Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tell them the difference!

The fact that rights of women have become a joke in itself an example of the current problematic situation regarding feminism in India. It is because of the misappropriation of the word 'right' is what is coloring interpretations regarding 'what women want.' This is actually where the problem lies- it is not about what a gender wants, but needs. And that is how equality is asserted.

It is when the lines between want and need are blurred that issues arise. How people approach equality is also an issue- what kind of equality does one want? And why does one want it? Women's rights are about being given the same rights as men as they are as human as men are. This has not been achieved fully as yet, and the sad part is that with this partial fulfillment, the misappropriation of these rights have begun. Such is the case with humanity- we do not finish a task before we start going for the other. And here is where we do not budge from self-contradicting.

A day in metro can see the different ways men and women appropriate their rights. A man accidentally enters the women's compartment and a woman shouts- Dikhta nahi kya? Andha hai? ( are you blind? can't you see?). Some other day you see another woman telling a man politely, saying that this is the woman's compartment, or better still- people mind their own business, and things go on the way they are supposed to.

 But problem arises when they don't- it often happens when women don't tell a man to leave the compartment and some men stubbornly sit there- where is the voice for rights then for women? Why is that all of us approach the same problem in a different way? This is why it is said that there is no unity among the human race- everyone is pitted against the other and no one has a collective conscience.

The new term called the 'victim card' has emerged. The very fact that women 'get to be victims' is seen as a 'privilege'. When did this happen? When did being a victim become a powerful endowment? It is again about the misuse of a provision- it is when some people call the wolf because they have the liberty to. But when the wolf really comes for some people, there is no go- everyone thinks the person is lying like the other one, and there is no resolution. Voices get subdued again, only that here the problem lies with the people who tried to raise it.

The special status given to women in public places like the metro compartment, a different queue, is always seen as a contradiction to the rhetoric of feminism. Feminism is also blamed for the word 'fem'. But men and women who do not believe in this concept do not know what it actually stands for.  Feminism is called feminism, and there is a differential treatment because only  upliftment of women will make them reach to an equal status. One cannot jump to the zenith without crossing various borders, and this is why these provisions need to be made.

About men knowing the difference between equality and special status, it is a murky area. It is the prerogative of both the genders to understand that if you want to denounce any kind of chauvinism, you need not expect any kind of chivalry. A friend of mine hates it that she does not get equal pay as men, but she wants the man to pay for her dinner- this internal contradiction needs to be erased. We need to be sure as to what we want, and for that we need to know why we want it. Women need equality, and not special status. We do not need matriarchy over patriarchy, but an egalitarian existence of both the sexes. Men will know the difference only when it is shown to them that there is a difference. We need to assert our rights equally to be treated equally. Inner contradictions need to be removed when we realise our shared past of suboordination. 

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