Thursday, November 01, 2012

Violence Against Women Awareness - Patriachy

I am hopelessly late to this but I just want to still show my support to this cause and its a cause  I support.

If there is one thing that has survived well past its time and needs to be 10 feet under already is the idea of the patriarchy society. The survival of the mindset is the single most reason we see the many crimes against women in our country.

What is a patriarchal Society?

Wikipedia defines it thus- Patriarchy is a social system in which the male acts as the primary authority figure central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails both male and female subordination to the designated male patriarch with a specific domain or grouping.

In a patriarchy, roles are gender based and not on an individuals interests or capability. The women minds the home and hearth, is responsible for child care, caring for the elderly in the household, submissive to her husband, submissive to all the elderly in the household, to all and sundry and basically staying in the background. Patriarchy is based on a system of power relations which are hierarchical and unequal where men control women’s production, reproduction and sexuality. The patriarchs view women as second-class citizens and as their property, to do as they wish with them. Hence Domestic violence is prevalent in patriarch societies and hence nobody even blinks when they hear or watch women being abused. It is not seen as a gross violation of human rights in general.

Patriarch not only suppresses women but also younger boys/men in the household. In India, we have sons struggle under their father's reign. Younger siblings struggle under the 'bade bhaiya'. All in the name of 'respect'. Young men find it difficult to voice a different opinion and tend to follow whatever the dictate of the father or the head of the family is. In that way you can compare them to women, but then women are saddled with a whole lot of responsibilities with no acknowledgement or appreciation and with no monetary value attached to it. So much so that women do not even know themselves the amount of work they get accomplished. Most women tend to downplay what they do or tend to blame themselves for the criticism they receive rather than look at it objectively. Even today.

Women's liberation movement did not just liberate the women but also young men to walk away from the oppression/submissiveness forced on them at home. Sadly, liberated young men instead of being thankful to the liberation movement soon start the same cycle where they throne themselves as the head of their family. It would do a world of good to have atleast the younger men move away from this mindset.

Thanks to many feminists movements and various human rights organization who championed causes like right to education, equal employment opportunity, equal pay rights, right to my own body and sexuality, right to my kids, right to live with dignity, today we live in a time where atleast the law recognizes it and grants them. But we do still have people, men, women both at really powerful positions, who can make a difference and influence a whole lot of people considering the positions they hold, but advocate regressive and uneducated views. A judge in Karnataka still believes women should adjust and sites examples of women who have been abused but still live with their husbands as shining examples. A family life is of equal importance to both and should survive only because both of them want it and not because one person is ready to adjust. The one person adjusting bit is very regressive and demeans the institution of marriage. A women chief minister who has reached the heights she has because of these same feminists values fails to re-inforce them and instead blames western values corroding our culture. Blaming rape on women getting out their houses or wearing jeans or skirts or even suggesting it was because they mingle way too freely with men is sadly all on the wrong track. The basic difference is consensual and forced touch. The moment an individual (girl or boy) is forced to do something against their wishes, that is when the law should kick in and identify the abuser and the victim. Who violated who's space? Not immediately turn the guns on the lady/girl and start asking her about her mother, husband, lifestyle choices, clothes and such kinds. It DOES NOT MATTER. And it is not a complicated theory. Infact its simple. Moral policing makes it complicated. Instead of taking the abuser to task, the victim gets branded as shameless and too forward and available. This endorsement sadly puts the our case a few decades backward. Its even more bizarre, when powerful women make such statements.

Partnership is the cool thing to have in a marriage. Its almost never 50-50. And the power equation is never the same in all homes. You contribute as per your strengths and then some order some take homes.


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