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Girls are weighed down by restrictions, boys with demands – two equally harmful disciplines

Girls are weighed down by restrictions, boys with demands – two equally harmful disciplines


  • Introduction
  • Breaking down the first part- Girls are weighed down by restrictions
  • Breaking down the second part – Boys are weighed down with demands
  • Why such a scenario
  • Multidimensional Impact of these harmful disciplines – Family level, society, nation, Political, economical, etc.
  • Are these two disciplines equally harmful?
  • Countering these harmful disciplines


  • India, a nation heralded for its rich cultural heritage and a history spanning millennia, is also a place where gender disparities have endured for generations. 
  • The intricate web of expectations placed upon girls, often characterised by social, familial, and cultural restrictions, can inhibit their aspirations, education, and personal freedoms. 
  • Simultaneously, boys face the weight of societal demands that prescribe specific notions of masculinity, often emphasising stoicism, competitiveness, and emotional restraint

Girls are weighed down by restrictions

  • Traditional gender roles and expectations may dictate that girls should prioritise domestic responsibilities over personal aspirations, conform to rigid standards of beauty and behaviour, and shy away from traditionally male-dominated fields. 
  • Examples:
    • Emotional: Cannot express anger /agressiveneess–only love, empathy, care etc. are acceptable. 
    • Family and Marriage:  Patriarchy; Restrictions on choosing life partner; child birth  etc.
    • Career: Restrictions on  taking up professions like Mechanical Engineering , Combat role in Army etc. ( Gender ceiling ; Pink collared jobs etc.)
    • Economy: Restrictions/ non-inclusion /no independence  in major  financial decisions.
  • Consequences: These restrictions can stifle their ambitions, self-expression, and personal growth.

Boys with demands

  • Boys often grapple with societal demands that pressure them to conform to notions of masculinity that may not align with their authentic selves. 
  • Examples:  
    • Emotional: Boys are not supposed to cry even in bitter conditions.
    • Clothes: Colours and style as set up the society Ex: Pink is almost not acceptable
    • Physical : Physical Strength
    • Relationship:  Not to show equality towards spouse
    • Marriage: Taking Dowry 
    • Career:  Towards  Engineering, Army, Police etc.
    • Economy: To bear the financial burden of the entire family
    • Culture: To carry out the legacy of family
  • Consequences: These demands may include suppressing emotions, pursuing aggressive behaviours, and demonstrating dominance. The pressure to meet these demands can lead to emotional repression, mental health issues, and a perpetuation of harmful stereotypes about masculinity.

Why? – Social norms, Perpetuation of stereotypes through social interactions, misinterpretation of religious texts, popular culture, cinema, etc.

Impact of these two harmful disciplines: 

  • Limiting Personal Growth
  • Impeding social progress – Not conducive for national development
  • Non inclusive society

Are the two disciplines equally harmful or not? 

  • Arguments in favour
      • Reinforces Gender stereotypes – limits individual freedom and self expression 
      • Adversely impacts emotional well being .
      • Perpetuates gender inequality and disturbs social peace–Men Vs. Women debate will continue.
      • Limits life choices thereby repressing personal autonomy and Individual freedom 
    • Arguments against
  • Biological limitations:  Physical strength is a natural fact. Therefore, such limitations may not be harmful for certain segments.
    • Cultural limitations:  To preserve the culture to bind together the families through division of work and responsibilities.
    • Societal Limitations: Society is not yet matured enough to accept breaking the gender roles and stereotypes.
    • Infrastructural Limitations: Ex:  Lack of Toilets and other necessary infrastructure for women is an issue to recruit women in combat roles in the army.
    • More harmful to girls than boys as boys through demands at least get opportunities. However such opportunities are denied to girls due to restrictions.

Countering these harmful disciplines

Breaking barriers and building the nation – Countering the two harmful disciplines.


  • There are examples of women breaking their restrictions. Ex- Kiran Bedi
  • Matrelinial societies build on breaking restrictions.
  • Husbands also contributing in breaking limitations. Ex – division of house work.

Check out the UPSC Essay paper 2023 analysis with Detail explanation of the Topic

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