In the quest to have a boy child against ancestral, social, economical and religious backdrops, couple would keep on procreating children until they have a boy child. Despite of all the attempts made, if they have only girl children born, imbued with the desire to have a boy child perhaps the youngest girl child in the family would be brought up virile and it is happening other way around as well.
As parenting and the formation given in the childhood days have long lasting effects in the psychological and behavioral composition of a child, growing a girl child manly would create psychological and behavioral patterns of man in her which may cause an identity crisis for the child. The girl brought up virile would talk, walk, behave and act like a boy.
Society being patriarchal does not expect a boy being brought up effeminate in the quest to have a girl child. Chanthupottu, Malayalam film, directed by Lal Jose, is the reflection of the society, as movies can’t be isolated from social realities. The story is all about a man named Radhakrishnan (Dileep) is brought up like a girl by his grandmother (Sukumari) who wanted a granddaughter. There by, he becomes an effeminate. She calls him Radha, which becomes his nickname. After several attempts made, he sheds his transvestism but his femininity still hangs on. The film closes with shots of Radha going for fishing, his ancestral job. It is notable that even in the closing shots; Radha keeps his feminine mannerisms, though to a milder range.
The same way society does not expect a girl to be brought up mannish and behaving like a boy. The anatomy (physical structure) alone would not define a girl girl. There are certain attributes such behavioral patterns, characteristics, psychological-emotional composition, voice modulation-pitch and mannerism that define the gender of a person whether he/she is boy or a girl. The girl child who is being brought up mannish would have lost the basic girlness in her. According to the society and conventional thinking, a girl should be emotional, loving, caring, sympathetic, tender, affectionate, soft spoken, docile and gentle whereas boy should be harsh, stubborn, devoid of basic emotions, arrogant and hard. That is how both the parties should be, as to accomplish the various functions in the society.
There are ways in which the society expects both boy and girl to behave that is why in the childhood days a boy is being told that ‘You should not cry’ because shedding tears is not the attribute of a boy. Thus, he is being molded hard and harsh to face the challenges of life. Whereas girl should be emotional, affectionate and tender to take care of the family, give birth to her offspring and to bring him/her up.
In the process of growing up a girl child manly her girlness should not be lost. Society needs a girl with girl’s emotions and attributes not a girl in her mere anatomy. Of course, girl should be bold and courageous to face everything but the same time she should not be devoid of her basic girlness. Effeminacy in men and masculinity in women are, without doubt, not appreciated by the society. It is good for a man to remain manly and woman girlish.