On July 8th, a 17-year-old boy from Jind, Haryana hung himself to death after his mother reprimanded him for playing PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) and took away his mobile phone. According to a report, he had quit studies after completing 10th grade about a year ago.
The boy’s father said, “I was on duty on Saturday evening when my wife found him playing PUBG in his room and snatched his mobile phone. She found him hanging in the room the next morning.”
Social media was quick to blame the mother for the boy’s actions because our culture expects mothers to protect us. From packing lunch for school to saving their children from every adversity, there’s a gendered expectations on moms to be perfect. Popular culture is as much to blame for thrusting this unfair responsibility on women. Movies portray mothers as flawless human beings who can go to great lengths to save their children. Not just that, they are also expected to shape a child’s character and morality.
In 2016, a four-year-old boy met a tragic end when he fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The accident sparked controversy and several people demanded that the mother be put in jail due to negligence. Speaking on the incident, Alyson Schafer, a Canadian parenting expert and author, told Global News, “All of us take our eyes off of our kids for two seconds…from that perspective, I do think this could’ve happened to any of us. This wasn’t a case of neglect.”
She added, “Whenever there’s a tragedy, people want to blame somebody. It helps them deal with their own high emotions…it’s easy to put the parents as the target because we’re the guardians of our children.”
Predictably, we end up blaming mothers because, as a society, we’ve been conditioned to believe that a mother is nothing short of a superhero: she’s vigilant, strong, and invincible. However, we need to realise that, at the end of the day, mothers are human beings and no amount of good parenting can ensure a child’s safety. So instead of labelling women as bad mothers, we need to assess the situation and take steps to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.