Ma’am, I don’t want to go to the sports class. I am not feeling well. Ma’am my stomach is aching.
Ma’am, I can’t go today, it’s my periods and the doctor has told me I can’t. I am sorry. Can you please tell sir I won’t play today.
Hello and welcome to Musings of a MasterNi, I am Minal Desai and here I share with you a medley of my unique experiences shaped by students teachers and life in general.
So, have you seen a standard PE class in grade 6/7 and above? You know it is the boys who will usually play in the session and a few of the girls will always have some of the other reasons and standing in the corner. The standard reason is usually, of course, the periods, cramps, I am not feeling well, my stomach is aching and all that. This is endemic to almost all Indian schools particularly.
If you see how the play happens in the younger ages it is very interesting. When they are in pre-primary all the way up to grade 2 they tend to play together. By the time they come to grades 3,4, 5 they realise there is a separate play, there is gender-based play but the girls are still playing. By the time they hit grades 6,7,8 somehow, they become more aware of their bodies or I don’t know what kicks in, whether it is Bollywood or whether it is the doting parents who don’t want scraped knees for their daughters or what. I really don’t know what it is but the girls stop playing and it is sad to see this.
It is not playing and hence they are disrespecting the PE teacher but when girls choose not to play, they choose not to take risks. They choose to stand aside or whatever is happening in the game. They choose to be spectators. And this then also plays out on a larger scale in society. Whether you and I like it or not all of us know that all the way in the schooling life the girls tend to do much better in academics but when it comes to work-life somehow they take a back seat. I don’t have any data or correlation that I can make but I know that if girls play more sports they would be more enthusiastic about taking charge and standing in the middle of mayhem and saying that I am not giving up. Maybe that grit is what they do not have.
Then there is, of course, the quandary of the PE teacher. Usually, the PR teachers are male teachers. For them to force a girl child into saying nothing happening you got to play is going to be difficult. At Least given in the times that we live in where our trust in males, teachers is so low that we cannot accept it. How does that teacher get that child to play? Can they learn to inspire them? Yes, they can try a lot of things but at the end of the day, it has to come from society. When we start valuing our female player, that is when our girls learn to play.
So maybe the problem is not just at the school level it is just exemplified at the school level or may be amplified at the school level but it exists somewhere deep down.
So what is your take on the play? Have you seen girls stand aside in the PE class quoting all sorts of reasons? Have you done that? Have you seen your daughter do that? And what do you think you could do about it? Do you think something needs to be done about that? If you believe it is then please do share your views with me.