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How To Reject Patriarchal Traditions And Be A Feminist Role Model To Your Kids

Posted: October 19, 2020

I have decided to stop participating in, and encouraging any form of suppression of women. Especially since I have a son to be a role model to.

There is no dearth of data on how women across the world are being violated every hour, every second. Some of these horrific acts are reported and become the week’s headline followed by an uproar and discourse on how women have been failed by our society, government, judiciary et al.

Debates on rape culture, but no real action?

Like all other times we talk abut women’s safety and the challenges we need to overcome with much anguish. Then, a few days go by, and most of us continue to follow our routine life.

In recent times we have had women as well as men highlight the importance of how our boys need to be brought up to respect women and their choices. An extremely valid point which collectively stands to bring about the much needed change in the world. Nurture them right so that there is no wrong to be corrected.

All these debates and discussions on what is causing the rape culture to be so prevalent as we progress materially got me thinking about my life. And I realised how little we women, the millions of faceless middle class have also failed our fellow women.

How we fail our fellow women

The upcoming festive months will be celebrated by most Indian families, though a little differently this year because of the pandemic arresting the world.

One of such festivals that is especially looked forward to by married women is Karvachauth, a day dedicated to the men in our lives.

Having been married for a few years now, neither my husband nor I believe that such fasting can in any way provide our equal other halves a long and healthy life. I have however been participating in the festivity with my friends and colleagues for the joy of a social get-together and self indulgence.

I used to think of myself as a strict anti patriarchal individual and did not take my participation very seriously, as it was only intended for some good time.

I have however realised that celebrating such festivals or even being part of such celebration has its roots in a dysfunctional society that revers its men blindly.

What else can explain women having a tough time the entire day without food and water so the sake of their husbands wellbeing ?

It took me some time to realise how at times even the most educated women who think of themselves as feminists and liberals have a deep rooted subconscious patriarchal mind.

Even if we say it is by our own choice which we all are free to practise, it’s important to understand the subtle consequences of our actions, whether on a large scale or within our families.

The ‘lucky’ wives whose husbands also fast

Of late I have also come across a number of friends/ acquaintances where the husbands also fast along with the wives to show their love and solidarity.

In all such cases I have seen how people go gaga over these men, that they are so loving and caring towards their wives out of their own choice and no social pressure, again making the husband stand higher on the love/ care/ provider/ securer pedestal. The respective wives are told how lucky they are to have such husbands. Sounds misogynistic?

Well if fasting is what makes you loving then entire species of married men should feel grateful for their wives their entire lives because most women folk celebrate and revere their husbands every year in different formats and customs.

If fasting somehow can still help the cause of providing a happy and healthy life then it is the men in our lives who need to start fasting immediately. Consider how the graph of crime against women is rising rapidly, they are already running late to ensure the safety of their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.

Enough

I have decided to stop participating in, and encouraging any form of subordination of women. I own this to myself and my two year old son who I do not want to draw any wrong inferences of women being a ‘lesser’ half.

We can at least put our house in order, this being the minimum that we can contribute to society.

What about the fin and socialisation, you ask? Who is stopping us form looking lovely in our finery, or adorning hands with henna? Just choose to be conscious of the occasion being celebrated.

Every conscious choice that we make today matters towards building a society with a strong foundation of human values.

Image source: a still from the film DDLJ

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