I feel so proud at how women have progressed over times. But I equally detest taking a cognizance of the pace men have degraded at. They can just move up your skirt in an elevator and name it a ‘healthy’ flirtatious act, a candor or humorous may be. But again call it my conservativeness or feminism, I believe it makes for a pretty unhealthy combination when any flirtatious humor is not consensual or is grossly misplaced.
Is it humor really?
Somehow I find ‘humor’ too inappropriate a word for a septuagenarian colleague hell bent on a girl in her early-twenties ignoring her discomfort. No folk would disagree, that even a clichéd compliment which might make your day otherwise when comes from a person twice or thrice your age is not enjoyable. For the ones who believe privileges for women are often wrongly utilized, I would like to question whether men have lost their brains or their sensibility? In fact according to the recent remarks from the big and celebrated ones, men seem to be really helpless in our society. I feel like pitying them!
But then I am confused. Going by the adage, actions speak louder than words, I have been seeing women being assaulted, brutally raped, molested, ill treated and deprived of their share of respect since time immemorial; patriarchy strives and thrives. I have hardly seen the other way round.
Sexist comments by people we put in power
But as of now, Farooq Abdullah’s alleged fear for appointing a female secretary or Abhijit Mukherjee’s “dented painted” women remark makes it appear that females are intimidating…Gosh! Had it been truly so, the world would have been a much better place. They are in fact just representatives of the many illustrious names related to sexist remarks. I often wonder about the kind of patriarchal psychology that governs these remarks?
“The incident of rapes and sexual assault on women have risen so much that I am scared of speaking to women these days,” the National Conference chief said, adding, “You never know what lands you in jail today. That’s the reason why I don’t even think of keeping a woman secretary.”
Born a girl to an Indian family, I cannot blame the other gender actually. I owe it to the families, parents and all those controlling hands in a girl’s life. I owe it to those girls bearing abusive relationships in the name of blind love, sexual assaults, workplace harassments and domestic violence.
It’s our fault
We claim to have progressed, but most households in India are undeniably the ones where a girl gets her first lesson on how to be a perfect daughter, a perfect mother and of course a perfect partner- a patriarchal lesson. In the process of being ‘the perfect one’ she soaks herself in making life comfortable for others. She starts treating the traumas of life as secrets just to protect her loved ones, their social respect. And as we grow up, we just cannot afford to be named a spoilsport. So we laugh at the sexist jokes made by colleagues, friends and giggle at the TV commercial making fun of our own sex. We prefer to ignore the feminist within us. And in the process encourage the ‘vulnerable’ ones. Also that we are sick of being tagged the ‘emotional fool’, we often prefer to overlook the behavior that hurts our sentiments or our emotions. That is how we ourselves so earnestly give patriarchy the upper hand and the right to make it sound so pathetic.
So your silence does not only take a toll on yourself, but on morality, conscience and humanity as a whole.
By Tias Dutta
Image Source: Feminism@Facebook