Have you ever seen or did yourself thank men for basic household chores that are unnoticed if done by a woman? Do you feel less respected in the public sphere than men around you? Do people doubt your earnings for your spouse or Do you ever pretend like your spouse is earning while you are the bread earner?
I have seen women thanking men for the bare minimum that goes unnoticed when done by women. I have seen women working in the same profession as men and still doing household chores after the job alone. I have seen women hiding the fact that they are the bread earners to let men feel good about their fragile masculinity. I have seen women sharing credit for what is truly hers. I have seen women apologetic about their sexual needs and I have seen women denied equality to preserve the culture we live in. Women all around the world are apologetic about being feminists. For what lies in our lives is inequality and we are expected to accept it with honour. Women makeup to 52% of the world’s population and yet they do not occupy even a quarter of leadership roles in society. What we see around us is under-representation and disrespect for women by our society. A recent documentary by ‘scoop whoop’ showed the mindset of people of Haryana, a state in India about rape. People across the world with all kinds of identities believe that it is the fault of the women who were raped. Rape survivors are looked down upon and their life is a question of dignity. The question for us as a society is that is our dignity and honour so small that it resides in a woman’s vagina?
The story is indeed deeper than what we see. Women are questioned about their marital status in society, family, and even at jobs and a lot of women prefer saying they are married to escape harassment or uncomfortable situations. The world that we are living in is unequal towards women. The fundamental upbringing of girls and boys explain the inequality we live with. Parents are more comfortable with boys losing virginity or having a girlfriend than their daughters, girls are expected to learn cooking and help in household chores to be more ‘marriage-like material’ and if we believe women are born with cooking skills, why are there more male chefs?
Women in society are looked upon as mothers while there’s nothing wrong in being mothers, in many societies women are only seen as mothers and their fundamental role as upbringing children. While women are capable of giving birth to a child and men are physically stronger in the criteria and tools we have to study physical strength, it does not make all men responsible for protecting women and all women to carry children. Women can choose to become anything that they want and being mothers is not their duty but choice.
Marriages in our society are not looked at as partnerships or legal contracts in which both men and women play an equal role rather women are raised to believe they need to marry to acquire freedom, to become complete and their life goal is made to become a marriage like material. What makes it complicated is the idea of marriage as an institution that even discriminates in a contract and results in creating a society where women are looked down upon and where crime and violence against women are fundamentally okay.
The question as citizens, parents, educators, and role models we need to ask is are we creating a society that gives blank slate to every child and does not make them look down upon their dreams for their gender? Are we as women creating a place for people and children that are equal and feministic in its approach? As parents, we are a part of the first society for children because, when children experience unequal distribution of labour at home, disrespect for women at home and a home where gender decides role, a child will fundamentally believe that the world outside is unequal and she/he/they will become a part of this system rather than creating a world with equality.
If a girl still believes it is her moral duty to give up on her dreams to marry or to raise children, we as a society are failing. As humans, we need to question patriarchy and learn how it is creating a discriminatory world for us. As humans, it is important to leave the shallow masculinity behind our thoughts and an open mind for an equal world of opportunities for all sex. If you still believe that the world we are living in is equal and our culture is threatened by equality then you need to observe your surroundings and read the truth of the lives. The society we have created is constantly evolving because we constitute this society and what we have changed by far is because our ancestors were feminists. I certainly can not speak for everyone and the generation before mine has given us a world that we can pass on with more equality and inclusiveness. When our generation gets the choice to choose our professions there’s a deeper question that forms our life, are we feminists?
‘Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.’
B.A. (Hons.) Global Affairs
O.P Jindal Global University