“The rhino’s skin is thick and tough,
And yet this skin is soft enough
That baby rhinos always sense,
A love enormous and intense.”
– The Rhinoceros by researcher Harry Harlow
How much do our parents teach us about ourselves? If science and psychology have proved that sexuality and sexual development grow and bloom in the course of our lives along with our other faculties, what role do our parents have in what we learn about sexuality? And, as parents, surely there’s so much we learn about sexuality, ourselves, and everything else from essaying the role? To parent is to learn how to teach what we already know, and to be able to receive more than a few surprise lessons ourselves.
The Issue in Focus for the month asks, what, exactly, we believe children to be innocent of. Shohini Ghosh examines the question through examples from art history and photography.
Alankaar Sharma counts the ways in which comprehensive sexuality education can help in countering child sexual abuse, while Kristin Francoeur and Surabhi Srivastava list book resources and the reasons why they help parents and children communicate about sexuality in affirming ways.
In the Brushstrokes section, Canadian parent Wendy Tsao takes over-sexualised dolls, removes their makeup and changes their overly done-up hair to turn them into role models from real life.
On the Video Page, Pappu and his papa have conversations on many things sexuality in what is touted as India’s first (and undoubtedly popular) fictional web series on sexuality education. The TARSHI Corner features Parent Circle’s clipbook on comprehensive sexuality education.
We also republish Mad Momma’s review of TARSHI’s The Yellow Book: A Parent’s Guide to Sexuality Education.
Sheba Remy Kharbanda will move her reader with the story of herself, her mother and her grandmother in her piece about why it isn’t right to consider motherhood the essence of womanhood. Meghna Bohidar wonders why we don’t extend the logic of consent from romance and sex to parents and familial relationships when it evidently needs to be. Amidst all this, Shikha Aleya surveys the many shades in which parenting and sexuality come together.
The TARSHI Corner for the month features Parent Circle’s digital clipbook on sexuality education.
In the mid-month issue, Venu Arora reflects on the choices she’s made in bringing up her daughter in the most honest way she could – from telling her the story of her birth to showing her a sanitary pad, there have been a few thing she herself has learned along the way. Ramya Anand is left befuddled by some of the problematic ideas her children seem to be learning from the world around them, but she won’t let that stop her from teaching them the best she can.
Tanya Singh gathers her observations about queering parenting from her conversation with queer feminist Rituparna Borah who has been a significant part of her friend’s child’s life.
Zoya Achanta feels privileged to have the parents and home she does, but wonders what it would be like if she identified as queer. In a bonus article, Swapna Vasudevan Thampi narrates her tales of everyday harassment in public transport.
The Hindi section has a translation of Sheba Remy Kharbanda’s article about womanhood and motherhood from our last issue, and we also publish a translation of Shilpa Phadke’s article on feminist parenting from our mid-November 2015 issue.
Don’t forget: our Tweetathon on Parenting is on Friday, the 21st of October, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. IST, where we’re going to discuss comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and the role parents play in conveying accurate sexuality information and messages, resources parents have found useful, challenges they’ve faced in communicating with children about sexuality, dealing with online and offline abuse, social media, and more.
We’ll use the hashtag #TARSHIChat in every tweet, and #CSE, #parenting, #sexuality and #TalkSexuality as appropriate. Join us!
Until then, happy reading!
The TARSHI Team
Cover image from Daytime Visions by Isol