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A female politician in Kerala was recently prevented from speaking on the stage, with toxic cocktail of patriarchy and religion paving the way for this sexism.
A female politician in Kerala was recently prevented from speaking on the stage, with toxic cocktail of patriarchy and religion paving the way for this sexism. Examining the patriarchy in India’s most literate state.
When Kamarunissa Anwar, a politician belonging to the the Muslim League, recently went up on stage to address a public gathering, she was asked to step down, by the state secretary MC Mayin Haji. “Women do not address public gatherings. They are welcome to speak to a specific audience like a delegation, but must not address public gatherings,” he said. He further added that it wasn’t in the league’s tradition for women to speak to men.
The state of Kerala boasts of a high literacy rate and low female foeticide. With a rich heritage and the historical presence of a matrilineal society among some communities, it carries the image of being a woman-friendly state. But is this the reality or, is there an entirely different scenario?
While women’s education is valued in the state, they very often fail to get the same status as their male counterparts. It is patriarchy that controls life in Kerala. Grandiose marriages and the practice of dowry are rampant in society. The pressures of these practices fall on young girls and their parents, with numerous reports of dowry abuse being reported across the state.
The 1996 Suryanelli rape case, where a young girl of 16 was kidnapped and subsequently gang raped speaks volumes on justice, safety and the issue of women’s rights. Despite a Sessions Court finding 35 of the 39 guilty, the High Court of Kerala acquitted 7 of the 35 in the year 2015. The political scene in the state is no different. Out of around 140 Members of the Legislative Assembly in Kerala, only eight are women. Certain political parties are without any female representatives too.
Despite the Indian constitution granting women equal rights to men, the strong presence of patriarchy in many societies conditions a woman to make her believe that she is not on par with men. And education alone cannot change this deep rooted patriarchy in the society. Where offences such as rapes and sexual abuse are often used as a means to establish that women indeed are the weaker gender, we need stricter laws and a fair justice system to combat it.
However, laws are redundant without an element of social responsibility. Changes are required at the grassroots level, by raising generations ahead the right way, inculcating values that women are as equal and deserve the same respect and opportunity. Perceptions in society need to change in consonance with what our constitution guarantees.
Until then, the state of Kerala would remain as yet another example of an educated yet patriarchal society that we live in.
Top image courtesy NDTV.com video
A blogger who writes on society and culture, hoping to bring about positive impact on as many people as possible. Read more posts on www.meotherwise.com. read more...
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My house-help asked excitedly, “I am going for wedding. Can you let me wear your red & black saree? To be honest I was stumped for a moment; I didn’t know what to say but I still said yes.
I lent a gorgeous saree to my house-help for a wedding in her family. Soon I stated getting questions if I would wear that saree again or if I was okay to be seen wearing the same saree my house-help was wearing?
We are all so conditioned to give our used clothes to our house-helps but are we okay to wear the clothes they were wearing?
A few days ago she came excitedly to me, “I am going for a family wedding. I want to wear your red & black saree, Ill wash and give it to you after the function. Please can you let me wear it?”
Beauty is a very clever, very evil capitalist tool. It traps those who have it into hanging on to it for dear life and those who don't into mutilating, torturing themselves to achieve the unachievable.
I recently wrote a piece about MP Shashi Tharoor’s tweet in which he had shared a pic with six women parliamentarians tagging them and saying “Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work?”
There was a rash of comments on the post shared on Instagram, which ranged from “chill, it’s just a compliment” and “stop overthinking compliments”, to (worried) men lamenting about “these feminazi”.
Here’s my answer to all those comments.
Why do folks find it so hard to accept that patriarchy (and its emphasis on power) is often behind attacks on women? That it's not just 'some bad guys'?
Why do folks find it so hard to accept that patriarchy (and its emphasis on power) is often behind attacks on women? That it’s not just ‘some bad guys’?
Recently, I was asked to participate as a speaker on a talk show on live television, on WiON. The others on the panel were Rahul Easwar (best known for his support for the Sabarimala ban on women), and Hema, a Malayalam film actress. We were discussing whether South India was becoming unsafe for women, given the recent incident involving the actress in Kerala. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity, because this conversation has been desperately in need of attention, and it was high time we gave it value.
The truth is, the number of incidents of attacks on women is not on the rise as much as the number of reported incidents is on the rise. Assess a room full of women in most Indian cities or towns, and you’ll hear a bunch of stories of incest, domestic violence and marital rape. What South India (and indeed, all of India) ails from is not a new trend of rising crimes, but a culture of silence and conservativeness in approaching sexual violence. The taboo is further exacerbated by a culture of normalization of objectification and harassment of women – which is clear as day for anyone who so much as samples any of the films from the four film industries down south.
In a new book titled, I Am A Troll, Sadhavi Khosla speaks out on the ugly social media trolling that she was once part of, and how it targets women in particular.
Sadhavi Khosla, a former volunteer of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), recently made an explosive revelation. In a tell-all interview, in a book titled I Am A Troll, authored by Swati Chaturvedi, she speaks about how the party would instruct her to do social media trolling against Indian public figures.
She says that she was asked to criticize journalists, actors and political figures online and put up malicious posts against them. Notable persons on the hit list she says, included Rahul Gandhi, and Bollywood star Aamir Khan. Sadhvi however decided to call it quits when she was ordered to tweet criticisms of journalists such as Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt.