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Why are women always held responsible for everything? If they are molested? If they’re “unable to give the family a ghar ka chirag“? (What is with that?!) When anything goes wrong.
Actress Rani Mukherjee’s statements at the actress’s roundtable at the height of #MeToo in India drew a lot of criticism. She tried to put the onus on the women alone to create a safe environment for themselves.
Learning self-defence, as suggested by her, definitely has a host of advantages, but that definitely is not a solution to the sexual harassment or predatory behaviour women are subjected to and these words coming from the mouth of an accomplished woman, irked a lot of people.
But should we really have been shocked or surprised at Ms. Mukherjee’s words or her thought process? Hasn’t this been a common occurrence in our society? Laying the onus squarely on the woman to correct every wrong she faces. The perpetrator safely walks away unscathed thanks to this hypocritical attitude of society.
The seeds to this inequality often get sown at home. In most homes the violent behaviour of a son is often excused as “boys tend to be a little rough”. At the same time extra effort would be put in to make the girl soft spoken and subservient, somebody who never raises her voice let alone voice her opinion.
This continues at every level in life for the boy and the girl.
In this arrives a stage where the girl complains about the boy’s intolerable behaviour and she is told “boy will be boys, its you who needs to adjust.” This only gives more strength to the already errant boy, making him feel he is indisputable. As for the girl here, the adjustment theory is so ingrained in her that she naturalises it, and slowly starts believing it to be the only truth. What you have before you is the above scenario, women themselves pointing at other woman and expecting them to take the onus, not trouble the boys.
This unjust gender divide I just spoke about, is something almost all of us are familiar with. Some might have tried to fight it and some might have passed on resignedly. But you all will agree that over time we all have been forced to look up and take notice. More so in present times, where the relentless pressure on one gender to adjust and accept everything while the other gender is allowed unquestioned level of freedom has slowly steadily started spelling doom.
This has been affecting us in more ways than one. But like they say old habits die hard, so the saga of putting the blame on the female gender continues, or should I say has been happening a little more aggressively.
Having been held back for centuries, women have finally found their voice. They have been actively questioning what does not seem right, and are demanding change. But will they get to exercise their rights all that easily? Instead of looking for actual reasons behind the social changes taking place with each passing day, the easiest way out is to perceive these changes in a negative way and simply blame the woman each time.
Whenever there is a discussion on increasing divorce rates in the country, the quickest reason given would be “girls these days simple don’t know how to adjust or keep relationships going.” These same people will be the first to blame a woman who is scared of coming out of an abusive relationship. Their stance this time would be “if you put up with it, he will abuse you.”
In both instances here, the woman is blamed conveniently. Nobody here thinks the man in question is answerable in any way. While we hear progressive statements like “girls have an equal right to education” and “girls with ambitions need to be celebrated”, we all know it is anything but the truth.
While we expect a woman to be a superwoman who is perfectly capable of handling work, home, social life, and always manage to look perfect. Is even quarter of this balancing act expected from men? In fact these varying degree of expectations and social standards set out for the both genders, have done more harm than protect the concept of male supremacy in society.
The celebration of the male child in society for various reasons, biggest of them being they are the true heirs of their blood line or “khaandaan ka chirag” has led to some dangerous repercussions. When boys are raised with a sense of supremacy inculcated in their minds from childhood, the men who step out into the world turn out to be incorrigible.
The recent interview of cricketer Hardik Pandya, which took the nation by storm is a strong example of this phenomenon. Everybody blamed Mr.Pandya’s lack of education for his crass statements but are the schools alone responsible for instilling the right thought process or manners in a person?
The answer sadly is no. What Mr.Pandya’s statements here reeked of were, a sense of entitlement. To think he being a man, he can have his way and do what he desires – this behaviour is way too common in our country, but we had to see it come from a celebrated personality to sit up and take notice.
Here again probably it’s the mom being blamed for pampering her son. Why are the fathers again not questioned? Children learn more from what they see than what they are told. So it is high time, men took their parenting duties more seriously and bucked themselves up, coz their sons will learn only what they see. But will this advice to buck up, seriously work, will the present generation identify the toxicity in their behaviour and attempt at correcting it, for the sake of a better future?
The new Gillete Razor commercial spoke on the same lines, it spoke about putting an end to toxic masculinity. This advertisement drew sharp criticism specially from the men.
There were the #notallmen crusaders who are the first to shout not all men are negative or wrong, but again don’t want to put on the effort to correct the situation or the men on the wrong side. Then there were those, who said masculinity was being ridiculed by being prefixed with the word toxic and that boys should be allowed to be boys and not tamed down to be girls.
Seriously this could not get weirder. To call behaviour like harassment, violence or bullying as masculinity is dangerous. These are in fact the dangerous traits of masculinity which need to be done away with it, at least for the sake of the next generation. But there are men who are getting offended for being shown the truth, for being told they have the responsibility for setting the right example.
If this does not reek of supremacy and entitlement, I don’t know what does. Sadly, this commercial had sparked an outrage at an international level. So sadly, this sense of supremacy towards one gender isn’t restricted to our country alone. So this fight to bring a parity or equality between the genders is not going to be won soon, as the there is a desperation to hold on to the throne.
Whenever we talk of male entitlement and gender disparity one of the root cause for this which comes to the fore front is patriarchy.
The dictionary defines it as “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”
It is this this very system which necessitates the celebration of the male progeny alone. It is the patriarchal mindset which makes it absolutely necessary to have a son. So when one is born, probably the sense of relief gets translated into relentless pampering of the poor boy.
While women face the brunt of having to be at the receiving end, often “the khandaan ka Chirag” tag causes relentless pressure on the men as well. Probably in their quest to be the leader, the saviour and the protectors, they end up becoming dictatorial. But having always been told a man is the master of his house, they do not see the need to correct themselves either.
So I guess its time to learn a lesson from the Gillete commercial. We all aim at giving a better world to our children, so let’s start that from our homes. Let’s treat children as individuals who need care and guidance and not label them as “Khandaan ka Chirag” and “Ghar ki Roshni”. They are humans, not bulbs or lamps. If want them to see a brighter tomorrow let us light up their thought process.
Let us instil a sense of responsibility, discipline, confidence and self-assurance in children irrespective of the gender. Most importantly let us give them the freedom to express their thoughts. Only if we know what they think, can we guide them towards what is right. Let us start that by bashing the stereotypes. Most importantly if we are resolute on starting a change, let us as women vow not to follow Ms. Mukherjee’s line of thought; don’t expect the woman to take the onus of all that is wrong in the world.
Image source: YouTube
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A dreamer by passion and an Advocate by profession. Mother to an ever energetic and
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