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We and the children. let’s be honest

We, Armenians love to talk about our special attitude towards children… But is it fair to talk about it if at the same time we have to fight against such a shameful act as prenatal sex selection? 1400 և more girls are born…


It is possible to analyze for a long time the reasons for discrimination against girls who have not yet been given birth, to talk about the historical past, wars, but it is difficult to justify the spread of vicious morals when one sex is subordinate to another, when deprived of the right to life only because she is a girl. Yes, it is difficult to break the norms of custom, but we need to change, there is simply no other way, we must finally move forward, not backwards.


How many girls are there around you born with great of their parents to be “boys”? Ask, there are many. Many Armenian families perceive the child as their continuation, while the daughter will go to someone else’s house as a bride, the child will not have a surname, there are fathers who do not inherit property to their daughters, what if the son-in-law does not deserve it. I knew a family where the father of a first-born baby girl was not shaved for 40 days as a sign of mourning.


What do we teach girls?


In a letter to his daughter Sophie in 1914, Armenian writer and publicist Zabel Yesayan urges her not to be afraid of pretending to be ambitious, advising her to be brave, strong. And today, 100 years later, what do we teach?


“Behave like a girl.” And what is it? How do children learn to be a girl? Maybe from Armenian TV series, where the girl is necessarily unhappy, is a victim, whose only, exclusive and absolute goal is marriage, to learn to be a girl, they learn from fairy tales, like, for example, “Cinderella”, where again the only chance for the girl’s happiness is that the prince will choose her.


“Being a Girl” is also taught in music videos, which mainly alienate a woman’s body, and are taught in schools while performing gender roles. They also learn what a girl’s appearance should look like, with her accentuated lips, her operated nose, and some imaginative beauty standards. You can learn, work, create, but not so much going far from your destiny, being a woman and a mother. The vast majority of media teaches women to obey, to be obedient, modest, meek, not to defend themselves. The Armenian society also emphasizes the standards of external beauty, and if one of them does not correspond to it, she can, of course, feel very unhappy.


But it’s not just girls who have the problem. After all, all discrimination has side effects. The special attitude towards boys also brings such responsibilities, such perceptions of masculinity that often do not come from the interests of the same boys.


The same soap operas teach boys to be tyrants, and the worst insult is to compare them with a girl from an early age. “Aren you a girl, why are you crying?”․ “What kind of man are you that you can’t ensure living expenses for  your family?”, thus putting the man, who was so cherished at a young age, under serious responsibility. Many boys are simply not able to cope with this responsibility, later becoming aggressive to the world. Because of that great love, many boys are just lost in the big picture, facing reality.


And why not teach girls that they should also have responsibilities, that they should study not for  “marriage” but for having financial independence, to work not  “for fun”, but to really work, to succeed, to contribute to the well-being of their family? Why teach girls that they should be “kept”, why not teach them not to wait in the castle for the prince to come and save them from their 7-headed monster, why not teach them that they too can defeat those 7-headed monsters?


Only love is not enough


It is not enough to love a child – all violent parents, even those who take the lives of their children, those who leave, all claim to love their children. In fact, they really love, but in their own way, so it is natural to love a child, that in addition to loving, he/she should be respected, approached as an individual, protected, directed, allowed to remain a child, not to approach the child as property. Don’t put too much pressure on them with love, care, and help them fly, even if they want to fly far away.


We often do not realize that many manifestations of love put pressure on the child, turn into psychological violence, after which, in adulthood, many do not even get rid of it, parents must realize that the child is an individual, has a separate life from the parent, is a human being regardless of his or her gender, and it is his or her  respecting, protecting, and exercise the child’s rights are also expressions of love towards him/her.


Mariam Mughdusyan

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