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A simple thing you can do to fight discrimination against women-- MANifesto.

Like most people in this country, I am horrified, appalled and deeply disturbed by yet another incident of gang-rape, this time in Mumbai. I had raised my voice when it had happened the last time. You can read the post here.

And now I am compelled to write yet another post.

The fact is Indian culture is deeply tinged with misogyny--whether we accept it or not. Years and years of social conditioning has ensured a bias towards sons, whether we acknowledge it or not. Women in India have to be really scared today, to even step out after 5.30 pm, and sometimes even in broad day-light.

When I first moved to the UK to live, I was amazed at the sense of pure freedom I felt, as a woman. It was something completely different from what I was used to,in India. It was in UK, that I first felt *respected* as a woman. Nobody saw me as anyone's wife or mother or daughter. I had my own identity there--I was Preeti and that was it. I can't tell you how liberating that felt. Unless you have lived in India for most of your adult life as a woman, and then moved to a country like UK, or  the U.S , you would probably not get the full impact of what an amazing difference that makes, in the quality of life one leads and how much it empowers you to make the choices that you do.

When I moved back to India, after living there, I felt  nauseatingly stifled in the first few months. I had to watch what I was wearing, I had to take in account what time I was going, where and most importantly with whom. Mostly, I just felt unsafe. All because I was a woman, living in India. I hated it, but like millions of women in India, I 'adjusted' to the situation and learnt how to manage.

The fact is, this gender-bias is something which is so deeply embedded in Indians, that many a time we don't even realise that we are guilty of the same. I have many Indian men (really good human beings) as my good friends and yet in one way or the other, they would be somewhat guilty at one point or other, to have made a sexist remark or to have simply discriminated against women, without even being aware of it. I tend to forgive and not make an issue, as basically they are good guys who won't even dream of raping a woman, disrespecting her in any way. And yet, they are unaware about how they might be contributing to women being treated as second rate citizens, less than a man.

I can cite many examples.

 If you are a man who expects that your wife  makes that morning cup of coffee for you, and serve it to you, (more so because she is a housewife, and she does it 'willingly' and 'She  really does not mind') I urge you to think if you are discriminating.


If you are a man who has made a remark like 'fat cow' after looking at a woman's photograph, you are discriminating.

If you have ever made a remark against someone driving a vehicle, just because the driver happens to be a woman, you are certainly discriminating.

If you are a guy who thinks that the air-hostesses in Air-India are 'aunties' and 'I would want young females to serve me' you are discriminating.

If you are a man who thinks about 'saving for my daughter's marriage', you are definitely discriminating.
 
The common Hindi swear word 'Bho***i' and 'Beh*****d' and 'M*******d'  have become so much a part of daily speech. I am told that if you live in Delhi, UP or other northern parts of India, this just becomes a part of your vocabulary, so much so that you become desensitised to using these. You may argue that using words like these immediately does not catapult the man to a rapist or a potential rapist category. But that is not the point.

The point here is creating *awareness* about how even our daily acts can make a difference. This morning I came across a Manifesto through Peter Griffin (@zigzackly on twitter) and it struck a deep chord in me.

It asks 'What simple steps can you take as a man, to fight discrimination against women'?

Many men have submitted their pledges, and I urge all the men (particularly Indian men) who read this post to do so and to share it on your social media pages.

You can submit them in this link. (and it can be anonymous)

http://realmanifesto.tumblr.com/submit

Among the many pledges submitted, the following ones made me want to applaud (do read them) :

http://realmanifesto.tumblr.com/post/59205559464/i-will-not-tell-the-adult-women-in-my-life-what-to

 and this which many Indian men are guilty of, and in fact think it is 'noble'

 http://realmanifesto.tumblr.com/post/59205700557/i-will-remember-all-women-arent-my-sisters

and also this one:


 http://realmanifesto.tumblr.com/post/59205682212/i-will-not-promise-not-to-swear-but-i-will


If you are an Indian male, I urge you to think about this and make a  pledge today.

To make that tiny difference in a woman's life.
You would have contributed in a small way---made a difference.

And these little steps go a long way.
Do it..and come back here and leave me a comment saying you have done so.

I shall applaud you for it.
So will millions of Indian women.
 _________________________________________________________________

Comments

  1. I am so sorry; after reading the message, I am feeling it is so biased and was not in specific to the matter. Comparison with other countries is just non-sense!! UK, US, UAE everywhere women are targeted.

    I have friend (Male) who was beaten up by unknowns while returning back home from his work (Night shift). Now, are male too harassed??

    Then again, Preeti hit back strongly in the last two points.
    //If you are a man who thinks about 'saving for my daughter's marriage', you are definitely discriminating.///
    The other one, the vocabulary.. True to the point!!!

    PS: Don't be nice only to women. Be good to everyone around you, the living n non-living things. Think above sex!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are talking about gender discrimination krishnakanth--not about mugging which happens everywhere. Do you mean to say that in US, UK and UAE--everywhere women are targeted--so its okay?!!

      Of course there is deep-rooted misogyny in India. And I am not saying be nice to someone *because she is a woman* !! All I am asking is to *not treat someone in a particular way* because she is a woman. Telling an adult woman what she can wear and cannot wear *is* discrimination. Making comments about a woman's appearance *is discrimination*

      I am not 'Hitting back*. I am making an appeal.

      Delete
  2. Nice one. Shenoyji i think this days in india terrorists and criminals are more safe than us. Every women should be respected. Nice message pass by your blog mam. Even i have written few posts reg women (rape and women empowerement posts)on my blog heta1311.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Heta. Thank you for the support.

      Delete
  3. I so agree ,i must say nw its high time mothers start teaching their sons to behave n stop treating dem like vip's of d family.This hugely leads to a swollen pseudo male ego which leads to subconcious superiority complex.To satisfy such ego or to release dese frustrations they commit such crimes.
    If we are looking forward for a change,that will start at family level where brothers and sisters are treated equal( real)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous3:16 PM

    A post true to he core. I just hate about being women viewed as objects of sexual gratification in this country. The topic of 'sex' is way to over rated to be discussed in public. And to think of it, even judiciary is not doing its bit to relive women of the wrath of penetration. My blood boils no end!!! Rape is something which I feel deeply for and have blogged about it time and again!!!
    http://shwetashirodaria.wordpress.com/

    The country needs to wake up to women's plight where even woman in metros, young children and tourists are not safe!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Every time an incident happens in INDIA, I think whats wrong with the people(MEN) from our country.. and every time I conclude my discussion with myself with this same point... "People will change. But until these men exist in this country, women have to protect themselves and it is very unfortunate."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Misogyny is pretty much embedded in our day to day thinking that we take it as part of our culture. We should not forget that we have a culture where we worship Durga n Saraswati. Yet people forget and commit these ghastly acts. The teaching and sensitizing should start at home. This will be just a be a start.....

    ReplyDelete
  8. COMPLETELY AGREE. I never knew what truly 'freedom' means until I moved to U.S before few months. You dont have to be conscious ONLY because you're a woman. You don't need to worry if you're wearing shorts or skirts. However small the difference may be, it indeed feels liberating. Just the thought of coming back to India makes me worry about 'losing' my freedom. Indian women are not REALLY SAFE.
    Yet another thought provoking post. I hope Indian men will improve a little and stop discriminating against women.

    ReplyDelete
  9. True to the point ma'am.All I can say is that women class need to be treated the way the men class are treated.Women are the backbone of every sphere-families,societies,nations,etc.But they are the most targeted ones in most of the nations including ours.We worship her as Durga ,Saraswati,Lakshmi on one hand and on the other hand disrespect Her.One shouldn't forget that they are life givers and men section is just incomplete without them.We are static wnd without their energy we can't even dream .One shouldn't forget the sacrifices they make as wives,daughters,sisters,mothers,etc.Love her,love everyone around you irrespective of gender.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Have heard so many things "to do-not to do" either suggestions fr others or fr my ownself....god knws wen that time will come wen i will stop feeling so helpless, angry n hopeless abt this situation. in sum way or other i often find myself as victim of this sexism either by family, colleages or classmates(guys). it happens regularly n even most of the girls dont realise that either,n even if they do....they r ok wid it bcoz they are tought to be a woman who cannot be equal to man (uh wont believe they told me this...i was baffled)well i knw its not applicble to awl the females out there but its still there ....not only guys need to stop discriminating but gals shud learn to respect themselves too...i think equal treatment for a son and a daughter in a family will be a good start :)thankuh mam....m still upset though abt that whole thing..

    ReplyDelete
  11. Reminds of the poem "MILLIE'S MOTHER'S RED DRESS". You can read it here
    http://www.bab25.com/ladyred.html

    -Sumi

    ReplyDelete

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