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GIRL… the least represented and most oppressed subcategory of human existence. They are the poster girls of exploitation by misogynistic and patriarchal societies since before time.
International Day of Girl child: A dust storm of the digital revolution.
“Scared she lives, in the shadows she hides,
Her fate exposes the “ugliness of mankind”
You can go as back as you want in history, you’ll find them being married off before they even hit puberty, you’ll watch them be paraded in harems like a trophy by the winning kings, you’ll hear their screams as the victors of wars have their way with them, you’ll find them engulfing smoke in kitchens while their brothers are busy running in open fields and having a gala time with their friends, and you’ll also find them looking with teary eyes as their school bags are taken away while their brother is getting ready for school just because family considers the latter’s education to be of significance.
The history of mankind is almost 5000 years old and human civilization has made rapid strides in terms of development but that little girl has failed to keep pace in this race.
5000 years later, the girl child still languishes in apathy. Yes, it is true that their condition has improved and in some pockets and regions of the world, they are at par with boys of their age in terms of facilities they receive but by and large, the majority still bear abuse at the hands of this male-dominated world.
Be it the clampdown on their education in Taliban governed Afghanistan or their abduction and sale as sex slaves by Boko Haram in Nigeria, the girl child is still facing inhuman treatment at the hands of men. This brings me to the date of 11th October.
The International Day of Girl Child. The day that was started in 2012 with the aim to discuss and find solutions to problems faced by the girl children. Each year events are held the world over to create awareness about issues faced by the girl children. Speeches are heard and proclamations are made but are the end result satisfying?
If I have to answer honestly and in one word, it will be a resounding NO. In big, black, and bold capital letters…NO!.
What has been done is just a tiny speck on the window. What needs to be done is to blow that glass window to smithereens and for that, we need to come together and create a massive dust storm. One that will blow away the dominance of men and free our girls. And how is it that we can achieve this? By doing stuff that will actually bring change.
While holding a rally with placards in a metropolitan looks charming and grabs newspaper headlines, it does little for the message to reach where girls actually live a disadvantaged life. We, the educated, free women need to come together and contribute by taking the fight to villages and small cities.
We can do this by working together to start NGOs that will specifically work in these regions. Yes, there are quite a few NGOs actually doing this but as I said, that number is just a speck of dust. Imagine if we can just pool our combined strength in numbers, in education and in financial freedom, is it too difficult to create the storm we need? If we can create a handful of freedom stories in these lethargic areas of the world, we can multiply our forces each year.
The third wave of feminism has given us that opening, what we need now is the fourth and final wave of feminism to create that perfect duststorm and when that dust will settle, women in every nook and corner will be standing equivalent to men. Our girls will no longer be sold in the market, they will marry when they want and who they want to, they will grow up to be educated and financially independent, they will finally be free.
To create a change is not difficult, to take that first step towards it, in the direction the men fear you won’t step towards and warn you to not to is tough. In this age of digital media, even that has been made easy and as the theme for this year’s girl child day goes, “Digital generation, Our generation” is the way forward. There is a lot of motivational and inspirational content in the webspace. Let’s make sure it reaches those who will actually benefit from it.
Let’s change the world. Let’s make this the International age of girl child… together.
“Scared she lives in the shadows she hides,
But hidden deeper within her is a storm,
Together we can unshackle her strengths,
Let her be free and right all the wrongs.”
Image source: An image from Pexels
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).