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Why do we not have Prom Nights in India? The problem with accepting adolescent sexuality: A series

A popular trope of most Hollywood teen flicks is the prom night.

That’s when the lead characters realise their love properly or encounter unexpected twists of fate. Prom  nights are perhaps the most  exciting and happening marker of entry into young adulthood from adolescence. Prom, short for promenade, is a dance night held when students graduate out of high school. Usually both girls and boys find themselves a date of the opposite gender. In most movies, you would see the parents of teens equally excited as them about finding the right dress or right date for the big night. It’s a bit surreal and even irksome for us sitting here in India and watching such events taking place in a world different from ours altogether when it comes to handling adolescent sexuality.

In India parents try their level best right from the beginning to segregate  young girls and boys. Co-ed schools are a pretty much frowned-upon concept  for many parents still. It is a terrifying prospect for any teenager to have their parents know about the girl/boy they are interested in, to confide in them might be amongst the rarest of rare cases. Having a girlfriend or boyfriend in school is the most dreaded reality to materialize  for their children for any parent in the country. In schools too, teachers and counsellors are often found to police children suspected of enjoying romantic alliances with the opposite gender. Therefore to have open and formal events in institutions like School where girls and boys pair up for promenade dances, is unthinkable.

Adolescent sexuality is a difficult, misunderstood, scandalous concept for Indian parents or parental figures. Youngsters running away to marry and get together with the ones they love is also a very common phenomenon in rural areas which more often than not leads to premature arrests for boys and torturously  bleak futures for girls after being found out by parents, which happens most of the times. The problem isn’t any simpler in urban areas too since conservatism regarding family honour spans all demographics.

So can there be a scenario in India, where a balance can  be negotiated in terms of coming of age in accepting adolescent  sexuality in an empathetic and educative way?

Stay tuned to this space to know what our teenagers, parents, teachers and other stakeholders of the society think!!!

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