Meet Ramesh. As a child he grew up in a patriarchal society. He was told he could do what he wanted. He had choice and freedom. These privileges made him powerful. And he was never told that with great power comes great responsibility. So Ramesh would go around singing ‘Mere baal bhi sexist, meri chaal bhi sexist, meri shirt bhi sexist, mere pant bhi sexist…’ His mom and sister would have to run around to fulfil all his wishes. Now a pretty girl comes into his life. She is so pretty that Ramesh forgets his purpose in life – to get his way – and follows her around. Having successfully broken his saadhana, Menaka tells him, ‘Abort the sexism. Only then will I, the empowered one, go out for milk shake with you. Lust-filled Ramesh decided to kill his sexist avatar, took a ‘chill pyala‘ and they lived happily ever after.
If after hearing this story your question is…why is the guy aborting anything…it is ‘women’s dept.’…sorry Ramesh you are sexist!
My question is ‘Aisa real life mein kyun nahin hota?’
Can the Menaka’s of the world break the Sexism saadhanas of the Ramesh’s of the world? For what is a saadhana….a means to an end… and so is the as-long-as-I-get-my-way-let-things-go-along-the-way-it-is attitude.
Sexism is all around us. It could be everyday sexism at home – ‘No I don’t want to make the bed and fold the bed sheets. You’re better at it’ or at work when you are asked to ‘take care of the guests’ only by virtue of being a woman irrespective of your seniority in the organization. Unfortunately Aashima did do as asked by her boss but most would. And the fact is they shouldn’t! Such inherent sexism should be nipped in the bud. It has been my experience that men usually don’t the patience to listen to what a woman has to say. Of course overlooking a woman for a promotion in spite of her performance and the pay gap are larger issues with larger consequences. All these issues arise from individuals who subscribe to misogyny and believe in patriarchy.
While sexism is pervasive, not all men are sexists. For sure. I won’t stereotype men because I know how it feels to hear stories stereotyping us that begin with ‘Women are…’ To all the Feminist men out there… a big ‘Jaadu ki Jhappi’.
The rest of you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Yes! On weekends, coffee will be the ‘cuppa of choice’ because that’s what the wife likes. Because 5 days of the week she has tea like the rest of the family….lest someone is offended. Ok so nobody told her that no one will be offended by her rebellious beverage choice…but nobody told her she could do what she wanted either! So she just sipped along till she became a Feminist. Must be the coffee cravings but she finally decided that ‘It’s My Life. It’s my Java’. But what about Mr. ‘Chai lover’? Does he become a Feminist by having to gulp down frothy yet kadwa coffee 2 days a week? Is that what a Feminist wife wants- make the husband also suffer for 2 days because he needs to understand what the wife goes through for 5 days? Or would he become a Feminist by encouraging his wife to do what she feels like no matter which day of the week…no matter whatever her choice is?
Feminism and Evolution
I have been wondering about this for a while now. I have come to believe that without men accepting that gender disparity exists and doing their bit to change rigid gender norms… the world is heading towards definite doom. Haven’t you heard of ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?’ So in order to ensure that the balance in the world is maintained, we need men to become Feminists. As women evolve and find their true place in society, so will the men need to become ‘woke’. We need the men with the power of privilege that is bestowed upon them by the patriarchal society we live in, to believe and support the cause of equality in the sexes and join the Feminist movement.
The more I begin to understand Feminism, the more I wonder how we got here in the right place. If only Eve had stood her ground and not become subservient to Adam! If only she had been more like ‘Eep’ the rebellious teenage daughter of an over-protective father ‘Grug’ and strong-willed yet pleasant mother ‘Ugga’ in the animated movie ‘The Croods’. Set in a fictional pre-historic era, Eep the female protagonist in the movie has a mind of her own and is brave. It is her curiosity essentially that saved her family from apocalypse leading them to the safe land of ‘Tomorrow.’ Along the way, unable to tackle situations with brawn as he had been accustomed to, Grug learnt to use his brain for coming up with innovative solutions. His inspiration was ‘Guy’ the uber cool and smart fella that Eep had befriended. After saving his family in the end, Grug apologises for his past and promises to be more open-minded. With Eep as a role model for women and Grug and Guy as a role models for men, we would not have been here today…we would have been in the heaven that was ‘Tomorrow’.
But what would make men want to give up their privileges to become Feminists? Can only large-hearted empathetic men be Feminists in the first place? Do you have to believe in fairness and non-discrimination in general to accept that gender inequality has no place in today’s world? Do you have to have seen your mother be ill-treated to learn to pledge to never behave disrespectfully with women? Or do you have to see your father and uncle and other relatives treat the women in their lives as equal partners? Or would you just do it out of love?
What if your wife starts singing…”Ek garam coffee ka pyaala ho. Koi usko pilane waala ho. Chaahe gora ya kaala ho. Feminist jaisa dilwala ho.”? That should be cue for you to make your own cup of tea (learn here) and while you are at it…make a cup of coffee (learn here) for your wife as well.
I urge sexist men to reach out to their open-minded self and abort the growing sexism in and around them because evolution demands it. Become a #FeministHero and get ready to jump across the chasm of inequality. Let’s take a leap of faith…together. The heaven of the egalitarian ‘Tomorrow’ await us.