Nation of Beancounters

Learning about sex

Posted in Gender, Indian Culture by Navin Kumar on January 22, 2013

In UP:

At some point, feeling a little uncomfortable with all this talk of sex and violence, I went up to my mother and told her everything I’d learnt from my school friends. This set her alarm bells ringing. Worried that I might be getting it all wrong, she set about doing some course-correction. She showed me pictures in Derek Llewellyn Jones classic Everywoman and explained the nitty-gritty. She also decided that the best way to counter sex education East-UP style was to inject some French feminism into my schoolboy imagination – she lent me her copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex.

… The book had an astonishing effect. The pendulum swung the other way. I’d been conditioned to look at girls as ‘chinars’. Now I stopped looking at them at all. Staring at pubescent girls was an act of violation. I didn’t want to be part of it. In fact, it wasn’t until I went to college that I figured that there was also a way of looking at girls that was okay. No wonder I didn’t have a girlfriend until then. I mean, to catch a girl’s attention, one’s got to make eye contact!

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