The Feminist Times
THE SOCIETY’S IRE AGAINST THE UNINHIBITED: FEMINISM RESPONDS
This article stems from a personal experience I always have. We have a small clothes stand which holds the dirty laundry to be washed the next day. I always casually leave my dirty undergarments there to be washed. Often I hear my mother disapproving of it when she sees the undergarments lying on top of the pile, exposed and in full view. She says, “accha nahi lagta, thoda andar karke rakho”, or in other words, a simple piece of clothing which women wear is considered as indecent to be shown publicly. It is common experience amongst all, that we are constantly asked to sit a certain way, eat a certain way, speak a certain way and conduct ourselves in ways which have traditionally been ‘socially acceptable’. So much so that we casually tend to overlook the skewed gender equations in our day to day converstaions as well. In that regard, I’d like to burst your bubble and tell you that, you are sexist, I am sexist, and we all are sexist.
Certain things that we may not realize are actually sexist, speaking from a strictly egalitarian point of view in a gender narrative.
Feminism in this regard is a fight to achieve the utopian concept of “equal”. It thus becomes a response against the ire that the society has for the uninhibited. Women if left free, to do things as they may please is seen as challenging the nature’s equation of creating gender roles. However, nature has only created certain biological roles which we wish to see, where women are the weaker sex and men are the ones who protect them. There is a difference between biological roles and the consequent gender roles which stem from how the society views them. Why is it that the society sees a working woman, who has a little less time to “tend to her children” and who does not feel like cooking food after a long day at work
unbecoming of her? It stems from a deeply rooted stereotype arising from a biological role that women have in the order of nature. Feminism seeks to question this very obsession with the inhibition for women that the society has: why should not men be inhibited? Why should not men have the norms of conduct which women are expected to follow? As a contrary, if men are not required to follow any code of conduct, women should also be treated the same.
It does not take much to understand that the very society which establishes this nature of inhibition will feel threatened if feminism comes in to question such inhibition. The power struggle of merit versus entitlement only becomes all the more conspicuous in this regard. Achieving an equal society for women thus becomes an organic process. The inhibitions have begun to be demolished as we progress, and it is only a matter of time till we triumph on the image of a ‘weaker sex’ to an ‘equal sex’.
By Devangini Rai