Posts Tagged ‘gender issues’

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I slip my hands into the gloves, and bite into the teeth guard…

The clothes hug me tight, womanhood obliterated,

Moving quickly I enter the ring and jump up and down to get the feel..

No name, no gender, am just a number, a weight…a boxer…


I slip my gloved hands into the sleeves, the nurse quickly ties the face mask..

I look into her eyes, see tiredness mixed with admiration and respect?

Moving swiftly to the table I hold out my hand for the slap of the scalpel…

No face, no gender, am a healer… a surgeon…


Henna on my hands …kohl in my eyes…

Flowing feminine dresses with matching bangles…

Am I to be bound by narrow definitions…

I am to be tried by pre decided perceptions…

Questions lie within …answers hidden from me …

Answers lie within …questions hidden from me


Guest post by Nitin Aggarwal, on starting the dialogue on crime against women and raising awareness on women issues:


I was travelling in the auto rickshaw the other day when this incident happened with me. The driver was pretty talkative, the likes I am really fond of usually. He talked about the fog, the politics, the traffic, even about his family and what he should do to get his son an engineering degree. He was one of those guys who didn’t care a tiny bit what the world thought of him. And he spoke continuously non-stop during the entire ride.

Till I decided to talk about the crimes against women. Then he fell silent. I was expecting to hear what an ordinary citizen of Delhi, a rickshaw driver had in his mind about the most pulsating topic of recent times. I probed him further asking “aapka kya maan-na hai, kyun hota hai yeh sab? Kiski Galati hai?” (What do you think, why does all this happen? Who is at fault for all the violence against women?) He said only a few words probably knowing why I was asking him this question: “sab ladkiyon ki galati hai sabji” (It’s all the girls’ fault sir). I was not surprised at all, after all many of my elder relatives have a similar thinking. However I was not going to let him go without explaining himself and letting him hear my piece of mind.

I asked him many things after that about why he thought women were at fault? Was their western dressing the issue, or their sense of confidence? Was it because that today’s men felt insecure and jealous of the success some of the women have got? What was the reason he so very easily blamed the victim in a violent attack for the attack itself? But I got nothing from him after that. It was very mysterious indeed. Whether he had some past personal experience of some sort and didn’t want to talk about it or was offended by me in some other way while I was asking these questions, I would never know.

Since that day I have done this with many others, with varying results. Some have willingly talked about this issue with me, some have not. But by doing so I have been able to understand the mentality of general public as well as made at least some folks aware about how wrong it is to think that the women victims are at fault for them being targeted. If we all did this with our drivers, maids, newspaperwallahs, doodhwallahs, and even with our friends and colleagues, it will only help to create that much more awareness all around us.

Of course we need the laws against such crimes and we need a better infrastructure for reporting and dealing with such cases but why cure something that can be prevented. Through this post I wish to request all the readers to go out and ask people you meet “Whose fault is it anyway?” and make them think about it too.

To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman? –Mahatma Gandhi

The very famous quote by M.K. Gandhi questions society’s view on strength and women.

Gandhi claimed that this perception of men being stronger than women is nothing but a matter of conditioning. Conditioning done by the society, through customs, tradition, laws and rituals.

And yet he, himself fell victim to society’s view in calling women self-sacrificing, a result of this age-old conditioning of genders.

Isn’t this self-effacing Indian woman the pitiful product of a deeply patriarchal society? This glorification of the subservient aspects of women is just another way of binding women in their own weakness.

Could it be the conspiracy of the opposite sex to contain the immense power of women that could potentially cause them defeat? There can be many arguments to this theory with no possible conclusion.

Only the fact remains; by force or by propaganda women have been made to feel weaker and inferior to men. We are made to depend on men for protection. Even if we’re financially stable and emotionally fulfilled, society doesn’t accept our independence. No, we must need a man; we must be in the company of a man or else we’re called names, speculated upon about our character and questioned about our judgment.

What could have caused for her to be middle-aged and single? She must be flawed somehow to be unable to hold onto a man. She’s not pretty enough or slim enough or smart enough or moral enough for men to want her. And because she is undesirable to men she is unworthy of living a fulfilling life. And because she is undesirable to men, she doesn’t deserve respect of any kind.

Do we not often find ourselves speculating upon the character of many women on lines similar to these?

Why are we so willful to jump to such conclusions? Why can’t we simply accept a person’s choice of dissociation without casting insinuations upon their character?

Women must have the right to shape their life.

According to Gandhi, Chastity cannot be protected by the surrounding wall of the Purdah.  It must grow from within and it must be capable of withstanding every unsought temptation.

The question he rightfully raises is the obsession of society with purity of women.

Why must it be so important for women to maintain their dignity and honor to sustain respect in society? The mere idea should be looked at as a disgrace to men and their glorious race. It likens man to a loathsome, scary creature that lacks self-control and respect. If one were to agree to this opinion of men, one must also agree to keep such an untamed creature caged. Even with that conclusion, I fail to understand why ultimately, it is women who are made to sacrifice? Why are they asked to stay inside the house and cover themselves up? Moreover, why must women need men to protect themselves, when it is only these men they seek protection from?

One of the biggest causes of degraded status of women in society is the importance of chastity as a virtue that is imposed upon them since time immemorial. Chastity is not an exclusively female virtue; it applies to both the genders equally. The one who molest loses his virtue as much as the one who is molested. In fact, not only purity of body but he also loses purity of mind and character stooping himself down to the lowest of stature. Such offenders should not only be punished by law but should also be bereaved of all respect and honor in the society. An inhumane act of violence should be met with equal and just retribution.

We have lost the true woman with ages and ages of conditioning. It is really hard to separate society from women. Is subservient nature of women a result of societal remodeling or a cause of societal ideology. Are women naturally weak or strong?

We cannot possibly hope to erase ages of socialization at various levels that fit us in a hierarchical structure with men being on top but we can try to build a better future for the next generation where no hierarchy exists, only co-existence and co-dependence leading to a peaceful environment.