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Sexuality and Disability India

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A group of young girls face forward, some sitting and some standing. A woman at the front reads from a book.

What makes a ‘good girl’?

This is fourth in the series of #sexdis workshops in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). It was held on April 9th at Vivekananda Center, RamaKrishna Ashram Mission for the same participants from yesterday.

We began the session today with a game of ‘passing the cap,’ in which one girl passes a cap from their head to the next girl’s while Nidhi sang songs. She randomly stops singing and the person on whose head the cap is on at that point would have to perform! We also played ‘Laugh at 1, Cry at 2 and Scream at 3,’ an exercise which aimed to incite three basic human emotions of joy, sadness and anger. We wanted to know their stories and share ours. After these fun activities, the trainers from Vanangana divided girls into groups of two. One group worked on qualities of good and bad girls while the other worked on qualities of good and bad boys.

As per the participants, good boys should be respectful of everyone, are obedient, friendly, hygienic and should work and not harass girls or others. According to the group, bad girls are disobedient, wear short dresses, argue and fight with parents, interact unnecessarily with boys, while good girls take care of people and do not indulge in bad habits. The girls are conflicted when asked about their favourite movie heroines, and wonder if they wear skin-coloured suits below the short skirts and dresses they wear. With this, the first session on gender came to an end. It exposed the participants to an understanding of morality, its strong enforcement by themselves and society. It helped them clear their own conceptions of what it means to be moral for a girl and a boy, and made them think about why are these weighed on different scales for boys and girls?