Generally, I find feminists’ beating of drums a niusance that women don’t have equal rights as men or women are oppressed in this society. I propose, rather, that you have to fight for your rights; nobody will serve them in a platter, we all have to make our own niche, sometimes forcibly even; else nobody cares about you. Besides the gross statistics of crime against women, I feel men deserve more consideration who shoulder most of the responsibilities and also, put up with the financial and societal pressures. But let’s not elaborate on this more, lest I am labelled ‘blasphemous’ by feminists’ lexicon. Rather, I’ll plunge to my real point.
So yeah I will start with narrating a short story. A cousin of mine once told me that she has a friend, belonging to a fine family, quite educated, and good-natured. The friend had a proposal. The guy’s family came to visit her house, scrutinized her, had a tea-party, but decided not to pursue further. When asked the ground of their decision against her, the guy’s family replied succinctly, “we didn’t like girl’s arms, looked masculine”. Actually, the girl was in sports and liked swimming. Downright preposterous! Right? Yet, these are the absurdities associated with marriage in our society.
I am talking about those pompous ‘larkay ki ammas’ who play on their sons’ leverage, thinking their son is sent from above and hence, deserves a heavenly girl. The manner they carry themselves, examining the minute details from A to Z is horrendous and laughable at the same time. I know an aunty who actually visited ten to fifteen girls for her son before consenting to (read ‘conceding to’) the last one. This culture exactly reminds me of Jews when God asked them to slaughter a cow for Him. People often treat prospective girls for their sons the same way Bani Israel questioned about the cow. Starting from her age, complexion, height, physique, family background, education, character, etc and etc everything about her suddenly become so terribly important. Everything should be perfect and should meet their archetype image of a girl.
The way marriages are mostly brought about in our society, I consider, is bizarre. By saying this, I am in no way trying to undermine the arrange marriage system, but rather question its complexities. What I find odd is that why does the guy’s family have the upper hand in arranging marriage? Why they only have the authority to make the proposal to girl’s family and not vice versa. This is not just a custom but rather it is the strong, powerful mindset behind it which lends more clout to a boy’s family and subordinates the girl’s. It is the outlook which states that women should be meek and at the disposal of men so that the rule of men is not threatened. It is the approach which seeks to strengthen men and make women vulnerable. Yet the irony is that this mindset is propagated and sustained by women and through women.
Hence, the entire furore by the feminists against the patriarch cal society is in vain because it is women themselves who presuppose the secondary status, considering it is better for them, making the society more male-dominated. The solution to bring men and women against each other only aggravates the situation because firstly, they are essentially different, and secondly, it is like defiance of womanhood which is a superficial way to elevate the position of women.
What is rather needed is the shift of paradigm because that alone is the first step towards change. If there is a capacity to kill, there is a capacity to die and that is exactly what applies here. Women should understand that they would continue to be oppressed unless they don’t want to, and that they can determine their position and role independent of men.
At the end, a quote by Martha Graham for women: You are unique and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost.
Also published in Dawn Review