Understanding Feminism goes beyond the call for equality! It should bring about a revolution of change in due course of time because we are dealing with a cultural issue that is rooted in attitudes since time immemorial. Therefore, we need real action that can shake people, make them aware of our situation! Women before our time were willing and mute volunteers to subjugation. Times have changed and women are no longer restricted to the periphery of life’s opportunities. We have women who juggle career and household chores perfectly. Yes, we can multi-task. Nevertheless, we are still preys to eve-teasing and sexual harassment outdoors. So what do we do? Has Feminism identified the core issues at hand? We don’t stare at a man with a bare chest but a woman can’t grant herself with such freedom. Why? Because off late media has propagated the notion that women are nothing more than sex symbols and it is only fair that men leer at us and pass lurid comments and even dare to rape those among us. Often those causing us offense aren’t aware of what they are doing, that it is wrong! I say this is where Feminism should act at its zenith to uproot this very notion from the mindset of society, specially in the wake of recent events that has caused much horror and ambiguity of what exactly does a woman mean to a man? Feminism is not about proving that women are better than men, but about letting the world know that we can stand along with them shoulder to shoulder. What are we doing about this?
The Delhi gang rape that fueled so much rage across the country has died down. She was called India’s daughter. Her story needs to be retold and this novel task was undertaken by the South African playwright Yael Farber. The play Nirbhaya is now being played in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore after a successful run in Britain. Farber uses theater here, as the medium of expression to convey her message, through the live testimonies of Indian women who were prey to sexual violence. This is how we bring our rage and protests against such atrocities into action otherwise they will wane. This will move people I am sure , will help them realize that our freedom is our birthright. So many women silence themselves when they are exposed to sexual violence for fear of shame and guilt, worse they fear if they will be blamed. This is common practice in Indian culture where purity of a woman is heralded holy and pure. Unless and until we break this traditional perspective and end the blame game, sexual violence is sure to thrive. A female actor may do provocative roles because she chooses it and her profession calls for it but she does not send the message that she is inviting men to take her for granted when she isn’t working. Are we that immature and insensitive not to realize the differences that lie between drama and life? There should be a mutual agreement between man and woman on terms of how to live/survive cordially and that makes a civilized society. It is the day and age of globalization and developments which should also show in our attitudes and mannerisms. Developments should work the right way and every man and woman should cooperate and participate. It should show in our moral ethics, principles, actions and thoughts. The perpetrators of December 16,2012 crime is proof that we aren’t humane. Enforcing dress codes and curfews on women is not the right solution and crying out to be better than the other isn’t right either. Our policies and actions , be it a man or a woman , need to be humanitarian. That is the call of the hour, and that is the call of Feminism.
————- ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This article is contributed by Sheryl Thomas, our intern. Sheryl finished her Masters in English from Pondicherry University. She writes because she can’t express otherwise. Like various other girls, she is not allowed to come out openly about certain things because it’s a taboo. But she turns out to be a fighter out of all those girls and joins hands with Respect Women to let the World know more about Violence against Women.