By Shreya Garg
Evolution with time is a continuous process. A headway towards egalitarianism or feminism has gained traction, more so, in recent times. But how much of an individual’s conscience and understanding of the concept of feminism has contributed to the making of a world of equals needs to be questioned.
FEMINISTS: LEGIT OR IN THE MAKING?
In an age where various frantic hashtags and movements have been dedicated to the cause of feminism, one wonders if the ones who claim to be feminist are truly the legit ones, and not in the run up to becoming one. This misgiving arises for the big question mark that looms over as to what happens to the years of conditioning and understanding that has nurtured our perceptions to view the binary of men and women in our society?
POSITIVE CHANGE BUT POSITIVE ENOUGH?
We have always been a society where women have been long suppressed and oppressed. However, with time people change primarily due to the influences that their experience in the past had on them. One always tends to make mental note of injustices done to them to make sure that their next generation doesn’t get the same treatment. Perhaps this is why, people’s bitter experiences make them a bit more lax and giving in their relationship to other people. The pertinent question is can they qualify themselves as an equal opportunity giver?
Positive changes are there in plenty yet are the changes adequate enough for women to rejoice, feel grateful, fulfilled and maybe truly liberated? Many a times, the hope to solace comes from the circumstantial history of ancestors. It serves as a reminder that their present situation is much more palatable. But is this feminism all about? Shouldn’t it be about egalitarianism instead of making do with the existing circumstances? For how long, after all, do we intend to make do? Women get so complacent with the little freedom granted by men or society, at large, that they do not even think let alone fight for their rights. Granted word is cardinal here; it serves a connotation of its own. Period spent rejoicing on small freedoms also happens to be a bout of another infliction and deprivation, of less grave nature, and perhaps not even palpable to some. What could be worse than a suffering which is anonymous in nature at the time, but a source of agony when seen in hindsight?
GENESIS OF ESSENCE OF WOMANHOOD
Some say women only become stumbling stones to a level-playing field between women and men. One wonders if it holds true and if so, then what could be the plausible reasons for it. It could be attributed to the years of forced ascetism, early on in their lives, which has corroborated their belief system to an extent that they actually begin to glorify their subjugated lives and give it a meaning, that is, the essence of womanhood. Hence, the explanation of existing role-playing with women in the most stereotypical fashion.
COMPASSION HELPS, UNDERMINING THE SUFFERING DOESN’T
Victimhood doesn’t necessarily help one in understanding that a crime of a less grave nature is a crime only. Although we are becoming more aware, and hence realizing the importance of parity with changing times but then why is the change so little and made in installments? Developments are generally made with an idea or goal in mind. One would hope that the progress made so far have a long term goal to be achieved. Then why shall there be any resistance to further positive changes? The evolution is more a product of necessity driven change. Here, the necessity stems partly from a high awareness quotient in the social milieu, with social media changing the whole ball game. It is not stemming, so much so, from the humans conscience and understanding of the goodwill of feminism. It explains why our ancestors think we are way better off than they were. This also leads to them becoming an obstruction in the way to progress, for our problems are negated before their graver ordeals. Here is how one can realize that the understanding of equality is lost on many of us. For instance, today people are increasingly realizing that education for a girl child is essential. However, we have still not achieved a majoritarian view of making girls independent and empowered, for we still do stipulate the ‘no job’ and other clauses. This is just one small example among many other small and big ones. So while there is some reason to rejoice but, some reason to worry as well.
IMPACT OF CONDITIONING ON HUMAN MIND
They say years of conditioned attitudes and belief structure makes a person who he is. It could possibly not be easy for people conditioned with stereotypical beliefs, with respect to the quintessential archaic position of women in a society, to really recuperate from their years of well-nurtured regressive beliefs. One of the major reasons for the not-so-massive success of the feminist movement is owing to the long standing notion of men on how they longed, prefigured and desired their kind of ideal woman. It’s obvious that the ideal woman was uniformly the coy, meek, and a submissive one. Their substance was determined based on their perseverance, patience, and ability to put up with grave atrocities and blatant inequalities. It just so happened that men found their empowerment from their timidity. However, a conditioned mindset brings along with it certain deep-rooted notions which if challenged would perhaps enable a person to give in to the inevitable demands of the current environment but with a lingering feeling of disenchantment.
CHANGE IN POWER DYNAMICS
With changing times, one good thing has happened, that is, people have started talking more openly about things which were once considered off limits. Now women want to feel empowered and carve their own identities. With power dynamics changing in the relationship between opposite sex partners diametrically, some men find themselves unable to cope with the sudden inexplicable demands and fury of hitherto long subjugated women yet, they give in. Why should they give in at all? Well because so far women have been granted certain freedom with changing times. But women demand some right for themselves too, and now they happen to be the ones who cut some slack to men. The realization that they had let their individualities go for a toss is what compounds the anger in the lives of long submissive women.
This is the thing with inexplicable fury – a product of belated realization. It confuses the mind of the recipient and makes the giver look like a rebel without a cause. Anyway a rebel is a rebel and with inexplicable sudden fury as its befuddling weapon it has somewhat got what it wanted, but not with an open heart. The response of the society, as a whole, can be best termed as duplicitous.
BELATED REALIZATION SHOULDN’T BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST
One could only hope that people truly understand the reasons behind the sudden fury, for it’s a big blow to anyone to discover how they themselves abided by a set of misplaced and non-questioned existing notions for a good amount of their life only to discover how colossally wrong they were. It simply hurts, and their problem is compounded on seeing how they have set a pattern of living for themselves. Seeking to grow out of an existing pattern is not very easy, one is questioned and made to feel helpless. It’s never too late to stand for what one believes in. Ironically, first we don’t let women grow empowered, and when they seek empowerment much later in their lives, they’re met with an accusatorial response. The blame is pinned down to women only for their belated realization. Realization for a right thing, be it advanced or belated realization, should never be discriminated against, and rather given due importance.
Shreya Garg has written features on various noted authors like Shashi Tharoor, Madhavi Menon and Manu Joseph. As a post graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication she likes to communicate through her writings with the masses. Observation based writing is her forte.