Published: 23rd August 2018
This children's essay book says a 'modern girl' is 'self-centred and only cares for fashion'
An essay book intended for ICSE, ISC, CBSE school students portrays the modern girl to be someone who is selfish and thinks only about herself
Who's a modern girl? What would be your definition? Oh wait, that actually doesn't matter because here's a textbook that is "intended for I.C.S.E, I.S.C, C.B.S.E Secondary and Higher Secondary School Students" which states that a modern girl is "too selfish to think about others in her family."
Then what does she care about? "Their only interest is to enjoy maximum pleasure out of life."
The book of essays called "Current School Essays and Letters" written by Purabi Chakraborty is meant for 15-16-year-old school children. Someone was wise enough to post images of the essay on social media and it has been doing its rounds for the past few days. You can guess the reactions are nowhere close to positive.
Rema Rajeshwari, an IPS officer from Telangana criticizes the essay and says "As I see it, it's a kind of misinformation intended to mislead young minds, which is very unfortunate. It reinforces the stereotypical projection of empowered women who get educated and chose to work and go out into the world. A proper regulatory mechanism has to be put in place to check what is being taught at educational institutions in this country."
Who is a Modern Girl: A book of essays suggests she is the one who is not ready to confine herself within the four walls of their houses
Rema, we feel you and completely agree with you. In fact, from the first word to the last, almost every sentence is in some way offensive to all women, "modern" or not. We are here to point out the most offensive and outrageous sentences in the essay.
The essay begins like this, "The girl in the modern age is generally very smart, intelligent, conscious and fashionable. This sentence seems to be fine except putting the words 'smart', 'intelligent' along with a word like 'fashionable'. Somehow only when it comes to women, it seems that these words are co-related.
"She is always imitating the male in fashion, ambition, and professional endeavours. She likes to change herself with the changing fashions. She loves to wear jeans, pants and hot pants. The colourful saris have no place in a modern girl's stock of garments."
Bam! The second sentence just does the trick. I can smell patriarchy all over the place. It also continues to propagate the idea that clothes like pants are reflective of "bad values" and reaffirms the idea that women should just stick to wearing saris, Sanskari Bharatiya Nari I tell you.
Well, after the second sentence the entire essay seems to take a steep fall that leads to a series of statements, which all look like jilted accusations towards women.
Things like "She is not ready to confine herself within the four walls of her home. She claims for her rights as she wants to enjoy life like the boys. She is more a self-centred creature than being a loving daughter or sympathetic sister" just make it worse.
Offensive to the core: The essay stoops to a new low in blaming women for everything they do
"She is eager to enjoy life fully so she does not miss any party, cinema show, concert, fashion parade and such outdoor activities. She talks and makes friendship with the boys freely and easily."
Well, hello? "Makes friendship"? No, ma'am, firstly that's terrible grammar and no student should be taught such bad grammar. Also, it reiterates the extremely false notion that women who befriend men are automatically fallen women. Apparently, having a life outside the kitchen is a life plagued by sin.
"She has no time to look after the needs of the other members in her family. She shows no or very little responsibility towards the members of her family. She knows the names of modern, popular fashion designers and the latest items they have launched."
How does being fashionable and being aware of popular designers have anything to do with looking after family members? The author really needs to be reminded of relevance and context.
And it continues "Today, girls are very conscious and alert about her career. They leave no stones unturned. She has no hesitation in talking to men and feels no need to be reserved and shy. Most of the modern girls are indifferent to their duties as a daughter, wife or mother. Their only interest is to enjoy maximum pleasure out of life."
As if accusing a woman of immoral things wasn't enough for the author, the essay towards the end also puts the blame on the girl's parents for her "modern" attitude. "It is true that the parents are partly responsible for the self-centred nature of their daughters. A girl child should be guided on how to behave at home, at school and with others from an early age."