Archive for the Feminism Category

PM Modi on Rape Cases: Correct Sons, Don’t Question Daughters

Posted in Feminism, Social, Women with tags , , , , , on August 15, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Certainly sounds good.  Brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend yesterday.  She has a daughter who studies in a premier professional institute in Bangalore.  The girl lives in a hostel and is doing her post-graduation.  Just as we were sitting and chatting, she received a call from the daughter asking her to call the warden of the hostel immediately and inform her that the girl was coming home for the weekend.

I was shocked.  The girl is 22 – the average age of the hostelites doing post-graduation in the institute.  Legally speaking, she is an adult.  She is well above the age of consent.  It is not as if the hostel would take any tangible responsibility if something “wrong” were to happen to her during day time or within the confines of the hostel.  Nothing they do could change anything in any case.  So how can they curtail her freedom of movement to the extent of her going home to her mother (just a few kms from the hostel btw) over the weekend and insist she be back in the hostel by 9 pm?  

Anyone could call up and inform the warden that her daughter was coming home.  How are they going to check out the veracity each and every time?  It is not as if those girls who are determined to have a “good time” don’t despite all these restrictions.

Shame that we don’t treat our daughters as anything more than a piece of flesh to be kept “protected” from the big bad wolves while we allow those wolves to roam free anytime of day or night.

Mr. Modi, can you do anything to forbid hostels from imprisoning our daughters?


“I Apologize”. Is That Enough?

Posted in Feminism, Social, Women on August 12, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Very frankly, I am not even sure about what to think about this video which I came across today. Don’t know how this will help reduce the incidence of rape in the country. People who rape are not so sensitive as to get enlightened by a video of this kind.

It surely highlights a problem to people who are not so aware of what goes on in this country. Beyond that I don’t know what else it will achieve. Going by the comments, both positive as well as negative, I get an increasing feeling that just “apologizing” does not accomplish anything. Will these people gang up together next time they see a woman being targeted in any way on the streets, at work, in the home ….. ? Will they beat up the perpetrators in public without “fearing” for their own lives?

Will they stand up against the kind of social injustice meted out to 99% women including their own wives and daughters at home and in society in the name of “culture, traditions, the glorious Indian self-sacrificing women and patriarchy”? If they will, I would say this video has been worth the while; if not, it is just one more video which doles out patronizing words of sympathy to women.

Defining Feminism

Posted in Feminism, Social, Women on March 3, 2014 by swatiaiyer

This is the month when the world celebrates “women’s day”.  GBs and reams have been dedicated to issues concerning women as well as to their problems.  After all this, one wonders whether women in some parts of the world really have any reason to celebrate their womanhood.

Without harping on the issues which are widely discussed, I want to focus on a relatively new problem faced by women.  We talk of equality, freedom and liberation from the shackles to which society has bound us.  Feminists – a much maligned lot – are doing all they can to better the lot of women.  But are they achieving what they are trying to?

Blog after blog, post after post and various women’s sites are witness to women coming in reporting their disillusionment with their situation in life.  Educated, working, earning, playing the roles of dils, wives and mothers to the hilt, having their money taken away by ILs, not being allowed to take care of their own parents, being forced to either give up their jobs to take care of children or worse still having to balance work, home and kids with little help and a lot of taunts ……  it is all there.  Nothing changes.

YET whenever a stay at home mom or a home maker comes and complains about her issues with life, the first question she is asked by other women is “why did you get into an arranged marriage, why are you not working, why does your husband have to earn for you, do you think what he goes through being saddled with a wife and having to earn for the family single handedly” ……. 

I shall not even get into the topic of arranged marriages here as that is a subject for another discussion altogether.

While I can understand that a truly liberated, self-sufficient woman MUST be able to earn and stand on her own feet, my question is are we still at that stage?  Are we in a situation where working women stay unmarried, single or in an equal relationship?  Do they really get respect for their abilities and for their individuality?  As things stand today, all I see is that women are being caught between the devil and the deep sea – very few choose or have a third option open to them.  They are probably in a worse situation than their grand mothers who were financially dependent, had no other life or options beyond home and family, but it ended there.  They were not in a situation where they had to be superwomen and achievers while living the same life of drudgery and slavery which many women of today live.  All we seem to have achieved so far (EXCEPT for a small percentage of women) is that women have ended up in a position where their education and work are being used to exploit them further.

Under these situations, is it fair that we women who fight for the rights of under privileged women add insult to their injuries with our words?  Are we not putting the cart before the horse in demanding that women must work without sorting out the ground issues?

My second question is how do we define “equality”?  Does this have to be 1:1 equality?  Is that really reasonable?  Why can’t women, in the face of their biological differences continue to play a nurturing role while demanding respect and value for that COMPLEMENTARY ROLE?  Why should running a home, looking after family and kids be considered demeaning?  It is one thing going out and working because one wants to, or because the family requires it financially (in which case, she better be treated well and fairly) and another matter having to go out and work just to make a statement.  

Why should home makers be considered unequal?  What is the use of marriage if one’s contribution to society and family are not acknowledged to be as important as going out and raking in the moolah?  Why do we (men and women) have to lose out on real “home life” simply because everyone has to go out and earn just to be acknowledged as “equals”?  All of us require a safe haven in our lives to return to at the end of the day – we call them homes – and in providing this, women need to be given their due acknowledgement and be compensated in terms of emotional and financial security – after all if they had gone out to work during that time, they would not have been available at home to provide that comfort to all concerned.  To my way of thinking, equality would be admitting that they work 24X7 in various roles / designations.  This needs to be recognized and all family members need to pitch in to help her out when they are not out working.  The home needs to be recognized as the woman’s “work place” and not as a hideout or a route of escape and free loading on her part.

It would be nice to share some ideas towards sorting out this grid lock to ensure that women lead better existences in the decades to come.

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