In India a girl child first fought to be alive; she faced a gender test when she hadn’t even taken her first breath. Then she faced Child marriage; forced arrangements at an age she didn’t even understand what it is to get her first periods. She fought for the right to education and learning. She fought for a right to work and equal pay, even when she gave results at par with all other genders. Where are we today? Where do we stand today?
Once an old lady told me “a car cannot run with all the wheels on the rear end. A woman needs to do a woman’s job and a man has to look at the finance.” She didn’t intend wrong; she just comes from a different world. I come from a world where, as a teenager, I was asked to write my aspirations in block letters. From where I see “We can never be exclusively just one part of the car, role reversal and #sharetheload is the new normal.
The idea of a woman fighting for a man’s right, in my opinion, is another burden we are letting ourselves carry. A man’s right is not a benchmark; I don’t mind better. I want to rise above this farce of treating woman empowerment/feminism as a trending agenda to be in the news. We are far ahead of the times when we had to fight only for woman’s rights. Injustice doesn’t work only in the light of gender inequality. Not just GIRL power, start cheering for each and everyone you think who is doing a great job. While appreciating men doesn’t make you less of a feminist; what does waiting for someone to pull your own chair make you? “Chivalry” should be dead anyway, pull your own chair.
Feminism ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” by definition. – a concept which is hogging all the limelight, shadowing all other inequalities in our society.
What about all the other gender inequalities, the discrimination based on colour and orientation? Where is the tolerance India? We are not only a country of vernacular languages and cultures, we need to accept all skin shades, accents, body shapes, regional differences in thought process, standard of living and lifestyle differences. You could be body shamed by someone of the same gender. We are racists in our ways. The way we judge each other has stratified our society on so many levels and dimensions that, it feels like, we as a society think like a messed up Rubik’s cube which no one wants to solve. Technology may have everyone connected; but sadly, not altruistic.
Once in college I had taken part in a fest, it was a finance event. My team mate (who barely knew my name) causally said “Arey you won’t understand all this, its not up to your capacity.” I could assume he was “mansplaining” but I didn’t ask ‘Why did you say that?’; I didn’t stand up for myself that day. We need to start talking, sharing and confronting instead of assuming.
We need to ask small questions, like ‘why?’. Is it safe to go anywhere we want at any time? Why is a house-wives’ job unpaid? Why is there a gender-role anyway? “Oh lady Driver!”: a passing comment. Eventually rise above it and ask bigger questions— ‘How are you contributing to a safer world?’, ‘What is the real impact of an objectifying item song on the common Indian psychology?’, ‘Why is there not an item song with male actors?’ and ‘Why was there a Maggi ban and no cigarette ban?’. I don’t celebrate Woman’s day, because I don’t see a day for any other gender. Or is it just a pacifier in all its glory? What in the world is ladies’ night? Why isn’t there a Gentlemens’ night at clubs? Why ‘no Stag-entry’?
If you’ve seen the movie Manikarnika, it screams of the power a woman possessed and how she changed history. She wasn’t fighting for body shaming and body image. She was fighting for independence. You’re not a boon by just being a woman; you’re not entitled to fame and recognition just for being a woman. You have to rise to the occasion and cause a change to be celebrated. “Because you’re worth it” only makes me want L’oreal to answer this- “Is it because of my gender that you think I am worth something and not because of my choices, my character, my thoughts and everything that makes up a human being?”
Feminists can be stereotyping too. “All men are ….” is a statement we have all heard. When we make such general statements we are saying something about ourselves. Shows who you are. Don’t go by the trend. What is beyond feminism anyway? Equalist?— someone who believes in equality at all levels, in every form and way that if someone asks me who you are, or who I am, the answer is only one: I am HUMAN. See beyond gender, see beyond stereotyping.
World No Tobacco Day 2019- 31st of MAY – THAT’S worth it!
(Smoky Fact:There are approximately 120 million smokers in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. More than 10 million die each year due to tobacco in India.)