Pune: A post titled ‘Class XII CBSE Physical Education textbook says 36-24-36 is the best figure for females’ is trending on social media and has been criticised by experts. The post refers to a book titled ‘Health and Physical Education.’ The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has denied that the matter is part of any NCERT or CBSE book.
Experts in the city suggest that the implications of the statement being mentioned in any academic book are dangerous.
The ideal that external beauty is not important and value should be given to inner beauty is attacked with such a statement.
Social activist Vidya Bal said, “Such a statement is very dangerous. Since childhood, it is important to develop the right perspective among girls and boys to look at each other. With such statements, it cannot be developed in a healthy manner. Girls and boys must be brought up as human males and human females and develop themselves as human beings.”
The complete statement in the book is “36-24-36 shape of females is considered the best. That is why in Miss World or Miss Universe competitions, such type of shape is also taken into consideration.” This was mentioned in the chapter ‘Physiology and Sports.’
“Girls as young as in Std XII are already conscious of their bodies and how they look. Something like this will surely enforce the statement that only that is the perfect body. There is no size for an ideal body and no body type is right or wrong. The focus should be on fitness. What the body can do is more important than how it looks,” said Jaya Rajgopalan, Head of Department, Psychology, St Mira’s College. Rajgopalan points out that 36-24-36 is not the size for beauty pageants.
CBSE claimed that the book referred to in the viral post is authored by VK Sharma and published by New Saraswati House. “The reference to CBSE in the news is vehemently denied. It is totally incorrect and does not have any credible base. CBSE does not recommend books by any private publishers to the affiliate schools,” said Rama Sharma, Public Relations Officer of CBSE.
“Schools have to take extreme care while selecting books of private publishers. The content must be scrutinised to preclude any objectionable content that hurts the feelings of any class, community, gender, religious group in society. If prescribing books having such content, the school will have to take the responsibility of such content,” added Rama.
“Rule 15.1 (d) of the Affiliation-bye-laws of the Board clearly states that the school will follow the syllabus on the basis of curriculum prescribed by NCERT/ CBSE and textbooks published by NCERT or CBSE as far as practicable. CBSE will look into the schools who are using this book and action will be taken against the school principal. It is the responsibility of the Manager and the Principal that they have to go thoroughly through the contents of the books they prescribe,” added Rama.