“When I was very young, I used to have long hairs tied in a ponytail, that time my father told me that I am a boy and I should cut my hairs”, shared 12 year old participant.
We had our second session on “Knowing my body” with the boys of Government school, Dwarka sector-3. We were setting up for the workshop, and the participants with infectious bubbling energy stormed into the room. They seemed very curious and excited for the workshop, even though they didn’t know what would be the topic of the workshop? The session began with the energizer “Wolf and the goat” where one of the participant would be the goat standing in the circle, rest would form a den of wolf, the goat has to try and come out of the circle, while the wolf has to stop the goat from coming out of the circle. It worked beautifully where the participants as goats tried many innovative ways to come out of the circle.
After a brief revision of what happened in the last workshop, to the agreements and introduction of what will happen today, the participants were divided into 6 groups. They were invited to share on 3 questions- When did they come to know that they are boy or a girl? How did it feel? And who told them about being a boy or a girl?
“When I was 3 or 4 years old, I used to play with both boys and girls, then only I came to know that I am a boy”
“When I used to play with the dolls, that time my mother told me that I am boy and I shouldn’t be playing with dolls”
“When i was young I used to wear clothes that were worn by girls that time my mother told me that I am a boy and I shouldn’t wear these clothes”
“I used to have both boys and girls as my friends, but my mother told me to play with boys as I am also a boy”
It was interesting to hear that most of the boys didn’t feel different or happy after they came to know about their gender, only 2-3 boys said that they were happy to know about being boy since they can play or do whatever they feel like, contrary to girls who at the same age feel not very good about knowing their gender as they feel their independence is snatched from them!
In the next part of the session, the participants were divided into 5 groups, they were invited to draw body map, name all the organs visible in their body parts and discuss on the questions based on the body changes. It was wonderful and I was stumped to see the dedication and efforts being invested in drawing the body map and naming the body parts. One of the group was very smart, they decided among themselves that 3 of them would engage in body map and other 3 would be discussing and writing the questions- excellent team work!
As I walked past the groups, I could clearly see that they were naming all the body parts except the private parts, so I prompted once, twice and thrice- after a burst of giggles- all the groups drew the private parts accurately. I could clearly see the stark difference in all girls and all boys group!- girls didn’t know the name of their private organ let alone drawing it!
“The things I like about growing up is height, physical strength”
“Beard, height- good things”
“The skin becomes oily, there are pimples on the face, hairs over the body- I don’t like these things about growing up”
“I can’t talk to younger people, the pimples make my face look bad”
We were very happy with the efforts, body map and engagement with the participants. We then talked about Puberty and adolescence- the age of physical, emotional, psychological and societal changes; why these changes happen, what are the body changes that happen, also about wet dreaming boys’ experience!
It was during these 15 minutes, there was pin drop silence, and they were listening with utmost attention.
“Didi, but why are doing these workshops” one of the participants asked after the closure
“Do you only do these workshops or are you part of some organizations”
“We can’t talk about these changes with anyone, not with the teachers, forget about parents, then why are you talking about it?”
Yes, the seed to ask questions has been sown and these young children are bubbling with the questions. I couldn’t be more happy!!