The battle of genders has been around since our school days. Due to commonly accepted stereotypes there is a belief amongst the population that there are specific situations in which certain genders excel; gender roles.
And as time went by – there was the notion to market that the importance of one gender over the other. Thus was born the concept of feminism.
WHAT IS FEMINISM?
Wikipedia – Feminism is a collection of movements that are aimed at establishing equal,political,economic and social rights for a woman.
It seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.
What it actually means is that – Woman are to be considered as people.Unfortunately the average person associates a Feminist as someone who thinks – men are not people.
The crux of the problem is that most people don’t understand what feminism means. Here’s what it doesn’t mean:-
1. Expecting a seat to be given up for you on the bus/train, etc. If someone wants to give you their seat, it’s their choice – call it chivalry (for men) or kindness (in general). It isn’t feminism.
2. Staying out all night /swearing/dating 10 boys at a time, etc. just because it makes you feel powerful or liberated. What you’re actually feeling is free, rebellious and ‘cool’. None of these signal that you’re a feminist. All of these signal that you need to grow up.
3. Looking down at homemakers and women in more ‘traditionally female/nurturing’ roles and dismissing them as weak, old-fashioned and in need of emancipation. Alternatively, praising a house-husband who’s wife is the breadwinner and labeling him as a feminist. Women who’re stay-at-home mothers, primary school teachers, social workers are more emancipated than corporate divas if they’re extremely good at their job and equally passionate about it.
So how did this all begin? From the time of our ancestors – men were hunters, they would go with a plan in mind, coordinate and achieve their goal, kill their target and bring it home. Women on the other hand, were gatherers – they would go to each tree bearing fruits or vegetables, gather them leisurely and bring them home. The same instincts have been passed onto us today.
So the tendency to look at men as providers has been hardwired into us since centuries, when there were no software programmers and vice president roles available to anyone. But that decision was by mutual consent, and had more to do with division of labour. But what has happened with the onset of liberalization is that women have a whole new territory to explore and conquer – the male bastion of work. Whereas, what is means for the male is that his fiefdom is under threat and there is no bastion for him to counter-attack, because he cannot give birth to children. So mankind’s survival instincts dictate that the male species do anything and everything to preserve his area of control.
How does India figure in this list? India started out well in the case of feminism as with all other concepts.
Women of the Vedic period were prominent with their exemplary intellectuality and supreme spiritual attainment. You had higly revered goddesses, women were provided equal education. There were philosophers like Gargi and Maitreyi who could tackle any man intellectually.
When did we become a society that oppresses women, resorts to female infanticide, dowry cases, bride burning and the lot? As can be seen in several third world countries Men try to retain their so called kingdom by denying women their rights, their access to education etc: so that they automatically become unqualified for many of the roles performed by men.
The lack of education is the most important factor that has contributed to suppression of women. When a regime wishes to oppress or monopolize another regime, the first thing that is denied is – Education. Because with a lack of education comes a lack of thinking, opinions and convictions.
The second method how this can be achieved is what is happening today – where you impress upon an otherwise qualified and capable woman that she is just not upto a man, merely on account of her gender.The ‘liberated’, ’empowered’ woman has started to associate the activities of man with that of success, self-confidence, self-worth and recognition. So when we suddenly find ourselves given the freedom to do different things we work towards things that men do thereby giving them the right to set the rules. Giving them the freedom to be the yardstick. We want to do all that men do, and do it better.
It is this glass ceiling that needs to be broken and not just in terms of climbing the corporate ladder. The society as a whole needs to rise above the glass ceiling.Women need to understand that the highest form of freedom is freedom of thought and expression. Thoughts for which you define the parameters, not society.
So ladies, until the male half of the society sees us this way, we need to treat them as adversaries. And when we win a match, we don’t ask our opponent how well we played do we? – The fact that we won itself means we are better than them. So if at all you need feedback, take it from your teammates – other women, and stop expecting your adversaries to applaud your victory. Someone said, “Remember, you are unique – just like everyone else”. So use your unique PLUS points to shoot down the ARROWS being aimed at you!
For when you have the conviction and the ability to execute your thoughts – you will find that you have no necessity to prove yourself. You are comfortable just being YOU. Happy Women’s Day!