First things first, I don’t get the concept of Women’s Day. Why should one sex get a special day which makes it seem like the other sex has the rest of the 364 days to themselves? Doesn’t that go against everything feminists are trying to fight for – equality and fairness in terms of treatment of and attitude towards women by society. So the following is a description of the Modern Indian Woman.
She is strong, confident, aware of her sexuality and not afraid to show it. But at the same time filled with the one dream that I’m sure every woman holds – to be treated in the same way by everyone, with respect and fairness. The protagonist is no different from any other woman. She simply wants to be accepted in society and while her parents have given her every opportunity there is, beneath the support and love, there is something lacking in this woman’s life. The need for society to look at her like she is capable of being on her own and pursuing her career as an option compared to living her life under the shadow of a male companion is not uppermost on her mind. Although there are instances when she does feel like succumbing to the pressure of having to find someone to share her life with, which society deems absolutely necessary otherwise she will not be able to find happiness in her life. She and I share similar sentiments. We both want to walk down the road without having to feel ashamed of wearing jeans. We both want to feel safe at a time when owls sleep. We want to be able to give interviews successfully without having to justify our ambitions. We also want to answer people confidently when they ask us why we wish to focus on our careers instead of thinking about getting married and starting a family.
I know at this point in my life, I may not have experienced even half of the discrimination that goes on in our country everyday but I’ve had my fair share of eve-teasing and eyebrow raising when my decisions and judgements are taken into question as being against ‘my fair character’. We continuously fight against stereotypes but we don’t realise that women are living stereotypes every second of every day. Society continues to banter on about women equality and trying to bring about more respect for women while at the same time, I get looks from old uncles and young boys when I’m casually walking down the street. This is a country where the mother figure is the most revered. The cow is so much a sacred animal that a person of any faith avoids it when it is ambling along on the roads, not bothering to complain about it. Still they say that it is women who need to change their attitude. So you can take your children to McDonald’s and buy them the latest gadgets which have been mass produced from Singapore or Thailand but you will still expect your daughters and wives and sisters to behave in a proper manner. I’m terribly sorry to inform society but WAKE UP! Women have begun to realise that while before it was ok for them to sit at home and be the invisible hand behind the world’s happenings, it is now time for them to take charge in the public forum without having to apologize for wanting what is their right.
I have grown up in a family where there have always been more women than men at family gatherings. I guess this is why my father, both my grandfathers and all my brothers (cousin) have always been respectful of women. I feel proud to call them my male relatives because they truly know how to treat a woman. But this is not the case in every Indian household – Women are expected to serve their male relatives/counterparts. No matter how much a woman tries to prove herself, there is always one man to put her down and one woman to console her by saying, “This is our fate and there is nothing that we can do to change it!”
But I say, no! There is a lot that we can do if we simply acknowledge the fact that we may be different but our wants and needs are the same – respect and fairness. What more could the life-givers ask for, society?