“One is not born,but rather becomes a woman” is a quote that I thought was meant for the 1940s or 50s when it was written and published.If you are not aware of this book,THE SECOND SEX is a take on feminism by the eminent author Simon de Beauvoir.
If you are a resident of India,then you are quite familiar with the grind that girls are supposedly ‘not safe’ here.It is not safe for them to step out alone after hours,they ought go around traversing,loitering around late at night,alone or even with company for that matter.
If you have recently been reading the paper you must have read about the infamous Delhi gang rape.And I need not go into details about it,not that enough has not been said.
This post is not primarily about that.It is about THE SECOND SEX.Women even in the 22nd century are a subjugated class.Nations might be progressing economically,but the status of woman in the society has remained stagnant.We,the educated class who claim that this is not the case,if for that matter once you have asked your daughter,sister,mother,girl friend to not wear a certain kind of attire,or asked her to ‘behave like a girl/woman’,or for that matter not allowed her to have sexual partners of her choice according to her whims and fancies,and not judged her or a third person and stereotyped her a ‘slut/whore’ once,well,if this has NEVER been the case with you,I bow before you my Lord,because you truly treat all humans equally,but like me,if you are part of the masses,our education has been of no avail,and we are simply hypocritical.
There should be no shame in admitting that we all treat the women of our lives unequally most of the times,please note I said ‘unequally’ and not discriminated against,because either we are excessively chivalrous with the women or we are entirely oppressing them.There is no balance of probability in our treatment of women.Rare are the occasions when the women are treated equally.
We see our domestic helpers toiling each day,working day in and day out,to feed their drunkard husbands and infant kids only to be abused by them.But lets not discuss the uneducated class right now,we can’t expect much out of them either.They are merely following the tradition that women are the binding force of the household.
We who claim ourselves to be educated talk of ’emancipation of women’.Well,um,frankly,if the term emancipation is referred for women,the first inference is that they are not free,if I am not wrong,but the Constitution of India declares us a Democracy with Article 14 stating Equality for all irrespective of gender,caste,creed et cetra.Ergo,we in our minds believe that women are not free.They are still bound by the clutches of conventions and traditions.They suffer,toil and endure and it is their fundamental duty to do so,yet they should be emancipated.So,what is this emancipation from is the question that perpetually bothers me?
By the law of the land the women are free,but in practice nothing has changed now,has it?Even if women are progressing,stepping out of the house and working shoulder to shoulder with men,they are expected to take care of their children along with their jobs.The usual notion is ‘ladki ab ikkis saal ki ho gayi hai,shaadi karva do iski'(your daughter has turned 21,you ought to get her married now,before it is too late).Curfew timings are different for boys and girls in the same household.The girls are inherently expected to be ‘more responsible’ to their sexual counterparts.And the examples are endless.
This notion of emancipation is the creation of the mind.It is in the mind that the difference between a boy and a girl is set.No new born is aware whether it has a vagina or a penis,or what is its purpose,we as society teach these infants the difference between the sexes.We create notions of inequality in their minds,feed the brain the nutrition of gender,nurture the differences and once they are set in stone for good,in order to sound educated,’permissive’ and liberal we speak of such notions of emancipation which are absolutely bogus or merely of declaratory nature with no implementation.
According to me,five men did not rape that girl,WE,the society did,we are constantly raping the girl child who was killed when she was a fetus,who was killed when she was a new born,who is constantly killed each and every day of her life by being treated unequally as opposed to her sexual counterpart.We are also raping the working women,who supposedly are free,but are bound by fear in mind,we are raping those women too who relentlessly endure domestic violence to avoid shame from society.Also we rape the housewives who hold no value in the eyes of husband and kids.Also,we rape the old women of our households who have lived as the ‘second sex’ all their lives,and they are consequently raping their generations by feeding such notions in their grand-daughters and feline relatives alike.
The fact that a woman is not safe in a city like Delhi is not her fault,it is ours.The fact that she is perpetually living in fear and is constantly terrorized by her sexual counterparts just because she has a hole in her body that can gratify her male counterpart’s sexual needs is just grotesque.
My vagina appalls me,it makes me loathe the fact that I was born as a girl in a country like India.
I am the Second Sex.In my body,and in my mind.