Well to begin with the topic, this is the first kind of attempt by me, to pen down my expressions, understanding on the subject. Though feminism and related issues are vast topics, which require both theoretical and practical knowledge to underneath the depth of the subject, there are hundreds of examples occur around woman that pretty effortlessly explain issues pertaining to women and her status in the society. Perhaps this piece is what I have felt and understood by observing and seeing dimensions of individual, institution and public towards women.
Women, who today share half of the population of the world is still endeavouring hard to record presence with lion’s share in the long lived patriarchy society. Women’s identity to a large extent has been subjected in a very cosmetic manner. Words use to define women are beautiful, quite, cultural and virgin. Here I would be particularly talking of the Indian system and society as I have seen much of it around like every woman. It has been once said that man can either love woman or change her into poetry. That is what the frame women had been restricted to for a long period of time. And not to forget that men can also do most gruesome, atrocious acts against women at their will.
Women have been handed over with her civil and political rights very lately. In United Stated of America women were given right to cast vote only in 1929 where as the country attained freedom in 1764. In our country too women have been given her rights very lately. These civil and political powers perhaps were not that easy to achieve. Feminists and social activists have struggled long for this and are still pressing for basic human rights.
It is true that notion of word ‘woman’ in image of the opposite sex is entirely different from what feminists, activists, girls or women think. Role of women from ages has been prescribed by men. It is interesting to observe that sexuality of woman has been subjected to her existence and practices in the society. Woman has been so created that she gives birth to offspring through sexual relation with a man. Building family, community, nation and so on have stood through this mechanism. These domains with their counterparts struggle to maintain existence and superiority over each other. In such a case controlling woman’s this nature was the main aim of the patriarchy society. Religion, traditions, rituals have been stringently used to enforce this. And as it has been said ‘God is for man and religion is for woman’ apprehension seems very much true.
If we closely upbringing and conditioning of girl child right from the day she is born has been so done to restrict her from using her sexuality in her very own means. Fidelity and purity of women is so associated with her sexuality and more over ‘virginity’. A girl is termed as the izzat, laaj (honour) of the family, as if fathers and brothers of the family are shame to the family. If a character of a boy depends upon whether he smokes or drinks, character of a girl is epitomized with whether she is virgin or not or whether she faults around with her male companions. There has never been commotion of boy being a virgin or not.
The point I am trying to raise is why words like honour, character and good woman are used to embody her being sexually explicit or a virgin. I wonder how huge disparity has prevailed over centuries between man and woman, which till today continue to remain stagnant. I strongly feel that the institution of marriage is the chief vehicle in our society to maintain dominance over women. Women from ages have lived in a pit where she wishfully accepts the male hegemony as she thinks following man’s world is her utmost duty. It is not the fault of woman of but the whole system, which conditions a girl child to behave in that pattern. Wherein, the relationship of a husband and wife, it is through role of wife that her oppression is maintained
What exactly is morality? Nobody objected to these pubs or liquor shops as long as men were their only patrons, and it is these very men who were creating and being a nuisance to the society and a threat to their women. Is it okay for the men to ill treat their women, rape, molest and abuse them as they wish? The Mangalore incident where some women were molested by "self proclaimed" keepers of Indian morality - The Sri Ram Sena. I am afraid that the politicians are trying to get the "Taliban" regime into India in the pretext of religion, Hindu and Muslim. It is shocking and not acceptable to the women of India.The moral frameworks do need to change in order to incorporate the moral experiences and intuitions of women. I see the point of difference lying in the fact that males and females are socialized differently, and taught to strive to represent different kinds of virtues. People need not to think in deepth on women issues or read books on feminism. It is just that we have to raise questions, express the unexpressed. As endurance of larger part of a society is not a quality of humanity.
Arpita Sarkar was student of Mass Communication Department (2007-09) and presently working as a reporter in THE PIONEER( BHOPAL)