In a society dominated by patriarchy, women especially understand what it means to be in a society where men are considered superior almost from the moment of birth. It is too often that boys grow up thinking that there is nothing wrong with catcalling, stalking women, eve-teasing honour killing etc. These are just a few instances of the dark side of patriarchy. There are many acts of violence against women, which are directly or indirectly related to the patriarchy.
Ever since #Killpatriarchy has trended, nothing has made me feel so joyous as the Delhi High Court ruling which says “Fathers do not own daughters. A child is free to use mother’s surname if that is his or her choice.”
I guess, slowly, but we do see the path now, we do see the light.
Last I felt patriarchy overpowering my actions was when I was filling in a form at one of India’s renowned government hospitals for my child’s appointment. The staff asked me to fill in Father’s name. I filled in my name and gave him the form. He gave it back to me and said “Ye nahi chalega’, Father ka naam chahiye.” I was furious but I knew there is no point arguing with him because the battle is bigger than this. So, I said, “Father nahi hain” and that is when he accepted the form.
A similar scenario existed when I was filling in the form for my son’s Aadhar card, where I was told, “Mother ka naam C/O mein daal do, S/O mein Father ka hi jaata hai.”
It is not just the forms, not the mindset alone. It is the deep-rooted conditioning, years and years of wrong conditioning, which has made us all this way. What is right, what is wrong, what is a taboo, what is a no-no etc. – We have gotten it all wrong I feel.
Let’s talk about patriarchy from the time of our great grandparents. Women were the super submissive ones, giving in at every step when decisions were taken on their behalf. They had no say in anything, not even deciding their life partners, actually their entire life. They knew, inside they all knew, it is wrong. Something did not feel right. But because they were raised in a certain way, no one thought it was right to voice it out or address it, like ever.
The veterans today, all the achievers, take pleasure in saying ‘Change is indefinite, change is good, change is the only constant etc.’ And parallel to it, they also say, ‘Now that the lady of the house has chosen a role for herself, is more outspoken, vocal, outgoing, progressive and is working, is earning, is independent, that is why the divorce rates are going up, that is why marriage as an institution is all shaken up, that is also why there is no compatibility, the families are broken!’. We know who all has said this. We know it.
First, you (society) do not treat us as equals, take away our basic rights and when we (women) decide to fight for it or even voice it (#metoo), we are condemned and all sorts of wrong meanings are taken out of concepts like the feminist, activist, alpha female, Boss lady!
The society should see us all as equals, as equal individuals.
Quoting my favourite (for this very reason), THE lady ‘Priyanka Chopra’ here – “We are saying you get the ability to get the job, to be the CEO and nobody questions when you’re driven at 50 and have three children, how’re you managing it all, don’t’ question me!
All of these efforts, articles, voicing out – it is all meant for one purpose – The society should see us all as equals, as equal individuals.
Equal RIGHTS, equal SHARE, equal ROLES, equal PLACE, equal PAY, equal LEARNING, equal CHANCES
Acceptance is the key. If you accept the circumstances, the situations, the scenario around you – you make peace with it, you are fine. Then there is nothing wrong with the world because you have accepted the reality. However, acceptance does not mean agreement. If you disagree, then what is it that you plan to do about it.
You disagree but you have accepted the scenario you are in however you are going to do your best to change it, change it for good, for everyone’s good. This is the point we are at right now. We see what is around us currently, we are accepting the situation but we are trying to do things our way, things that will change the situation for us.
Geetika Gulati is the founder and CEO of ZIVComms, a boutique PR firm.)
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