Which Side Are You On: Nine Questions Every Woman Must Ask Herself

Posted: July 2, 2014

Our actions contribute to the society we live in. Here is a fantastic introspective list of questions we must ask ourselves about our choices, actions, and subjugation of women.

Like we never saw it coming. That time of the month/week/day when again – yet again – we recoil in a collective spasm of shock: over Yet. Another. Rape. Until the next one comes along in all its gory details, and a cold slap is rendered to any idea of progress we thought we’d made.

This intermittent indignation has been playing on loop for a long time now. We clearly have a tremendous capacity for shock. Maybe it’s time we anointed a particular ‘Day’ for it – a National Rape Shock Day – in the trend of assigning ‘Days’ to things that are as worthy of emphasis every other day but get a concentrated dose of limelight on one arbit day.

So, the rest of the 364 days we can go back to our usual business of mindlessly creating and contributing to the context in which these brutalities happen. Feeding female subjugation in a thousand ways both blatant and subtle, without the repetitive intervals of shock every now and then.

Saving for that one ‘special’ day all our frustrated anger, debates, marches, protests, editorials, hashtags, what-have-you and maybe, if time permits, even the odd introspection of whether we’re keeping our side of the street clean while condemning the obvious depravity of the crime in question. Whether we’re doing everything (or even anything) in our individual capacities to be part of the solution instead of the problem. Or do we ourselves fuel the forces that oppress women and then get ‘shocked’ when that oppression takes the form of yet another rape? Like arms dealers lamenting the scourge of war and wondering what went wrong.

Punished for being female and powerless, in a godforsaken village where gender equality is perhaps the most laughable concept imaginable.

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8 Comments


  1. This is one of the finest article I have read on this topic. Respect for the writer. How we were brought up by our parents was beyond our control but now that we are adults and financially independent are we doing enough to stand up for what we believe is fair?

  2. WEll…well…I am extremely happy that I came across this article. Some of the above mentioned points have been irking me ever since I started paying closer attention to our societal problems.
    One more question I would like to ask to all women and men is –
    ARE SONS BROUGHT UP WITH LESS ETHICS OR VALUES? Sorry for this shocking query, but it has been seriously worrying me, because I find parents not restricting the boys in anything as much as they restrict or ‘discipline’ their daughters. If a mother or father allows the son to openly attend to the ‘nature’s call’, on a road side or wherever, will they do they same to their daughters? If not, then why are they allowing the sons to do it? If we are teaching our girls to be ashamed of the skin they are showing, then why are they not telling their sons about the same?
    As the writer has said, we have to start seeing everything as human values and not as men’s values or women’s values. I do not think we have separate culture for men and women, do we?

    The following must be the guidelines for ALL humans –

    1. Humans should not be aggressive and all humans should be patient (not women should be patient whereas it is manly to be aggressive)
    2. Humans should not smoke or abuse alcohol/drugs (not because it is not ‘Indian culture,blah blah blah’, but because it harms our health and creates problem for the others)
    3. If a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg is needed for having a human baby, then both of them share EQUAL responsibility in child rearing.
    – subset of this rule is, if a woman is stigmatised if she is giving birth to a child out of wedlock, then why is the man who made her pregnant, let off. This applies to even adolescent pregnancies.
    Are parents talking to their sons about pregnancies as much as they do to the daughters?
    Why should the girl alone be held responsible for getting a child in her womb?
    4. Most important of all, general rule should be taught to all children that – your liberty stops where my nose starts.

  3. nihaarika agarwaal -

    Good side.we leave in a society were girls are trained in each and every aspects of life but boys are never even restricted for unethical behavior.attitude of a mother needs to be changed in bringing a male or female human.it’s woman who can make a change……

  4. Awesome article and very well put across!!!
    And, a perfect observation nihaarika!!! It is the hands of a mother how to bring up her kids, boy or girl. It is actually in her hands to change all such silly and indignant culture and thoughts. But, to our plight….it is females only who actually are not training their kids efficiently, be it our mothers, grand-mothers or mother-in-laws!!!!
    Females can bring rigorous and positive change in the society…in all aspects. Be it stupid customs, rituals, silly stupid superstitions, which are actually a “NON-SENSE”, differentiating between daughters and sons, beti and bahu etc!!!!
    It is all in our hands how we mould our kids and how we change the society, but then it happens the way as aptly said – “Aurat hi aurat ki dushman hoti hai”.

  5. I am in favor of legal equality for women and respectful attitudes towards them, but the writer of this article is misguided in many of her criticisms, analysis, and attitudes. I think she needs to study evolutionary biology/psychology to get an understanding of whats going on.

    Here is one example:

    “A simple way to check for sexism is to swap the genders. If it seems ridiculous and/or laughable, then there’s your damning evidence on a platter.”

    Sorry, but men and women are treated and thought of differently because they are inherently different. There is nothing “damning” about that.

    “Such as women in social gatherings being well-dressed and ‘groomed’ to within an inch of their lives, while the men show up looking like they just stumbled out of the jungle”.

    We men pay less attention to our physical appearance than women do because we know that women are not as focused on a man’s appearance as we are on a woman’s appearance.

    What men and women are attracted to is not a product of the media, of culture, or of reasoned deliberation, but of millions of years of evolution. During that time, the key aspect of the female role in reproduction has been physical (gestating, birthing, and nursing a baby). Thus the nature of male attraction to females evolved to be primarily physical, triggered by physical queues of health and fertility.

    The role of the male in reproduction over the ages has been complex and multi-faceted. The male’s contribution to the female’s “reproductive success” (having strong healthy offspring who themselves had many strong healthy offspring) involved his genetic quality and health, his ability to acquire resources and territory, his ability to form alliances with other males, and more. In prehistoric times, his ability to bully females into mating encounters he wouldn’t have otherwise gotten and his ability to bully other males away from “his” females were also key, because those traits got passed down to his male offspring, whose behavioral traits then served to make their mother a grandmother many times over. The nature of female attraction to males thus evolved to focus on many things besides physical appearance.

    The nature of male and female attraction is therefore inherently (genetically) different. While there is more pressure on women to look good, there are other types of pressure on men, such as having a high-salary career. A woman can decide she wants to choose a career that is self-actualizing but doesn’t pay well without that choice affecting her ability to attract mates. A man doesn’t have that luxury. Both genders can choose to whine about these kinds of “double standards”, but these differences are the results of eons of natural selection and cant be changed unless and until we invent a way to rewrite the human genome and choose to do so.

    I’m rooting for women to achieve equality, but any socio-political movement that isn’t grounded in a scientific understanding of the forces in play seems doomed to fail.

  6. Hats off to the writer. . Well done.

  7. Absolutely with you. This is MUST READING FOR ALL WOMEN AND FOR ALL MEN if the latter have the courage to go through and then attempt to better understand the crisis in all the issues addressed to be able to handle it firmly and boldy.

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