On Thursday while coming home I switched on the radio and tuned into Red FM. There was a contest going on for the International Women’s day called “Womania” I think. The idea was to get women to send their husband, brother, or boyfriend’s name and number to Red FM and if the man agreed to live one day as a woman they get Rs. 15000. And what was living as a woman ? The man was to subject himself to waxing, applying Mehendi, wear a sari etc and the idea was to make the man go through what a woman goes through …. I was just disgusted, and here’s why – this kind of tokenism is precisely why women remain a second class citizen and men don’t even begin to “think” of them as equals.
Just look at the message we are sending out … Is waxing the biggest pain we face ? Many men have a higher threshold of pain and waxing wouldn’t even register, and frankly I don’t want Krishnan ever to get waxed. Will Krishnan subject himself to waxing if I wanted him to – sure, he would probably be ok with his head being waxed, and wouldn’t flinch even !!! But that means nothing.
I would have loved a contest where we asked men to invest in educating their wives, or increase paternity leaves by a day, or men were asked to read about PMS and menopause and understand how it affects their wife, sister, daughter, or men were asked to career counsel a woman colleague, or if we used the International women’s day to add one woman board member in every large company, or we did a week of hearing and pronouncing judgement on all the pending rape cases, or just brought tougher rape laws, or gifted cars to women drivers to become cabbies, or shut down every sex determination clinic and put those who indulge in female infanticide in jail for life, or at the very least, ask men to let the woman overtake them while driving today and not get their hackles up, or increase the number of days of maternity leave, or ensure more women join the police force and armed forces, or lock up every eve teaser for a week in a dirty jail, or bring legislation against pedophiles …. The list is endless, or can we just get men to love women in all shapes and not stand in judgement about her size and push her towards bulimia and anorexia, the newest killers on the loose ????
The way our society is evolving, we will soon need to celebrate “International human being day” and remind people of what it means to be human. I have nothing against celebrating International women’s day, but there has to be concrete meaningful action not tokenism and we women allow this – it’s an easy getaway. What really puts me off is messages extolling the virtues of women on International women’s day from men who I know sleep around and think of women as objects of desire. These same men treat their wives as doormats and on IWD send them flowers :(:(
How many of us women are able to live the life we “really” want to ? We live for our children or our husband or parents … Giving up our best years to be the perfect girlfriend, wife, mother, grandmother – nothing wrong with being any of these roles, but in doing all those roles, we forget to ask what we truly want to do and set aside some time to do that. We need to liberate ourselves from ourselves first, from our thoughts and limiting beliefs before we talk of women’s liberation.
Happy international women’s day and waiting for a better one tomorrow.
Disclaimer – Whenever I say men, and attribute some things to them, I fully understand there are other types of men, who are truly amazing and treat women without disparity and actually give them the support to live their lives fully. Am married to one, so I know. But a majority out there needs to change.