The Fatal Feminism

imagesThe author humbly apologizes to anyone whose shiny feathers might get ruffled by the skewed timeline BUT I had written this article a while back and owing to the absence of a blog, I couldn’t put it up anywhere. Now that I have finally started with a blog, I am definitely competent to put it up here and shall not be held liable for the same. So, read on…

March 8 is universally celebrated as Women’s Day. A day dedicated to the fairer sex, to  show some women in our lives that we love, cherish and respect them, and they matter  to us. This year, as always, the day was marked by functions, public addresses by  prominent members of the society, debates on the status of women in Modern India  and a lot of such hullabaloo. The appointment of Ms Pratibha Patil as the President of  India, of a Dalit woman as the Lok Sabha speaker, women as ministers in the Union  Cabinet, women topping various public exams, ladies like Indira Nooyi, Naina Kidwai,  CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, etc were apparently meant to make women believe  that our time had come and nothing could hold us back anymore. The  accomplishments of women in diverse fields are laudable, especially considering the  fact that this feminine renaissance has been ushered in only in the past few decades.  However, under all the glitz and glamour, the flipside got pushed to the inner columns  of newspapers and reports. That this positive side is ultimately a very tiny part of the  bigger picture. A picture that cannot get clarity through self appointed feminists  yelling themselves hoarse on primetime television shows or writing fiery articles in  print media denouncing everything and everyone from Adam to Obama or taking out rallies. Conventionally, Feminism is defined as the doctrine of advocating social, political and all other rights of women as those equal to men. However, whether this is all there is to it is the million dollar question.  And that equality would surely come at a price. In many pockets of our society, that primitive mindset still prevails, which relegates women to the kitchen and the bedroom. A self sustaining, independent woman would then be a ‘unindian’ aberration that can be conveniently ignored. Stereotypes would have us assume that women must choose between intelligence and beauty, mind and body, substance and surface. A combination is something to be feared and denounced, since it’s evil. They fear that a change in the traditional role of women would weaken families, the founding unit of societies, and consequently culminate in cataclysmic devastation.

At the end of the day, the fact still remains that no matter how much we harp about women rights and gender parity and dignity for all, the ground realities are alarmingly different. Fancy words in the dictionary, kanchivaram saree draped and bindi sporting ‘activists’, high pitched shrieking of lopsided, supposedly women centric views….all this nothing but a farce which steals the limelight away from real women related issues that still haven’t been addressed. From dowry deaths to female foeticide to genital mutilation to rape and eve teasing, the persistence of these problems reflects a failure of society as a whole and no one can really be absolved from the blame. If a school going boy passes lewd comments on the road to women, it is because certain values were not inculcated in him- that he has no right to strip someone of their dignity.  If a mother in law subjects a new bride to torture, it’s not just a weakness of the man of the house, but again of the society that a woman treats another woman in such a shameful manner. If a college going girl is shot in broad day light at point blank range, it shows how dispensable our women have become or perhaps always have been, and the indifferent slumber we have collectively sunk into. If a woman hides the fact that she has been raped or molested, it’s not because she is weak, but because she knows that our rigid societal ‘morals’ will view her as a dirty, filthy creature who will contaminate all those she comes in contact with.

Ultimately, Feminism does not start or end with women alone, since women are not really isolated social units. Feminism is not just about waging a battle against the ‘atrocities’ of the opposite sex. It needs to involve men, yes, but it is equally and perhaps more importantly about the cracks that exist within the women fraternity itself. What is needed is undoubtedly an honest appraisal of where women stand in today’s society, and where do they hope to be in the coming times. Whether they wish to be relegated to the sidelines, or whether they will be the leaders of the march towards holistic development and genuine equality, is solely upto them.

 

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