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Five women in very different cases and circumstances – but common to all these situations is how quick we are to blame the woman. Read on!
As I read about the furore over the word ‘RAnDI’ and the subsequent uproar over Ms.Rana Ayyub’s comments from the Indian Twitteratti, I sat down to think of the irony of the Indian Aurat* who lives in a society which is so misogynist and patriarchal in its genes.
The make-believe women’s empowerment videos made by some eminent Bollywood personalities which enthralled us, away from reality into a world where we enjoyed freedom of all kinds, where people did not make sexist jokes, where the ‘Agora’ of intellectuals did not objectify us suddenly appeared meaningless and far from the truth. The Utopian world of fantasy was given a reality check the moment we stepped out of it. The harsh realities of misogyny wrenched us from within and suddenly, all the underlying meanings of the words we are so used to using in our daily lives start giving us goose bumps.
The suicide of a young, intelligent doctor working in one of India’s prominent hospitals and coming from a well educated family background, choosing to end her life gives a sneak peek into the way our Indian society functions. I won’t judge Ms. Priya Vedi because I do not know why she ‘chose’ to live the life she lived rather than just walking out of the marriage. Marriages in India are like matches made in heaven, and these matches involves the entire family and not only the couple.
As women, we have an inborn quality of adapting and compromising. If we are the elder of the lot, we let go of our beloved toys to our younger brothers and sisters; if we are younger we compromise on an extra piece of chocolate with our elder brothers and sisters. As daughters, we compromise by letting go of our opinions in deference to that of our parents; as a companion, we compromise on our jobs to follow our husbands to their places of work, and as a mother we compromise by leaving our careers to give our kids a better upbringing and future, as if the kid’s future is solely our responsibility.
If we don’t make compromises, then we are labelled: bad sister, bad daughter, bad wife, bad mother! Then why are we blaming Ms. Vedi for what she did?
If we don’t make compromises, then we are labelled: bad sister, bad daughter, bad wife, bad mother! Then why are we blaming Ms. Vedi for what she did? She was a good daughter, chose the most respectable and noble profession her parents could be proud of; she was a good doctor; she was a good wife and daughter-in-law, chose to stick to her husband inspite of knowing his different sexual orientation. Then why do we blame her? We blame her because that is what we are good at. Unfortunately, having a biased upbringing where everything bad is blamed on the woman, this is what we are good at!
Whether it is the honest opinions voiced by Ms.Ayyub on the sexist orientation of the Twitter crowd on the usage of the word ‘RAnDI’ which means ‘a prostitute’ in Hindi, or Ms.Padukone saying that it is the choice of the woman whether to have sex in marriage or outside marriage; We prefer to hang on to each and every word a ‘woman’ has voiced, make various combinations and connotations, and give it back to her saying that whatever she has said is wrong. It is not her choice to make these kind of derogatory remarks on ‘Indian Men’ when ‘Indian Men’ choose to use all kinds of derogatory words from ‘Chutiya‘ to ‘Randi‘ that demean a woman, to show off their chauvinism and valour.
Whether it is the argument that Ms.Padukone’s ‘My Choice’ video is indeed a reflection of what women empowerment is or that Ms.Ayyub’s remarks on the acronym were too far fetched or Ms.Vedi’s choice of taking such a drastic step when she had the ‘easy’ option out of divorcing her husband or Ms.Jyoti Singh’s decision to go out with her friend just to watch a movie or Ms. De’s opinions on the ordeal of Indian movie goers due to the forced intervention of the Maharashtra governmen , the soul of the argument remains constant: ‘Blame the Woman’!
Five women, coming from different religious, cultural, and social backgrounds share a common predicament: getting blamed. This is just not the case of these five women. It is a vexation commonly shared by all Indian women. This is the ‘Curious Case of the Indian Aurat!’
Woman in the spotlight image via Shutterstock
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