A woman is protected in every society, yet the same woman is prone to multiple perils generated through that same society. It is a strange paradox. On one side, we wish to protect women in our family from the harms that may fall upon them infringing their dignity. On the other side, we behave totally opposite and consider women from outside our families as objects of pleasure and products of utility.
Sometimes, I feel that we do not care about their dignity, it is more about our respect in society as it would raise questions about our masculinity and our ability to protect ‘our women’. The term ‘our women’ here postulates a trade-in-relationship, where the terminology indirectly infers that we are the guardians and they are the subjects. More than a duty to protect, we see it as our ‘right’ to protect them. In this trade of relationship, we possess this ‘right to protect’ them and in return they are expected to abide by the incognisant rules that we make in routine life like self-delegated legislations.
What is the reason behind this hypocritical behaviour? I am sure anthropologists and psychoanalysts would find the reasons to justify this diseased thinking through a diagnostic-test but diagnosis is different from the solution. It can merely help in finding the solution. Continuing with today’s trend, I see people equating diagnosis with justification and end up concluding the same diagnosis as the solution. I would not like to raise this issue at this moment but I would certainly ask people for some introspection regarding the point I am making.
I see day after day, group of men, irrespective of the class or other identities, looking for opportunities to dominate the other gender in whatever possible way, if not just physical domination. I could never see it earlier because it has been normalised through the use of education and societal acceptance of this morbid behaviour as a ‘bitter truth’. If you don’t accept it, you’re labelled as impractical. Even I have been an obedient child of this indoctrination of what I may call ‘favour-based-approach’ to women rights and safety. By favour-based-approach, I mean that we are taught to consider the other gender as equal (only in areas of comfortable coexistence). It is something like advancing a favour, not as a matter of right or reality. We are taught to treat them as equals, not the fact that they are equal.
As a child, I grew up in a democratic structure of a nuclear family, where I seldom observed male domination, so I could never really relate to what the feminists were asking for. I could never see why they were asking for recognition of equality, when, in fact, they were treated equally at my home. I used to think that the feminist cause is raised by women belonging to those families where they were subjugated since birth or later. I questioned the lack of moral and traditional values within that family than accepting the truth that in fact, these traditions were built around the caveat regarding women being equal. Later I started to see that discriminations are a reality, even in families where the women seem to be in a dominant position. They may not be highlighted enough to be seen through a translucent shade of reality, but stereotypical terminologies often used in euphemisms point towards such undesirable discriminations.
Till recently, I used to believe that I do not need to be an active supporter of women’s rights and their quest to revive the natural equality because I am gender neutral in personal life and women in my family would not face such discrimination because of the same reason. But I forgot that each morning, I’d have to open the door and enter into an increasingly globalised world which is not as rosy as I deem it to be and it is not morally in sync with my values and beliefs. So, this active support for women’s rights is to secure my doors and the streets where female members of my family would walk each day. It is my duty to make this walk as safe, as free and as blissful as they walk in the lobby of my home. It is not for them only, but for my own satisfaction too, because after all, we are all selfish.