Bristling with rage over all that badnaam

Tuesday 18 January 2010, Deccan Herald

Would a court order against two songs stop women, named either Sheila or Munni, from being teased or exploited, wonders Mita Kapur
This can easily turn into a diatribe. I can predict rising feministic chauvinism and also rising frustration is same sex relationships. I can make sweeping statements like, ‘A lot has changed and a lot remains the same’. I can also say that eve teasing is going to acquire a tragi-comic status. To all those women named Sheela and Munni, you can be assured of a court of law taking action against ‘lurid’ songs using such names. You may soon be walking the streets without fear of being harassed by testosterone-ridden creatures. The other women, however, will continue to be teased!

Will a court order against two songs stop women from being sexually exploited?  It never ceases to amaze me how skewed our thinking can get and how escapist our approach can continue to be. The moot point here is that men in our country are still being brought up NOT to respect women as human beings who have a right to live their lives with dignity. To them, women are ‘items’ and the eve teasing will continue on some pretext or the other.

Why doesn’t anyone question the fact that eve teasing is still a ‘birth right’ that most men assume is bestowed on them because of their gender?

Women, I’m told, are moving on. Yes, I know that. But I also know that there are certain things that haven’t changed. For every girl who is getting educated, there are many who are being killed inside the womb. For every girl who is carving a career of her choice, there are many who are being coerced into unwanted marriages. For every girl who is calling the shots in a corporate office, there are many who are being used and abused. So, what does ‘moving on’ mean?

There is a certain degree of success in the public realm, but that degree of success needs to be measured vis-a-vis the personal realm as well.

Defining a woman’s space and guarding it, role playing till there is a boundary drawn and identities don’t get subsumed will help balancing the relativity between the public and the private. We as women should challenge ourselves to evolve into stronger individuals. Introspection is not easy, but it needs to be done. There are times when we unwittingly further the cause of men – when we let our young sons get away with clichéd, stereotypical actions without realising what we are doing. Fighting the stereotype should be one of our many aims. We are giving our daughters a life which they deserve, but we continue to lead lives that have been pretty much defined by the patriarchal set up of our society. We will be no less devoted as mothers if we go out and have fun with friends. We need to live our lives. Period. Then, perhaps people will start absorbing the fact that even we are human. We have to be the social change we want.

Culturally, there is a lot of questioning and re-routing that is imperative. We are still facing trashy moral policing at the hands of upstart, self-proclaimed watch dogs. Remember what led to the Pink Chaddi campaign? Freedom of choice doesn’t have to be shouted out from roof tops. Freedom of choice has to be quietly and rightfully claimed by solid and effective action. Smart thinking is what we need. Team spirit, leadership and application of acquired know-how are what we need to act on. The challenges have just got tougher and we need to be at our toughest best to surmount them.

This entry was posted in Literary. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Leave a Reply