Women, stop hating other women
It was a lovely spring afternoon; the afternoon sun was shining down on the living room wrapped in pale green tones. They were sipping Grape and Lime Mojito and talking about how a certain Mrs M did a great job in bringing to fore the issue of women safety in her popular column. To which Mrs M delightfully replied “ Oh! Yeah…that’s an issue that’s very close to my heart. After all, I am a woman and I feel for every woman who has suffered due to not- enough safety measures.” After taking a short breath she continued “Do you know I saw Mrs N’s younger daughter in a short red skirt hanging out with her friends? How does she allow her daughter to wear such dresses when there’s a predator lurking in every corner of the city?
This is where I hear the record scratch! Wait, what? These are women who talk about women’s safety and women emancipation but belong to that school of thought which believes that when a woman does something “wrong” ( the definition of wrong varies from wearing short skirts in a pub to leaving office at 3 am by herself) she has to be punished and she can’t complain about it. I know I am going to receive some flak from the feminists but I really have to say this – before we start expecting men to respect women, women should have respect for other women.
After the Delhi rape case there were many women who suggested helpful tips for women to protect themselves like not going out with strangers, going home straight from college or school. I don’t know why someone didn’t come up with a set of steps men can take to prevent sexual violence. I am glad that someone in Australia did it. Check the booklet.
Majority of women in India are happy to accept that they are second class citizens. They happily accept that they don’t deserve the best; in fact they are content with the leftovers. And the sad part is they encourage such attitude! It’s not an exaggeration because it happens – at breakfast table, the mother serves fresh parathas to her son whereas the daughter has the yesterday’s leftover food. The son scores 60% in his exams and the mother distributes sweets in the neighborhood; the daughter scores 90% here’s what the mother has to say “kya kar legi itna marks lakar…shaadi ke bad to khana hi banana hay” (What will she do with 90%? After marriage she has to spend her time in the kitchen). Why still most women (even the educated ones, coming from well-to-do families) can’t raise their daughters as human beings ( I didn’t say sons purposefully here)? Why can’t mothers raise their daughters with a sense of entitlement? Even today in most households in India, a mother will get a shock of her life if she hears her daughter asking the son of the family to go to kitchen and prepare tea for her. Yes, making tea is women’s work and giving the orders to prepare tea is men’s work. Simple, isn’t it? No it’s not simple; it’s called transmitting misogynistic values. It’s deeply rooted in our culture and will take time to change. But we have to begin somewhere.
Why can’t we as women – teach our daughters to respect themselves; and tell them they deserve every bit of happiness in this world. And teach our sons to respect women. Tell them that there’s nothing called “masculine privilege”. Doing housework won’t make them lesser mortals. Why can’t we as women think twice before blaming a woman. I still remember stories ( sadly most of them were written by women) on how Smriti Irani was a home wrecker, how she snatched her best friend’s husband, how can the most ideal telly bahu Tulsi turn into a big time bitch… Yes, everything was Smriti’s doing and the husband was an idiot, who just watched and did nothing. I am no one to comment on someone’s personal life, but hey morally upright ladies when something of this sort happens, it’s not just the woman’s fault, OK?
Bottomline – until and unless women start respecting other women there’s no way that women emancipation can be a reality. It’s always going to remain a far-fetched dream.