Every woman knows the torment of speaking up. I have known it in the past, and I might with this post too. But I will say it, now, and again and again. Just like all those powerful women who did ages back, who keep doing it even now. I am just one of those wanting to see a change, speaking up our minds but we know, even as we write and speak we know, we are never going to be alive to see the difference. Let’s see what has changed? There have been times when women weren’t allowed to even write in their own names, they used pen names instead. There were times when women had to fight for property rights, to work and be independent. So before you think I don’t believe in anything, I will accept the truth that we have made progress.
The progress however to me is negligible. Not every woman still has the liberty to write, not to go outside, nor do they have the freedom to choose and be independent, even if she does, the limitations come voluntarily. You know, I know, everybody knows. But let’s just keep the topic of freedom at bay for a while. We will just talk about common sense a bit.
Before that though, let me quote something to you, “”Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri; Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha, Roopeshu lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri, Shat dharmayukta, Kuladharma Pathni’.“ By which, the saying literally means that an ideal woman should be a minister in practical affairs, a slave in action, Goddess Lakshmi in beauty, mother earth in patience and a prostitute in bed and so on. Some explanations go as far as calling that kind of a woman as an ideal wife, or more specifically an ideal housewife. The quote, though age-old is well known and I am most certain the english translation that I found comes close to perfection. Now, it should be perfect since we humans are destined to be and make everything around us perfect. Men are certainly perfect, which is why they expect the women around them to be defined by a quote written thousands of years ago; still.
Now, as I quote a scripture here, there will be few, if not many who come and contradict me, shame me, or at least say something hurtful, making my point further correct. But before you do that, remember I am a woman and women are supposed to be innocent creatures and there are certain things and certain words we are not supposed to be listening, let alone speaking. You wouldn’t want to change that, right?
Since the term ‘ideal’ is now out in the open, I expect those few to have read The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, The Gita, The million different sholakas, so they do go to their parents, touch their feet, and recite with utmost warmth, ‘Tvam-Eva Maataa Ca Pitaa Tvam-Eva | Tvam-Eva Bandhush-Ca Sakhaa Tvam-Eva | Tvam-Eva Viidyaa Dravinnam Tvam-Eva | Tvam-Eva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva ||’ So, once they do with their daily routines of respecting their parents, proving that they are ideal they go around in search of that ideal woman. They have been told what is right, and now they search for the very kind of perfection. When they can’t, that is when they start dehumanising women.I am sure they must have been told to do so, isn’t it? Somewhere, someone must have written that a man is allowed to body shame, to commodify, to humiliate a woman if at all he doesn’t find her according to his beliefs. Someone must have told him that this is right. He is right, he is perfect in shaming a woman who in the first place wasn’t even bothering her. It was her short clothes, her smoky eyes, her character, her shameless talks, her open demeanour that came in the way. I am sure that this must have been too irksome for those men, don’t you agree? The very thought that a man had to control himself when seeing a slight glimpse of a cleavage, when he heard a woman speaking of sex, when he saw her talking to a man, when he saw her smile, when he saw her bending down, when he saw her in the market byuing vegetables, or when he just saw her. I am sorry men, I am sorry oppressors that you had to go through so much.
I know, as soon as men will read this, they will scroll down at 10x speed to write on and on about how not every man is same, how every man does not humiliate women, not every man believes in the said ideal condition, not every man is so, who gives me the right to generalise men? The truth? No one. I don’t have the right to generalise them, but I do have the right to tell you how this feels. And when I say how this feels, I am in no condition telling you that this is how we feel because of you, but about those who still dishearten our beings.
Time and again I have got comments on my posts, messages and mails telling me that I am wrong in posting my views in a partial way. I am wrong in generalising, why don’t I go ahead and appreciate those few who don’t do these things instead, who don’t molest, who don’t give threats on rape, who don’t body shame, who respect women. But why am I supposed to be appreciating someone for doing what he should be doing in the first place? Does someone appreciate me when I say thank you to my dad for holding the door for me, or when I hold my brother’s hand when he is nervous, when I am sitting by my best friend when he is not feeling good, or when I do something which I did voluntarily since I was free and it will save time for someone else in my house? Aren’t we just supposed to do that? I mean do we need appreciation for breathing? I have respect for you guys, respect that you do stand up for us, for respecting us and our views, for being different. But I don’t appreciate any man in my life for not being biased, for giving me the freedom or for ‘allowing’ me to do and speak openly. I am sorry, I just don’t see the point here.
I am also sorry to those valiant women, who fought for years and years, just to make a point, to tell everyone that women don’t want much, all we care about is equality and the right to freedom. We don’t want to prove ourselves superior, we just want to breathe and think and speak as freely as men can, without the lurking fear. I am sorry to Simon de Beauvoir, to Marlene Dietrich, to Gloria Steinem, to Maya Angelou, to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, to Frida Kahlo, to Phylis Chesler, to Virgina Woolf, to Mary Ann Evans. I am sorry, we are still crawling. I am sorry we might have ‘a room of our own’ now but our bodies still don’t belong to us. I read a recent study that with the current lockdown, with the global pandemic, the birth rate in the later half of 2020 and the early half of 2021 will grow tremendously. You know why? Because, with everyone being shut down, women are more prone to domestic violence, marital rape, forced sex, and still unable to reach out to any kind of contraceptive methods. There we have it, life coming out of hate, torture and an ‘ideal’ environment. This is not specific to any single country, it happens worldwide, the stats may vary but it is still there. Don’t tell me it has come down, it might have, but what little good has been achieved cannot in any way be compared to so many gruesome acts still done.
Why just bodies? Shame can be thrown on us in so many other ways. I am sure you must have heard about the boys locker room case by now, where a few boys made an instagram group and shared nudes of women, threatened women for rape, body shamed them. Lets just not consider why and how, just tell me if at all there is any possible reason which gave them the right to do that?
Anyways, this is just another outburst, a flood, an angry wave. It will pass, and things will go back to as they were. Few women will agree here, few men will say ‘respect’, few as already mentioned will tell me how I am not supposed to generalise, few will bring forward the myth about sisterhood, few will say we should keep fighting. I still won’t ever understand. Why am I supposed to fight? Exactly, what am I fighting for? Now, someone will come and point out that women have to fight because we want to see the change. No, my dear friend, we fight and we will fight, but unless sisterhood becomes real, and men change themselves we will not see the change.
As I mention change, many men have talked to me about the indifferences done to them, for not being able to cry in public, for being the sole bread-winner, for not being able to dress certainly, and so much more. It took years to bring into notice what we went through and we keep going through, but now even you want to do those things, which in the first place you were the one who prohibited it. Remember, it was not a woman who made these rules, we didn’t have any liberty back then, men were the ones who made those societal norms and now men are the ones who want to break them. By all means break them, we have no problem with that. You give us a lot less credit than we deserve, we are far more open minded than you think us to be. By all means go ahead and cry in public, mark my words, there will be a woman by your side, comforting you, while a man may be laughing at you. You want that to change, so be it, we are far more adaptive and flexible, we will accept these changes sooner than you think. The only question is when will you change yourself?
My dear ones, there is a thing called equality, justice, honesty, all of it is beautiful. Accept it and make the society somewhat of a saner place. We are not doing ourselves any favor currently. We do not want to be called the inferior or the superior sex. Among men and women, we are just equal, both are just another sex, both beautiful, botht equal, none should have to fight for the basic liberty, none should have to fear the other.
Remember, if so, beauty will no longer be forbidden.