The first book you probably read in your life was a fairytale – the typical damsel in distress narrative with a prince who walks in and rescues the female protagonist. Ever since, we grew up believing in a painted world, which was very different from our reality. The books we read, the movies we watched, it all set an unrealistic standard that could never be met in real life. Being beautiful (and fair), finding the perfect-looking, kind-hearted man and then living happily ever after – we fell in love with the idea of love. Instead of defining ‘love’ on our own terms, we let pop culture decide it for us. And if we didn’t fit into this so-called idea of love, our brains tricked us into believing what we deserved and what we didn’t, according to these set standards.
Our education system fed us the same old, typical lessons that generations have been taught, without ever taking into consideration an ever-evolving world. Let’s face reality for a minute – it’s the 21st century, and we don’t live in an ideal world. Then why do we want our children to grow up with unrealistic expectations that we know will eventually shatter their beliefs?
Why are so many people asking why this woman didn’t leave & so few asking why he didn’t stop?
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 16, 2018
With the #MeToo campaign taking over the world, the feminist movement is more aggressive than it ever was. With the Aziz Ansari incident, we have now come to understand the thin line between consensual and non-consensual sex. With Oprah becoming the first black woman to win the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globes Award, the time is now more than ever to teach our children what this world is about at face value, instead of painting an ideal.
What Are The Things We Can Teach Children About:
1. Teach them to take permission, when it involves, touching fellow playmate.
2. If the playmate says, “No”, tell them to respect their decision.
3. Create empathy by teaching them about certain deeds that might have hurt someone else and how to redeem oneself thereon.
4. Teach them the meaning of words like – ‘No’ and ‘Stop’.
5. Talk to them about body language and how to assess if someone is uncomfortable without them actually saying it loud.
1. First things first, tell them that feminism means equality.
2. Talk to them about body positivity and that it’s okay to be comfortable in your skin.
3. Teach them to respect all genders.
4. It’s important for the kids to know that gender doesn’t define their being.
5. Be careful and avoid using gender stereotypes, especially in front of your children.
1. Teach them how a person’s skin colour and background doesn’t define their status in the society.
2. Stop them from using racist slang words.
3. Talk to them about uniformity and how it’s important to treat everyone equally.
4. Tell them it’s not okay to make racist jokes, explain what racist jokes are and how they might hurt someone else’s sentiments.
5. Tell them to stand up for what’s right if they see anyone else involving in racist activities.
Now of course, it’s easier said than done. Though education starts at home, sometimes it’s tough for parents to explain the complexities of the evil perils in our society. But guess what? We might just be headed in the right direction.
The Irrelevant Project
To our good luck, we can now actually let our children grow up with storybooks that are based on issues like feminism, consent and much more. All thanks to The Irrelevant Project (TIP). Founded in 2016 by Meghna Chaudhury and Alishya Almeida, this project aims to create content for kids that’s free from the stereotypes we find in all kinds of books for children. Instead of perpetuating different biases like gender, class, caste, religion etc., which children practice as a part of learned behaviour, the content created by TIP questions the stereotypes existing in our society.
Currently, they have five storybooks that are centered around different topics of prejudice for age groups 6 – 8.
The Need Of The Hour
Initiatives like TIP are the need of the hour. According to TIP, this project began with the simple, yet challenging aim of reducing stereotypes in multiple learning realms. It enables our future generations to resist the script of biases by developing awareness and critical thinking in them, through the medium of fiction.
To be honest, we need more projects and initiatives like these, where we actively promote teaching our children about the actual, real issues in life. How many times was there someone in your school to talk to you about the bullying you were facing, how many times did you hide your period stain and died with embarrassment, how many times those maths classes helped you do your taxes – practically never? But the question is whether or not we are ready to break the same old schooling system and bring about a change. If we take the plunge, this world will be a better place for our future generations. The Irrelevant Project is bringing a revolution. Are you ready to be a part of it?
News credit : Indiatimes