A few days back, the world “celebrated” International Women’s Day. I don’t mind grabbing the lucrative offers that all fashion and retails brands have lined up for my gender. But, I expect more from my society. I’ve penned down some of my thoughts here. I’ve used the word ‘feminism’ only once, I swear. This is because most of us consider mankind a biased term and so, we consider feminism to be the same. This is a three-minute read, go on and read if you like. Let’s serve the entertainment first.
Sing it along!
Sheila! Sheila ki Jawaani
Ki ab gold medal ussi ki hai honi
Say what? Not so Chinki Chameli
Faces pe pimple wali Chameli
Hips pe stretch marks wali Chameli
Pawwa Chaddha ke Ayi!
Munni Badnaam Hui
Qki chotte kapde pehenke
Raat mei, khuli tijori ki tarah
Ladko ke saath naach rahi thi!
Kyunki Tulsi Bhi kabhi bahu thi..
Tulsi ki kahani jantehai..
Is it Tulsi’s fault?
Tulsi is pretty and fair. She has long hair and round hips. She waxes her body and applies makeup. She knows how to cook delicious food. She has a regular 9-5 job and she earns well. The best thing is that she manages both her office and home. After office, she takes care of her husband, kids and in-laws too. She is the ideal woman any mother would want for her son. Tulsi wants a similar kind of bahu for her own son. But, did Tulsi ever give a checklist to her son? Did she ask her son to learn the household chores, learn to look after kids, his wife or his in-laws? Is Tulsi’s husband considerate enough to help her with all this multitasking? Look around you, you’ll find so many ‘Tulsis’.
No it is NOT…
Well, yes, I too have some of Tulsi’s feminine attributes. There is nothing wrong with being a ‘Tulsi’ if it is by choice. But, what I’d like to point out is, women can be different. It is not necessary that they fall into this ideal category. It is high time that the society understands that women do not have to fit into the stencil of stereotypes and idealism. Sheila might use her ‘jawani’ ka josh to maybe play for the national team at some game or serve the national army instead of pleasing men. Munni might dance in pubs with her boyfriend drinking alcohol without being branded sluttish and getting ‘badnaam’. Chameli might have pimples on her face, stretch marks on her hips, birthmarks on her arms. She might not be ‘chikni’.
What does being a woman mean?
Let’s understand that maybe women are biologically meant to be physically weaker, shorter or more emotional than men in general but that just doesn’t mean that they cannot do something if they wish to. The society in 21st century knows what women are capable of, however, it is high time that it accept that women are not meant to serve patriarchy. That they have authority over their life and body. That they can be rebels, straight-forward, independent, superior to men, have hair on hands & legs, that they might not be a good cook, might not want kids, might not want to get married, might not like pink always. That they can travel alone, live on their own, have sex before marriage, drink alcohol. That they can wear a burqa or a bikini, it’s their choice.
Are we doing it right by keeping them in boundaries?
I know many people who’d say that we believe in equality and all that but “if we send our women out late at night, who would be responsible if she gets raped?” Agreed, it is your responsibility to look after your women but do not let that bind her beyond an extent. In fact, understand that instead of making your women fearful and docile, encourage them to learn basic dodging & self-defense skills, equip them to use certain tools like pepper spray or other safety tools in case of emergency. Educate them to be smart and self-reliable. Understand that change would only come if you stop fearing the consequences of rape or sexual harassment.
But “Ghar ki badnaami ka kya?”
The traditional consequences are ‘ghar ki badnaami’, ‘ladki ki izzat’, but the moment you realise that a girl’s vagina doesn’t hold your or her honour, you’ll be enlightened. Having said that, I do not ask you to stop caring about the safety of your women, you must. But, in the guise of caring for her safety, do not let her freedom and opportunities be caged.
What if Shakespeare had a sister?
Virginia Woolf highlighted a very important fact that if Shakespeare had a sister as genius as him, would she be given the same freedom as him to explore her talents? She’d never become as famous, even if she deserved it. J.S. Mill brought up the idea of gender equality as simply as possible by saying that if women are given equal opportunities as men, it would benefit the society at large. It would flourish economy, human development and liberate mankind because women contribute half the population of the society.
Uhh, this is FEMINISM!
And this, my friends, is the basic idea behind feminism, a term that has been misconstrued to such a level that people think feminists are men haters.Why dafuq would we hate men?
Some amazing feminists
There are so many exemplary women who have contributed to the pillars of womanhood, I’ll name a few who inspire me (google them if you haven’t heard of them), Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, Neerja Bhanot, Malala Yousafzai, Avani Chaturvedi, Sushma Swaraj, Twinkle Khanna, Sania Mirza, Gul Panag, Kamla Bhasin, Barkha Dutt, Mithali Raj, Emma Watson, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jacinda Ardern, Benazir Bhutto, Meryl Streep, etc.
The list can go on. These are not mere anecdotal women but they represent the dreams, capabilities and struggles of so many other women who have yet not got the right opportunities in their lives. In real life too, I am blessed to have met phenomenal and inspiring women.
Women of all nations, unite
Women! Stand up for other women, love your gender, love your feminine attributes. Embrace your flaws and strengths alike.
Men! Stand up for women around you. Encourage them, believe in them, walk beside them. Do not ever say, “Ladkiya ye nahikarsakti.” Trust me, women can if they want to.
We might be terribly late in putting this up but hell, we aren’t wrong. Tag the women you adore and let them know that there is nothing in this world that can stop them. Nothing at all.
*This piece has been contributed by Deepika Agarwal for empowerment purposes.