Politics of Words
A lot of times I wonder what would our lives be if we were brought up in an environment where ‘patriarchy’ didn’t exist. Wouldn’t it be a lot more easier and content for us to live our lives the way we want to?! A lot of girls are brought up in a progressive household where their family members, acquaintances are encouraging and supportive of their life choices. But at the same time, it is not uncommon to see the obnoxious and regressive outlook that they have.
Many a times there are conversations at the dinner table where members of our own family tend to make sexist remarks which we sometimes do not take into consideration because we are taught right from childhood that all these are a casual way of interacting and one shouldn’t ponder over it. People including ourselves have this tendency to casually insult women and girls when we say things like “kyun ladkiyo ki tarah ro raha hai?, “sharam kar, ek ladki se pitt ke aagaya”. All these statements seemed to be pretty normal to me for many years of my childhood. Gradually, I realised that all these remarks tend to give rise to a more ignorant society.
We have all seen our mothers finishing all the work in the kitchen and then coming to sit with family and have dinner, daughters immediately rushing to the kitchen to help their mother while father & sons interacting with the guests in their living room. We even as 'progressive people' won’t make a big deal out of it because this is what we see in every home and girls are taught to stay silent in to maintain the peaceful (aka submissive) atmosphere of their home. It makes me upset when I think that people who are so close to us including our parents, friends do not find it too difficult to have such conversations because they do not realize that they have said something which is totally uncalled for.
We all want the oppressive system of patriarchy to end for forever but our own thought
processes are conditioned in such a way that we'll continue to think and speak like we used to do. It all starts with oneself. It's quite easy to point fingers at others and label people as sexist, chauvinist etc but introspection is important when it comes to realising that our own thoughts are encouraging ideas which are considered to be normal in this oppressive system. Reflecting upon our ideas and opinions would make way for the next generation to have a new, conscious way of interaction which has no room for words and sentences that encourage an ignorant point of view.
- Hitakshi Narang