Since we live in a perfectly patriarchal society, one keeps coming across sexist remarks and incidents. The latest one was pulled by a restaurant‘Imperfecto’ in upscale market of Hauz Khas Village (HKV) in Delhi. The restaurant, in the name of light humour, had written on their signboard,“We don’t serve women, you must bring your own”. Well, complementing its name, the staff at Imperfecto has an imperfect, rather a poor sense of humour. Now they might excuse themselves by saying that it was just a joke, and all the feminists out there are being such killjoys, but we must remember that something is joked around only when we already believe in it to some extent; that’s what makes it laughable.
Many of us are regulars at HKV and totally love the place, but incidents like this remind us that misogyny can hit you right in the face anytime, even when you are walking among “nice and educated” people. When we talk of hi-end urban areas of India, it’s no longer about inequality in education or health, but of psychological inequality. Despite their qualifications, women are generally viewed as an exotic assembly of breasts, long legs and a vagina. The onus is totally on the women to repeatedly prove that she can be more than that.
Men are just not ready to treat women as an equal human being. Many of them think that, since they “allow” their wives to work, they support female rights. I wish somebody would ask them that who gave them the ‘right to allow’ at first place? In an another case, many of them blatantly say that females should stay away from cigarettes while it’s completely okay for males to smoke, citing all the medical reasons for how smoking is more harmful for females. Of course, it’s more injurious to the health of females, but it’s not like it’s doing any health wonders for males. These double standards remind me of an amazing quote I read somewherethat “Privilege is something when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally”. Either one should be completely against smoking for both the genders or openly accept the practice of smoking, but this time also for both the sexes.
We all are the product of society and culture we are born into, and our patriarchal setup has ensured that we see inheritance privileges, lineage and funeral rights as something naturally reserved for men. On April 2, a woman sarpanch in Chhattisgarh, Geeta Prahlad, had to pay with her life for fulfilling her mother’s last wish. Geeta’s mother, who was kicked out of the house by his son 22 years ago,lived with Geeta and wanted her to perform the last rites. Her elder brother, Santosh, for whom his mother was as good as dead all these years, suddenly felt that he was deprived of his funeral rights which our so called society has conferred on him.To take revenge and feed his big ego, he took it upon himself to murder his younger sister brutally, shouting at the same time that it was his right to perform the last rites. It is disappointing that economic and political independence is not sufficient to save women from the clutches of male chauvinism.
This rampant gender inequality refuses to die down because it is carefully nurtured by the well-heeled people. Even some sections of media explicitly indulge in sexism, because all they have got to talk about is Deepika’s cleavage or Kate Middleton’s upskirt. Times of India (TOI) either has an absolute dearth of meaningful news or an army of seriously sexist journalists, as they end up putting ‘Kate’s Marilyn moment at India gate’ on the front page shamelessly. After all, who cares about a lady paying respects at Amar Jawan Jyoti when her skirt does the magic for perverts in us. At the same time, it’s interesting how Kate gets criticized for everything from her skirt to her unpedicured toes, while Prince William manages to escape such inspection.
Last year also, TOI had printed something like “Deepika’s cleavage show”, circling and pointing arrows at Deepika Padukone’s cleavage. The actress was smart enough to retaliate in her Facebook post, that her reel life must be differentiated from her real life and if media doesn’t zoom in on a man’s crotch, the whymust a woman be subjected to such scrutiny? Art can demand an actress to be a Goddess, and the same art can demand her to be a prostitute, we must recognize the fact they are real human beings and that they have a life outside their profession. It’s time we gave the much needed respect that our women deserve, irrespective of their profession, religion and economic backgrounds.
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