Social Media Star of the Week: Sameera Reddy
Actor Sameera Reddy recently put up a post with a series of photos, including that of her kids – son, Hans, 5.5 and daughter, Nyra, 1.5 – and some of the DMs that she received on how she was ensuring equal responsibility among them. Most of the messages echoed a similar kind of frustration about ‘their sons not being allowed to play with a kitchen set, or take the broom in their hands’, while others displayed hope in the times to come, but all revolving around gender prejudices in households.
Turn the tide
The post’s caption read: “Change begins with us at home! Making sure there is no inequality between Hans and Nyra is my responsibility…” When asked what made the actor, who goes by #MessyMama on Instagram, put out that message, she says: “When I joined social media a year-and-a-half ago, I saw people put up curated posts. But being someone who always speaks her mind, I wanted my account to be viewed that way. So, posting about Hans using the cooking set or playing with my make-up was not intentional. But soon my DMs were flooded, especially by mothers, either appreciating me or sharing their woes about being bound to raise their kids ‘a certain way’, and that’s when I realised that I had started breaking the ‘boys will be boys’ narrative.”
While celebrity parents such as director Karan Johar and Soha Ali Khan share parenting tips, Sameera has curated her community of over 1 million followers, through open dialogue. “While going through my DMs, I realised it’s important to not just instill gender equality but talk about it too, so that it brings about a change,” she says.
The support of her husband, Akshai Varde, and MIL, Manjri Varde, has helped ensure the right kind of upbringing for her kids. “My mother-in-law is modern and progressive, yet traditional in her values. That reflects in her upbringing of Akshai. When I was suffering from postpartum depression, he took charge. From cleaning baby poop to reading up online, he set the tone of equal partnership with our kids, too,” she adds.
Often gender stereotypes starts when the baby arrives, by dressing them up in pinks or blues. “It’s important not to shame your child for whatever they take up on instinct. Nyra doesn’t like dressing up, she just loves wearing Hans’ old clothes. You can’t project what you want on your child, it’s injust,” says the actor.
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From HT Brunch, February 21, 2021
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