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Values & Education

Hidden Sexist Messages

Yesterday my younger son and I were sitting in a swanky outlet having coffee when a young woman wearing a skimpy outfit which showcased her gorgeous legs sashayed past us. Given the recent headlines, I really wanted to know how he reacted.


He stopped mid-sentence, his eyes followed her, but then he resumed our conversation.

He did not think about raping her.  He did not think she was “asking for it.”

Sure he admired her, but that was it.

That is how normal young men behave.

A long time ago, when my younger son was still in school we went to see an immensely forgettable movie called Drona.

Why do I remember it?

Because of the conversation between both my sons, when we walked out of the movie hall

Kid#1 : This movie should have been called Rona instead of Drona.  Abhishek keeps feeling sorry for himself.

Kid#2 : (in tones of deep distaste) Abhishek was playing the role of Priyanka’s wife!

(Note to self : Lady you have given birth to a chauvinist pig, kick yourself)

Am I sexist?

I think not. I ensured that my sons know how to cook, dust the house and even wash dishes. I also kicked them in the butt if I felt they did not respect their women friends.

But somehow they imbibe certain attitudes from the society at large.

That is where parents step in. There are hidden chauvinistic messages at large. My uncle (aged 80+) was sitting next to me and he wanted something checked out on the net. I offered to do so, but he insisted I call his son, who was in Bangkok and confirm.


Because I lack the requisite Y chromosome.

I think we should stop treating male kids like they are little princes. We need to kick them in the butt, get them to do chores around the house and every now and then, bring them down a peg or two.

And tell them that women are people too, and they need to be respected.

We have to do our little bit to avoid sexism that is rampant in our society.

Ritu Lalit is the author of two novels, A Bowlful of Butterflies published by Rupa & Co., and Hilawi published by Popular Prakashan.  She is a single parent and blogs at