“Human behavior flows out of three main sources: Desire, Emotion and Knowledge” – said once by the great laureate Plato.
Herein the gravity and relativity of the statement is because of this word – Human Behavior. Human behavior is inevitably salient to any society. It determines the mood, the structure of development, crime rate, et al in there. But then how do we scrutinize it in the backdrop of women? If human behavior is contingent upon desire, emotion or knowledge, how real are the parameters in the women’s world. Do we need feminism?
Desire – Should Women Bother To Have One?
Let’s start with desire! I, Charvi, have always had this incessant desire to walk by the beach, alone, where tranquility blends with the serenity of the full moon only to help me reflect upon my life, relish self-indulgence. But what are the odds of actual execution? I guess less than 30 percent. For I would be pulled back by fear of getting raped, abducted, trafficked and God knows what not!
A walk by the beach is a grain of a problem in the ocean of impediments. How free are women to pursue their desire? For it’s our desires and decisions, successively that determine our role in the society. More grievous and ubiquitous case in India, at least, is that of disallowing a woman to marry at an age she desires to. Other such examples being that of sabotaging desires to education, higher education, education of desired subjects and of all, practice an occupation desired for. It is true, nonetheless, that not all humans are free to pursue their desires. Men often have their own inhibitions too. But somehow, on quantification of these inhibitions we realized that the inhibitions of women outweigh that of men. Moreover the patriarchal setup allowing men to enunciate women’s desires is all the more infuriating. Does it propel the need for feminism?
And this is the problem. How can it be solved?
It’s time we give back fundamental rights of women to them; without enwrapping it in any sort of social Ponzi scheme. Ownership of their lives needs to be put back in their own hands. That doesn’t just limit to delineation of policies wherein under the administration allows women to exercise their rights, but also establishment of a mechanism wherein under women are facilitated an access to the same. To elucidate, let’s consider the case of education for women. It’s not for the government to simply allow girl child education, but they also need to set up schools within the reachable limits of the girls for the purpose. That is on the government’s part. On our part, as a society, we need to relax the stringent social norms governing the mobility of women/girls. The effort has to be a combination of administrative assistance to social efforts.
Do We Need Feminism?
Quickly moving over to my next contention. The mother of the havoc here is discrimination. Identification of discrimination is of principle importance here. Often in our day-to-day lives we miss to notice small actions which are actually discriminatory in nature. Those are the seeds to the fruition of absence of gender neutrality. We need to step out of our current socially conditioned minds, look at men and women objectively without any bias and analyze. On analysis, one would realize that women are treated entirely differently from men in identical situations. Such surmise by the society is astounding as much as irrational.
“Identification of discrimination”, “gender neutrality”… Big, vital words, however not knocking in a lot of sense? I will take the liberty to use exemplification to my rescue, best tool available to mankind to put a point across!
A woman is given six months of maternity leave upon conceiving and for delivering a baby. However, a man is not allowed leave for more than a month on becoming a father. Such practice, very subtle though, perpetuates the idea that rearing a child is intrinsically a woman’s job and a man observes minimal participation. It further foists the concept of – home being the realm of the women over her workplace thereby confirming the roles that society has imposed upon men and women. This set up disallows the freedom to exercise choices. Do we really need feminism to turn things around?
To conclude, we’d say we desire to propagate equality of sexes/genders and not feminism. Although, we use the word feminism in the light of the disadvantaged position that women hold in real. When one speaks of equality, one mustn’t overlook intelligible differentia. The disadvantaged(women) has to be brought up to the level of the advantaged(men) first, and it’s after that the neutral practices should be unleashed upon the sexes, and hence the privileges and the reservation. Feminism is a stride to attain the juxtaposition with men in order to achieve gender neutrality. It needs to be understood that the role of women cannot be negotiated, neither should that of men. And hence a woman’s role has to confine to whatever she wants it to be without a set of fixed norms governing the same.
This article is written by Charvi Rajput with Palashi Vaghela, who is an engineer in Information Communication & Technology and aspires to research in the field of science, technology and society. After a stint at Delloite as an analyst, she’s currently working with a Delhi based NGO named ‘Feminist Approach towards Technology’. She calls herself a curious little soul scurrying around for answers.
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