If it is a girl, do not make her wear any jewellery as long as she does not reach the age where she has to observe purdah. This is because this will pose a danger to her life. The other reason is that it is not a good habit to create a love for jewellery in a girl’s mind when she is still so young.

If it is a boy, incline him towards wearing white clothes and create a dislike in his heart for colourful and gaudy clothing by telling him that such clothes are worn by women and that he is a man. You should always teach him in this way.

Emphasize on the girls to check the jewellery that they are wearing before they go to sleep and once they wake up the following morning.

You should order the girls to watch attentively at the cooking, sewing, threading, dying, and all the other work that is carried out at home so that they will also learn these things.

These are some of the recommendations with regards to raising children -I think its an excerpt from the infamous Beshti Zewar (Heavenly Ornaments) which I dislike for various reasons which were stated fleetingly over at Achelois. However this chap here seems to view Thanvi’s book as a modernist text – in that it teaches the woman how to “self-regulate” in order to achieve her fullest in all sphere’s of life, right to the tiniest aspect. Can I anticipate a guidebook text for men also? And not just a vague reference to emulating the Prophet (saw)? After all we all require a bit of “self-help”, regardless of gender.

Anyway, I digress. In its defence most of the tips are sound and “common sense” but the above snippets I found amusing and I’m sure most would agree are tinged with cultural outlook on gender roles. If my boy likes pink and wants to wear pink, then he shall be allowed to – its a colour as any other. If my girl wants to play with toy trucks and not dolls, then she can play with whatever pleases her heart. Any other way of treating your kids (instill “manly traits” in your son and “feminine traits” in your daughter by doing x, y, and z) is complete nonsense.

I dont view independent, loud and assertive women as being “manly”, nor do I see sensitive and gentle men as “girly”. Reams of psychological research will point out to gender socialisation and that it occurs at an early age by assigning specific colours to boys/girls and toys also. Its natural and parents play a role and part in “moulding” their children into the adults they wish them to be. But ultimately what is innate and in their wee nature comes to fruition, and these good and desirable traits should be noted and nurtured as opposed to being disregarded and belittled.

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