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Do women want to be treated specially? The author sets the record straight.
Why do we want to see women as representing a victimised and marginally insecure section of the society, as people can hardly fight battles solely on their own merit?
Women! The most talked about, debated, interpreted and empathised lot in the country, like a newly arrived accessible-to-all product in the market! Almost everyone around seems to have an opinion on her. Why just opinions? Many actually have an unverified judgment to pass about her actions. If she stands for other women, she could be a fame-hogging damn feminist and if she condemns them, she may pretty well be an enemy of her own clan. If she’s well-read and voices her opinions boisterously, she is a maligning image to the traditional sophistication of the Indian woman persona and if she is illiterate, she is a self-proclaimed victim who deserves to suffer in wrath. If she looks hot and sexy, she quite possibly is an over-ambitious vacuous girl who uses her body for malicious favours from successful men and if she is laid back in bed, darn her for not satisfying her man’s desires.
Nevertheless, this article is not a rant about society’s age-old laments on women but about why such laments have been put on her without her consent or approval. Did anyone care to ask her when and how far a victim she considers herself to be? Or did we willingly believe the media-circulated, word-of-mouth stories or the exceptional wisdom of the self-established advocates of womanhood, who claim to have read her mind and have spoken on her behalf?
High time! Let’s bust the myth. Most of the women I have known, from school to employment, from middle-class homemakers to liberated young lasses, from empowered ladies leading NGOs or start-ups to the ones who are labeled as ‘underprivileged,’ have mostly been mettlesome women of steel and valour, fighting a hard day’s battle but without any dash of self-pity. Even the ones who tire day in and day out to get daily meals for the family by doing dishes in others’ households when their drunken husbands lay off under sun, refuse to think of themselves as ‘poor wretched things.’ They work hard and inspire their children to redefine their forthcoming future.
So even when women do not feel as victimised, as weak or as slanderous as they are made out to be, the stories of her pain and discomfort do more rounds in our society than the tales of her courage, strength and endurance. The worrisome question is why at all do we want to see women as an utterly victimised and marginally unsecure section of the society, as people who can hardly fight battles solely on their merit? Is a woman really that frail or does thinking of her as ‘weak’, when she is not, act like a soothing balm on the patriarchal mentality of our nation?
In a way, the proposition that women desire to be “treated equally” is actually downright ridiculous. It assumes that men are born or become superior to women who need to be pushed upwards to match their level. Doesn’t this also assume that men and women are like rats and cats in a race and eventually have to battle each other out to reach the finishing line first? Imagine starting discussions on emancipation from such a ridiculous foundation.
A woman is like a special piece in a big jumble puzzle. Special not because of her gender but because every other piece in the puzzle of society, including a man, is as special and important to arrive at the best fit. The very question of an equal, similar looking, ditto piece just doesn’t exist!
A woman is like a special piece in a big jumble puzzle. The very question of an equal, similar looking, ditto piece just doesn’t exist!Never miss real stories from India's women.Register Now
A woman is like a special piece in a big jumble puzzle. The very question of an equal, similar looking, ditto piece just doesn’t exist!
Most men know this. Those who do are the ones who have helped women complete their struggling journey in a most dignified manner in the past many years, because there is no other thinkable way in which the human race has progressed so far, except by helping and nurturing one another.
And of course, there are men who don’t know this. And also some who don’t want to know. There are men who want to live in a self-spun myth of masculinity in which women will be the ones who would always perform Karvachauth for their long life, tie them a Rakhi pleading their protection or be the carrier of their surname’s legitimate child in their womb. There would always be few macho men who would not hesitate to ill treat, harass or exploit women in order to establish their supremacy and some who would not mind taking the avatar of a Messiah on constant alert to save the “poor, hapless creatures.” Honestly, it is best to let them be and move ahead with the progressing ones.
So what if a certain group of men distorts the puzzle of gender balance? Has it not always been a few good men who have changed the rule of the game?
Women are smart players too. I refuse to think of my gender clan as self-pitied, victimised sufferers of someone else’s malice, waiting for positive discrimination to change their lives forever.
Women are smart players too. I refuse to think of my gender clan as self-pitied, victimised sufferers of someone else’s malice, waiting for positive discrimination to change their lives forever. To voice or assert for rights of one’s dignity, safety or opportunity is not the prerogative of any gender in particular but rather a movement of humanism. No matter how much level playing field one may get for women, she never aspires to be known for her gender but be valued for her ability, competence and courage.
And like it is said, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Both men and women know that is just right.
Image via Shutterstock.
Ardent reader | Writing freak | Argumentative nerd | Dreamer-makebeliever| Co-founder 'MANRAV' - an NGO| At other times, HR Professional, Speaker, Facilitator, Storyteller | In the list of "Top 100 HR professionals to follow on twitter" and "Top read more...
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Ms. Kulkarni, please don’t apologise ‘IF’ you think you hurt women. Apologise because you got your facts wrong. Apologise for making sexual harassment a casual joke.
If Sonali Kulkarni’s speech on most modern Indian women being lazy left me shocked and enraged, her apology post left me deeply saddened.
I’d shared my thoughts on her problematic speech in an earlier article. So, I’ll share why I felt Kulkarni’s apology post was more damaging than her speech.
If her speech made her an overnight hero among MRAs, sexists, and people who were awed by her dramatic words, then her apology post made her a legendary saint.
There are many mountains I need to climb just to be, just to live my life, just to have my say... because they are mountains you've built to oppress women.
Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
I haven’t climbed a literal mountain yet
Was busy with the metaphorical ones – born a woman
Fighting for the air that should have come free
And I am one of the privileged ones, I realize that
Yet, if I get passionate, just like you do
I will pay for it – with burden, shame, – and possibly a life to carry
So, my mountains are the laws you overturn
My mountains are the empty shelves where there should have been pills
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