WOMAN-WONDERFUL BUT IN OBLIVION, IS MADE ADORABLE BUT NEGLECTED
“A physically challenged minor girl raped inside the premises of the Jagannath temple.”
“Following a fight a man poured acid on her wife’s face.”
These are some headlines that are common in the newspapers today.
But… Why? Why is a woman’s condition so assailable and unguarded today? Why is a woman always inferior to a man? How did it become possible to decide the superiority among two distinct and distinguished beings created by the same divinity?
There are many such questions which are hankering for answers today.
ONE obvious reason for the position of women in the patriarchal society is the historical writings and records available to us. Most of the historical works are partial records-with omitted information-information only about half section of the humankind as says GERDA LERNER in her book “THE CREATION OF PATRIARCHY”. They are male oriented, written by male members of the society. Although there was a time in history when women used to do the same work that men did, the historical records that are available to us include and delineate only about the experiences of MEN, THEIR excellence and skill in performing certain tasks, the hardships THEY faced in carrying out those works. Women have always been ignored-their labour, the pain they undertook and all their achievements. Women have been considered as some UNESSENTIAL member of the ANDROCENTRIC society with ZERO contribution in creating the civilization. In order for the perpetual existence of anyone in this world it is necessary that we keep a record of all the feats performed by them, that distinguishes them from all others and justifies their existence. Unlike men who wrote about their achievements, neither were women allowed to write and nor did men write about them. So women in the coming times never came to know about the glorious past THEY had and hence accepted the patriarchal system as NATURAL.
The question is that why do men consider themselves superior and on what accounts?
There are various reasons provided by men to condone the subordinate position of women in the patriarchal society.
MEN claim that it’s not us who have created the difference but the divinity. Women have been designed by God to reproduce and bear children unlike men. I agree to this, but how does this difference in any way account for the subordination of women. Infact, if men consider this difference worth considering then it is women and not men who should be superior because women are the ones who ensure the continuation of species, EVERY MAN IN THIS WORLD IS BORN OUT OF THE FLESH OF A WOMAN.
Next, men claim that because women are capable of reproduction, so for the continuation of the species and hence the world it’s necessary that women look after the children and ensure that they stay healthy. Again, it’s fine that women are capable of reproducing and men are not. But how does it necessitate that women are the ones who have to nurture the kids? Why can’t men take care of their children? Are they INCAPABLE to do so? If yes, then this is another reason why women must be superior to men. The fact that women are capable of reproducing unlike men is a SEXUAL difference between men and women but the fact that women are bound to take care of the children and hence remain confined within the four walls of the house is a GENDER construct.
Even if we accept that in ancient times it was women who had to take care of the children, probably because WOMEN are more CAPABLE than men to do so, but with the temporal changes, the advancements in technology and hence the availability of some alternative options to rear children after a certain age, why are most women still bound to look after the children and remain confined in their homes? Something which was necessary at one point of time, was adopted in the society, why is it being followed hitherto? It’s just like everyone running blindly in a sheeple. Men accept the cultural changes by which they have freed themselves from biological necessity (using new machinery instead of physical labour) but women are doomed forever into immanence. But as stated by GERDA LERNER we must view the position of women in the society as subject to change over time, not only in its form but in its meaning.
Women have always been denied their rights and the respect they deserve as being a human. They have been in a position of vulnerability, treated as inferior creatures to men for long. Today patriarchy has become a consolidated and solid system in the society. But is it men alone who have been able to create such a huge system of patriarchy? I don’t believe so. Because it’s not possible for men to create an androcentric society without any support (intentional or unintentional) from the other sex. Women also have played a great role in strengthening the base of the building of patriarchy. As already said that it was women who were obliged to nurture the kids, so a woman who lived in a scenario where only men ruled brought her children up in the same manner. For example, howsoever modern a family is the girl child in the family is always taught to be calm, docile and patient like her mother whereas the boy child is asked to behave as his father, to be bold, confident and brave. If the girl child asks for an explanation, she is told that “this is how the society functions”. Take another example which is quite common in many homes even today:
Consider that there are two children in a modern, rich family-a boy and a girl of almost the same age. Both of them go to the same school, get the same education and toys etc. But one day their mother gets ill and the father tells the daughter to stay at home and take care of the mother and the home. When the girl inquires why can’t her brother stay at home and she go to school, her father replies -“Daughter, your brother’s study are more important than yours as he is the one who will ultimately be the financial assistant of the house in the future. “AND this same attitude is passed on to each generation and at each successive level it gets strengthened.
And today the tree of PATRIARCHY has become so strong that it has spread its roots everywhere. It has certain horrifying and abominable impacts. Some of which are stated below:
Women losing exclusive rights to their own bodies-RAPES
Because of women being subordinated, they are being commodified, to state more explicitly their sexuality is being objectified. They are being thought of as objects of desire. In the brutal acts of rapes men force women to have sex, in order to have pleasure. Rapes violate a woman leaving her both physically and psychologically tormented and disturbed. According to the stereotypes women should be confined within the homes but today acts as inhumane as rapes happen not only outside the boundaries of the house but also in the so called “SAFE DOMAIN” for woman- the home.
The objectification and subordination of a woman is prevalent everywhere irrespective of the economic and political conditions of the region. The United States of America-the superpower in the world is one of the ten countries with highest incident of rapes.
The impacts of rape on rape victims are devastating. Rapes leave the victims jolted from inside outside. There are people who blame the victim women instead of the rapists for the rape and hence the victim also starts blaming herself and ends in self disgracing and stigmatization. What can be worse than this? Someone who needs support and consolation to come out of an incident as horrendous as rape is instead thrown into the pool of humiliation and disbarment. It is always the girl who is blamed for rape. A rape incident which can clearly prove this is the RAPE CASE IN DELHI IN 2012. When the rapists were asked for a reason that could justify the act, one of the members involved in the act replied that it was the girl’s fault and we wanted to teach her a lesson that she was wrong in being out for a movie at that time of the day with a boy. There was no guilt on his face but just an expression that whatever they did was required and right.
But the question is that who are these people to decide what’s right for a girl or not? There is nothing in this world that can justify a man raping a woman.
Women’s sexuality being exploited in various art forms
As said by Herman Melville “Art is the objectification of feeling.” Today we see the male dominance embedded in various art forms like movies, paintings, sculptures etc. The artists today represent women only as “sexual objects”, who have no existence except the reproductive function they perform, they are considered worthy only of their sexuality and this very characteristic of women is exploited to a great extent.
If we see the paintings of some famous painters we see that one thing which is common in their works is the sexual representation of women. Most of the painters have been men but it is found that in most of their paintings the nude SUBJECT is always a woman representing her as an OBJECT. The body parts of a woman are highlighted in such a way in the paintings that seems to be allowing and tempting the audience to scrutinize the woman body as if it was some object to be experimented upon. Some of the paintings are shown below:
Pornographic movies represent women as sexual objects. Since long pornography has been a debatable issue-its morality being in question as it is said to degrade human beings and specially women. Still pornography today is nothing hidden behind the curtains and has become quite common to be seen. Pornography represents women as sexual objects being dominated by men, who enjoy being raped and mutilated. Such material seems to tempt the audience out there to suppress women even to a greater extent.
Today women’s position has become extremely deteriorated. They are never allowed to express their views, have no perspective of their own. Our world has always been a homosocial world, where only the perspective of the male matters. Women are rarely allowed to become a part of this world and are always viewed through the MALE GAZE.
Men have always been ambitious in their lives, their work and profession being the means to achieve ends in life. But many women even today are confined in the boundaries of their houses, their work being only the means with no ends in life. Women are doomed to immanence forever. And even if a woman tries, with utmost strength and confidence to come out of this sphere of immanence she is pushed aback. Because to get out of a stagnated life, she will require the help of some experienced tutor in her life and that tutor will be none other than a MAN because a woman is never given a chance to gain that experience in her life.
Women have been considered as inferior and subordinate for years and will continue to be unless there is a change in the psychology of men. The male society needs to understand that men and women exist on a horizontal ladder and not a vertical ladder, i.e. they are definitely different but are not one above the other.
The men need to understand that life is like a bullock cart, and man and woman are like the two wheels that drive the cart. Suppose we just have one wheel in the cart (man), will it be able to move or say if we have both the wheels but one fixed above the other, not in the same horizontal line, will it be able to complete the curvy and bumpy journey of life in an elegant and a graceful manner. For a happy and a successful journey of life the bullock cart needs to have both its wheels at the same level. Similarly we need to see the world through the perspectives of both-MAN AND WOMAN, a one eyed vision will always be blurred. It is not difficult to have such a world with equal dignity for women as men in reality-the only need is to respect the aspirations, dreams and emotions of women and the world will then be a happy place to live.