased, helpless and hampered one and a broad, carefree and imaginative one. For the little ones, ‘run like a girl’ means run like a cheetah, ‘jump like a girl’ means jump up to the sky and ‘fight like a girl’ means fight so powerfully that the jaws of the whole world touch the floor. So, let the fruits be round and the girls unapologetically themselves.