This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Siva Shankar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Indian Society Doesn’t Need “Innocent” Mothers

More from Siva Shankar

Recently I came across a post on Instagram on Mothers Day. Also, some of my friends had this as their WhatsApp status on Mothers Day.

The post I came across.

Nowadays, memes circulating on social media are important for two reasons:

  • Memes are a representation of people sharing similar ideology, thoughts, beliefs, etc.
  • They can easily influence young minds, as today, social media emerged as the biggest source of information for youths.

Being Innocent

The post talks about the present generation of innocent mothers. Before looking into the issue in the meme, let’s understand the term innocent.

The word takes a different meaning in different senses. For example, a person is referred to as innocent in a legal sense if they are free of guilt. But in everyday usage, the term has a different meaning. We usually refer to one as innocent if they lack knowledge or awareness about something.

But nowadays, many people prefer to be called innocent because of the misconception that this makes them genuine in the eyes of others. So the post tries to impose its own ideology/conception of being innocent on others.

We need not feel proud of being innocent. We have been called so because we might have lacked sense/awareness about something.

Coming back to the post, the creator here uses the word innocent in the same misconception. In a broader sense, the post wants the present generation mothers restricted from using technology to remain innocent forever.

(Any further reference of the word innocent/innocence in the article does not mean it in the legal sense, but in the sense it was used in the post).

Technology is for All

It is important to understand that using technology by itself doesn’t make one lose their own genuineness. Technology today is an inevitable necessity, and it also democratised society by giving scope for everyone to utilise it as they wish. Every mother had the choice of using technology as her wish. No one has the right to impose one’s ideology of being innocent on someone else.

A survey conducted in 2020 by Plan International, an NGO, found that 58% of young females on social media faced harassments or abuse. The presumption of the character of a woman using social media platforms by the people forms the basis for these harassments. A post of this kind that wants women to be innocent by not using technology further reinforces the culture of character assassination of those women who use social media platforms.

women
Representative Image.

As per the India Internet Report 2019, the female internet user population in the country is half of the male Internet users, and this bias is more evident in rural India. So this clearly says that women in Indian society even today cannot use the internet by their own choice. Instead, they have to accept the social construct.

Unscientific Limitation of Resources

The post says that innocent mothers can live happily with limited sources. Everyone in society has to live with limited resources. So in this sense, mothers too need to live with limited resources.

But understanding what makes the resources limited to them is important. Nature and ethics behind redistribution of resources are the principal factors that can justify the limitation of resources. But in this case, the resources are limited based on gender and the social construction of womanhood, which is unscientific.

The post uses the words “She doesn’t have……”. But the reality is that she has been restricted from using it and biased ideologies have been imposed on her.

Denial of Existence

The post says that if a mother doesn’t know her birthday, she is innocent. If I was aware of my birthday, it means that I found it in my relevant documents (atleast the birth certificate) or heard it from my parents, etc. So if my mother doesn’t know her birthday, it means that she has been denied her existence and education in society. So there is nothing to feel proud about. Rather, society should feel ashamed for doing this to her.

Then finally, it’s not true that your mother doesn’t expect birthday surprises. The truth is that she doesn’t have the scope to expect surprises and was often left with little time in her life for celebrations.

Also, she doesn’t ask for surprises, not because she is “innocent”, but she knows that birthday celebrations will make any difference to her life.

So my point here is simple: “We don’t need innocent Mothers because innocence was a house built with biased bricks.”

Created by Siva Shankar

How will you react if your mother asks you to teach her on how to use Instagram?

You must be to comment.

More from Siva Shankar

Similar Posts

By Debarati Sen

By Priyanka Shawarma

By India Development Review (IDR)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below