“How did you feel when you first came to know you are a boy?”
“What a question, anybody would feel good being a boy so even I felt great that I am a boy”, shares the participant.
Is it so inherent or obvious that being born as a boy is the best thing? It seemed so when this participant said it for all the boys with such exuberance that for that second, it did look convincing.
The session on “knowing your body” began with the “coin game” energizer followed by brief revision of last session and introduction as to what will happen in next 2 hours. The participants were divided into the groups of 5 where they were invited to discuss over 3 given questions and then share the group’s insight with the larger circle.
“I got admission in the school, I asked my father, with whom I will be studying then he told me that I would be studying along with our neighbor’s son because I am a boy”
“I came to know through my parents and books”
“When I was 5 years old, I was playing with girls, then my friends told me that I am a boy and I should play with boys”
“My grandmother had come from village, at that time we didn’t had phones so she didn’t know that I was born. So while I was taking bath, she said I am a boy”
“When my dad for the first time called me son, then when I went to school which had only boys, also when my dad bought me car then I came to know that I am a boy”
“When I came to know that I am a boy I was very happy because my parents always wanted a boy. Also if I am boy I can grow up and do big things for my country. Considering the discrimination that existed between, boys and girls, I am glad that I am a boy”
“When I was in3 or 4th class, my height increased, voice started becoming heavy that’s when I realized that I am a boy. Also in my family I have one sister. I have seen how mummy asks her to always do household chores and they have no problem with me playing throughout the day”
It was for the first time since our first intervention at My Perch that in the very first activity of Puberty, gender became so predominant, just the mention of the word “Boy” lead to series of gender difference the participants see in their homes, neighborhood and school.
In the next activity, the participants were divided into 3 groups where they were asked to draw the body map, answer 4 questions around growing up and then presenting their discussion and body map in the larger circle. There was so much enthusiasm in choosing one person from the group to drawing his body map, making perfect lines, using right colors, drawing body parts and naming them. While the participants were engrossed in drawing and discussing the questions among themselves, there was so much hesitance and complete ignorance towards mentioning the private part. After giving a hint, all the three group drew the private parts, while 1st group actually hide it with a notebook. But when the time of presentation came by, they were all confident in sharing the body map and the answers.
“The bad part about growing up is we end up thinking about all the wrong things, such as teasing girls, making girlfriends, visiting websites that we are told not to see, using phones, going to friends with drug habits etc”
“When I was young I used to be very naughty nobody used to say anything but now if I do anything naughty I am thrashed by my family”
“If we gain weight or have grown more in height, all the people call us by names like lambhoo, motu etc”
“When we are growing, we have hairs all over the body, on chest, on armpits, on arms, legs and even around private parts which is bad, there is itching, sweat and irritation”
Another interesting part of the body maps was that out of 3, 2 of the groups have actually drawn 6 packs abs hinting the growing influence of body image. When I asked who has the 6 pack abs in the class, no one said yes but many hands rose when I asked who all wants to have them!
This session turned out to be interesting and unique in many ways- not only we talked about body changes that happen in girls and boys bodies, their private parts but also paved the way for our upcoming session on Gender, peer pressure and body image.