A Bad Girl’s rant: Breasts and round rotis

Been there, done it almost.

 |  5-minute read |   19-02-2015
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Do you know who is a bad girl? In a 12-picture children’s guidebook of sorts, a writer has gone ahead to describe the certain qualities that make a girl bad. Now, for a girl who has had that tag – and worn it quite proudly – since she was, umm, about ten years old, embracing the "good girl" tag seems quite a task. And – wait for it – if this viral post is to go by, I need to undergo a double mastectomy, too, in order to be called a good girl. Because, you see, "bad girls have breasts".

When I spotted this "A Bad Girl" strip doing the rounds on Twitter, a different sort of ghar wapsi is what my mind went through. For as far as I’m concerned, "A Bad Girl" is what I’ve always been known as... from relatives to friends’ parents to neighbours and so on, everyone who has had the misfortune of rubbing me the wrong way, back when I was still a teenager, has zeroed in on that one epithet: A bad girl. While it might come as quite a shock to our 21st century modernised realities, the actual reality in many households – even as recently as a decade back – was nothing different from what this pictorial depiction of a bad girl, which has gone viral today, attempts to say.


For the uninitiated, the following 12 traits are what define a bad girl:

1. Pouts

2. Smokes and drinks

3. Eats too much

4. Watches pornography

5. Can’t make round rotis

6. Has breasts

7. Eats too less

8. Goes to Goa

9. Walks outside with open hair

10. Letches at other boys

11. Falls in love in a park

12. Rides a motorbike 

Sitting in an air-conditioned office and looking back at almost a decade-long conditioning that my relatives – especially women – tried to put me through, this 12-point listicle of sorts looks quite a toned down version of what many of us have had to go through.

Granted, several utterly ridiculous points have found their way to this list – thanks to the advent of the selfie-clicking, selfie-breathing Gen Y (have we graduated to Gen Z yet?) – but the core message that every family member tried to drill in our heads was essentially the same: If you do so and so, you’re a good girl. If not, you’re a bad girl.

Pouting wasn’t really a concern back then. But other etiquettes were. Sitting with your legs wide apart – the way I almost always ended up sitting, no matter which family gathering I was at – was frowned upon quite fiercely. The eyebrow-bows and the poison-laced arrows from the eyes of my relatives were never really paid much attention to, and I grew up to not even realise what sitting with one leg crossed over the other meant or felt like. Among the several much-hated diktats at get-togethers was not being allowed to swing your legs, too. Somehow, the sight of the swinging legs – of a ten-year-old child, at that – seemed to attract who-knows-what feeling of lust in onlookers, or so we were told. Ergo, the harangue: You’re not supposed to swing your legs. Can’t you see how (insert name of most-docile classmate) sits? Why can’t you sit quietly like her? And since the retort, "No, I can’t" was always at the tip of my tongue, I was, but, a bad girl.

And moving on to the rotis. It was a source of much amusement for my parents and relatives, when I decided to ask my mother to give the chakti-belna (the base and the rolling pin) to me one day, when I was about eight or nine, so that I could ape her roti-making. At the first go, the tiny ball of dough yielded a perfectly round roti. The look of joy on ma’s face was unmistakeable, and she called my father to come see what I’d done. That, however, was the only time my mom received some kind of joy when I happened to go anywhere near the kitchen. For no matter how many times I was asked to repeat the act of the "perfect roti-making" later on, I refused to touch the pin. I did try making a roti many years later. I’d successfully managed to un-learn the art of making those perfect dough-y full moons, I found! Does that make me a bad girl? You bet.

Cut to the "walks-out-with-open-hair" point. Time and again, we were told tales of how ghosts decided to posses girls who walked in the open, especially after dusk, with their hair all open. Oh, and there was a special species of ghosts earmarked for the task of entering the bodies of young girls – the Brohmodoittyo. I somehow never had to deal with any of that species, because, you see, my hair used to be chopped off before it could even touch my shoulders, for a long, long time. Till I stomped my foot and said that enough was enough and that I wanted to wear my hair long. I was called a bad girl at that act of revolt, too. But then, who cared.

As far as other points in the list of what make one a bad girl are concerned, I’ve more or less done everything. Apart from that, umm, "falling in love in a park" point is concerned. Like, seriously? It is so ridiculously, insanely hilarious that it just deserves a hearty laugh and moving on. As does the rest of the list, for that matter.

Anyway, now that we know who is a bad girl, there’s something else the creator of this "A Bad Girl" strip needs to clarify for us. A bad girl has breasts, yes. But then, a good girl, too, has breasts, you know. Unless you’re trying to say that only boys – the ones sans breasts (some of them, too, do have them actually) – qualify as good girls. Will the creator tell these species of "good girls" (read: boys) what to do with their nipples, in that case?


Ananya Bhattacharya Ananya Bhattacharya @ananya116

Blast-Ended Skrewt. ~ Associate Editor, India Today

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