SIGMUND FREUD once remarked, “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?”
Probably, if only Mr. Freud would have been born a century later in the era where, radical feminism of all kinds seem to have been growing and setting in the internalized character of women, he would not have had to remain in this unsolved mystery and the pandemonium surrounding the enigmatic nature of women won’t have existed to that intensity. Of course the enigma as propagated by the literature and mass media will continue to exist for it has its own capitalistic manifestations in helping the bourgeoisie. And so would for those who claim to be treating depression among the so called poor innocent male members of the society caused by the so called shrewd, self serving female members. Pardon my generalization, for I too stand firmly against it, but at times I take a little liberty to be a hypocrite. After all it’s still a debate whether it is a virtue or a vice. More on that later.
Now, the reason I quoted Sigmund Freud apart from the fact that he is one of the most amazing thinkers, I know a little about, today happens to be International Women’s day. Call it a manifestation of patriarchy, self defence mechanism with a flavour of my ignorance, the first thing I did was to Google. I wanted to know, if there’s an International Men’s day as well. To my pleasant surprise, it does exist. If I recall, it is 19th November.
Now, ignoring the reason for the initiation to have such a day, which is somewhere related to all the socialist movements and the revolutions in the Western Europe, I rather pondered about its relevance and affectivity. Is it relevant? Yes, it is. Is it effective in terms of serving the intended purpose? I am not sure.
Talking about the effectiveness of this day, there are certainly some beneficiaries. One of them without a doubt is the bourgeoisie, who always stand to gain with commercialization of any kind of feelings or for that matter even a possible movement.
I am not very well versed with the affairs all around the world so would abstain to venture in that. However, taking about the Indian scenario, it certainly is very much in need and relevant. And I am not just thinking about the general oppression of the incapacitated rural women and the hardships they suffer ranging from violence to exclusion. Neither am I, focussing on the urban sophisticated women who are busy climbing the corporate ladder on one hand and still subjected to domestic violence and very much a part of the society involved in female foeticide. Case in point, we have south Delhi which happens to be one of the most developed regions and have one of the lowest sex ratio and increasing cases of female foeticide. And, hence the only change or the so called development and liberation is from infanticide to foeticide. Probably we all know about it, even if we might not be aware about its intensity. But what concerns me more is that we know it and yet we are not even close to a visible mobilization. Or else, we would have had a pan India women’s movement by now.
To all those who call themselves (radical) feminist, I only have one question. Do you expect to achieve any kind of equality be it financial or social until you do not stop bashing the men folks. And more than that, do you even think about the majority of the oppressed who happen to be domesticated in the rural hinterlands and have no idea what does the word feminism even means. Or is it just a page 3 chaos where, you look forward to sit on the highest corporate throne built on the corpses of the existing family structure and the very foundation of the social fabric. And for those intellectuals, who find the family the biggest oppressor to the cause of women, ask the mother in laws about their significant roles in the dowry deaths or of all those mothers who knowingly or unknowingly teach all the socially construed feminine values to their girl child. And lastly, is the liberation of your womanhood possibly only at the cost of the total chaos at an individual family level? For your actions, do not give me any hopes either.
You really want to bring a change.
Stop treating the children just as boys and girls. And I do not mean it only by sending both of them to school and letting them work and inherit property. It is only a symptomatic cure and just waters the roots of capitalism without actually addressing the real problem. The very first gender divide comes in the family when a boy with tears is laughed upon as being a little girl and the girl with short hairs and dirt on her face after a dual is asked to be only elegant and soft. The only real difference is how one does it. Totally ignorant families do it with strict enforcement of rules and compulsory domestication of women. While, a little educated ones do it with tact, stores and a book of morals describing the expected behaviour.
It is not enough to show some superficial respect to women on days like this. Would a friendship sustain, if the only time we show it is on the first Sunday of the August? Would a relationship sustain, if the only time we kiss or hug or care for our loved one is in the second week of February? Or is it justified and enough for a kid to respect his parents and teachers only on a Father’s day or a Mother’s day? And imagine how we would have had grown, if the only days we were loved or cared as a kid were our birthdays and the children’s day? It is great to have a day to express one’s sentiment on a given day. There’s isn’t any harm in that except that a few die hard Marxist would degrade it to mere commercialization. (I did too, but I am no way a Marxist. There does exist some element of truth in what they say).
But the fact remains, only a day isn’t enough. The present condition is a manifestation of centuries of misguided thinking and actions and which today is still deeply engraved in the minds. It is easy to learn new things. But it is a herculean task to unlearn first and then imbibe new ideas in practicality and everyday life. We need more than a day. We need more than an organisation. Probably, what we need is a new thought new idea, a new plan and all of this to be internalized by the 1 billion Indians. Yes, it is not women alone who can, or rather, should fight the fight. It has to be a fight for the mankind by the mankind.