Sunday, August 13, 2006

Feminism - Part I

My friends call me a feminist - I suppose it would be only fair to say they're right. I think the lot of women has been full of hardships for aeons now. Moreover, people might say things are improving, and that men and women are treated equally, you only have to look around you to know that's not true.

I read the book Princess by Jean P. Sasson when I was 11 or 12... I often think that's what made me so cynical about relationships and men. It's the 21st century, and the women of Saudi Arabia are still treated like puppets, with no will of their own. Even the women who are, in the materialistic sense at least, surrounded by every luxury known to man, have no voice of their own, and in many ways have come to accept that as their lot.

Look around you in India itself. A large majority of the female population still knows that her future, no matter which college she might be attending, still lies in a marriage to a man her family will choose for her. She knows that ultimately, her life will all about looking after the needs & wants of her husband and children, and very often, in-laws. Having a career is an impossible dream for innumerable Indian women.

There is a soap on Indian television these days about a joint family where the autocratic head of the family has always treated the women like puppets, and they have never felt it should be any different either. Along comes the new daughter-in-law with her modern ideas, and the women of the house decide enough is enough, we need to rebel. Melodramatic? I wonder. I think the attitudes depicted in that show are a very real depiction of Indian society even today, whether people choose to accept it or not.

Honestly, I don't think there's anything all that wrong with being a stay-at-home wife; in fact, I have the utmost respect for such women (more so because I don't see myself ever being able to lead that kind of a life). However, I do think that it should be the woman's decision. It should be her choice, and hers alone. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Most women are stay-at-homes mothers because that is what is expected of them. Of course, very often, they have never even thought of any other option (mostly because they're been brought up knowing what their future held). But what of those women who may have dreams of going out and working, and are unable to do so because of their family environment.

Of course, things are changing. The number of women taking up courses that could lead to great careers and the number of women actually going out to work has been increasing steadily over the years. I read a report in the newspaper a couple of months back about how this year, the number of girls applying for courses like B.Com and Economics in the top colleges has been far more than any other year, whereas a couple of years back, these same colleges were actually considering having a separate quota for girls to encourage them to apply to these courses! So great, things are changing. But to what extent?

How many working women have the complete and unwavering support of their families? How many working mothers have their husband helping out around the house? Not too many. It is still the woman of the house who has to come back home every evening, as tired as her husband, if not more, and start with all the cooking, cleaning, dusting of the house. And God forbid if her children misbehave or do badly in their studies even the slightest bit, because of course it's the fault of the mother for not paying enough attention to her children.

Yes, things are changing. I come from a very different background. Many girls are now expected to have a career, just like the sons of the family. Yet, it is a very small section of society which is changing. We have a long, long way to go before men and women are truly treated equally in this country of ours.

9 comments:

ZiggyStrauss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ZiggyStrauss said...

You feminist, you!
I have very comlpicated views on the topic. I can't sort them out in my head, so it's unlikely they'll be clear in a comment.

Anonymous said...

hey good job on the bloggin..keep it up...

amita said...

hmm.. sexy thoughts.. ma'am.. bilkul feminist nahin hain.. good thinking.. loved it

ZiggyStrauss said...

PS: did you ever consider therapy for your serial watching? I mean I know we do it out of masochism, but I still don't/can't keep track of the plot

a traveller... said...

One, I need therapy for lots of things - serial watching is the least of my concerns.
Two, who is this anonymous commenter?

Anonymous said...

bulls' eyes!!.... no mismatch of ideas in this .... the background colour(s) that u hv chosen perfectly compliments yr mood and and the current theme

sandy

stupis chap....:P said...

hmmm...really nice...Impressive are few words that come to my mind...Keep the good work !!

stupid chap said...

i Totally agree its high time we MEN give Women that they deserve ,actually who are we to give then anything ,i think its high time we start respecting them.

I hope i am alive to see boys beat girls in CBSE...but the fact is girls are more composed in whtever they do...

so I think uve brought up a topic which has prob made me think abt my MSP attitude.