Check out the ultimate guide to 16 return-to-work programs in India for women
Women's Day, today, has come to mean shopping discounts for 'feminine' products and the exchange of cringe-worthy messages on social media.
Women’s Day, today, has come to mean shopping discounts for ‘feminine’ products and the exchange of cringe-worthy messages on social media.
For far too long have we been fed the idea of femininity and roles that we must conform to, that patriarchy propogates. And for equally long has Women’s Day been misappropriated to the idea of celebrating that very femininity and expectations, with products being sold with new offers that accentuate those roles.
Of flowers and pinks. Of the role of the soft affection provider, of following those ideas of beauty that pander to patriarchal notions. From discounts at slimming centres to manicures & pedicures, Women’s Day is constantly been reduced to the very idea it has opposed – celebrating women just for a day.
We were an oppressed gender. But we are also 50% of the human race. So apart from this absolutely mind-numbingly incorrect notion, of celebrating our gender that day, why would anyone even insinuate that just a day is enough to celebrate women?
International Women’s Day, March 8th, marks the struggles that incredible brave women undertook over a 100 years ago, demanding rights, economic, social and political liberation, and ever since. It marks the achievements that thousands of women have made in making a more equal world for generations they belonged to and for those that came after.
From the early 1900s to now, women have struggled, questioned and gnawed at patriarchy in more ways than one. We have been ferocious in our own political, personal and personal-political struggles. In ranging from calling out sexism at workplaces, struggling for equal wages, calling out sexism in popular culture, questioning body conformity, fighting for safety, reclaiming public spaces, rehabilitating rape survivors and survivors of other forms of physical & sexual assault, questioning violence, fighting back ideas of honor tied to body violence, rape and the innumerable faces that patriarchy rears every single day – at singular, community, organisation and policy levels.
It is this relentless struggle that this day celebrates. That consistently reminds us to be grateful for what women have done before us. And reminds us of so much more there is to do. Each day, everyday.
It requires bravery to fight. To go to protests in anger. And it takes equal bravery to question sexism in personal spaces and lives.
To question roles that we are forced to take. That at 32, we must be married. That marriage itself is an achievement.
To question age old traditions and practices that fuel these notions- across religions. That after that we must have children, because the agency of a decision is still not ours, and we still need to fight for it.
And any of these choices, of refusal of marriage, children, or body conformity, justify social constructs to demonise us, ostracise us, belittle us, call us selfish, and allow themselves the authority to pass moral and physical judgements on us.
That the act of physical desire, is only for men. And women exhibiting it are ‘sluts’.
That roaming on the roads at night in ‘certain’ clothes, is a justification for prying eyes and resulting violence. Because in every sphere, we are STILL expected to conform to male expectations. Now of course, garbed in a new definition of caution. Honor coupled with caution. Why?
Feminism at the core of it is a very simple idea. An idea of inclusion, of equality and of respect. Of a world that must see every gender, every choice, every orientation as basically human. And fight for the right of each to celebrate themselves as human beings.
March 8, for me, is the beacon of that hope. That north star that changes your life. That commits you to a life of struggle, true to your personal political. That makes you so incredibly brave, that you are unconcered by the fear of consequences thrown at you. That makes you fearless enough to fight back, in every dialogue, every conversation, every appearance anywhere anytime. That forces you to think and live inclusion, and ensure that people around you sit up and take note. That gives you ammunition to go out there and contest. And use your voice. Because you have it.
Because you are a woman.
Saumya Baijal, is a writer in both English and Hindi. Her stories, poems and articles have been published on Jankipul.com, India Cultural Forum, The Silhouette Magazine, Feminism in India, Drunk Monkeys, Writer’s Asylum, read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Every daughter, no matter how old, yearns to come home to her parents' place - ‘Home’ to us is where we were brought up with great care till marriage served us an eviction notice.
Every year Dugga comes home with her children and stays with her parents for ten days. These ten days are filled with fun and festivity. On the tenth day, everyone gathers to feed her sweets and bids her a teary-eyed adieu. ‘Dugga’ is no one but our Goddess Durga whose annual trip to Earth is scheduled in Autumn. She might be a Goddess to all. But to us, she is the next-door girl who returns home to stay with her parents.
When I was a child, I would cry on the day of Dashami (immersion) and ask Ma, “Why can’t she come again?” My mother would always smile back.
I mouthed the same dialogue as a 23-year-old, who was home for Durga Puja. This time, my mother graced me with a reply. “Durga is fortunate to come home at least once. But many have never been home after marriage.”
Please enter your email address