It's the year 2015, it is the year of progress and bans, of My Choice videos and its a million-and-five (supposedly funny) versions, and it is also a time when every stone and pebble is being turned to raise awareness about protecting, nurturing and empowering God's better-of-the-two human forms, the 'fairer' sex--The Woman. And seriously, every step is being taken towards the good cause:
- From outraging on Twitter, to debating on Facebook.
- From pinning 'Ten Ways To Be a Feminist' on Pinterest to Instragramming 'I am Woman' lyrics in cursive font.
- From silent candle marches of a few hundred people, to a mob of thousand students joining forces and killing an alleged rapist.
- From fast track courts for crime against women, to bans on documentaries.
All in the good spirit of empowering the women folk! Impressive, eh?
None of this has worked. Every woman everywhere is still facing a constant threat of (pick from the list below):
- Infanticide. Kill the woman-to-be in the womb of a woman who is anything but empowered.
- Education. Actually the lack of it. Zero education if possible, but since this is 2015, let's send her to school and pull her out in a few years.
- Molestation. Cat calling. Eve Teasing. Public humiliation.
- Domestic Abuse. Hit her because she married you, or because she's living-in with you. So what if you support the campaign about saving the girl child on Facebook? If she has an opinion different to yours, and mainly because she is physically no-fight to your club-bouncer body, you have to right to beat the hell out of her. You da man!
- Unequal wages. Empower the f**k out of the woman but pssttt, it is really necessary to give her the money she deserves? She'll go get married and have babies. Eek.
- Rape. Going by the wisdom of the recent media-and judiciary-created celebrity rapist, an empowered woman would easily avoid being brutally killed if she just gives in to the gang rape. Easy peasy. Who knew?
- Victim blaming. And you thought rape would be the last on the list, ha ha. After the molestations, the humiliations, the acid attacks, the domestic abuse incidents, the pink slip hand-outs and the rape-cum-murder, comes the winner of the list: Placing the blame of all the above on the woman. This one takes the cake, no?
Oh well, the list is giving me the typical empowered women heebie-jeebies. You know, the kind we get when we leave our offices at 9 in the night and wonder if this fancy Uber cab is better than taking the bus? Yeah, that.
But I digress.
The main point of this post is fun facts about being a woman and because the likes of 'having breasts', 'pouting' and 'going to Goa' have already been covered cleverly in the Good Girls poster that did frenzied rounds on internet not so long ago, I will cut it short. Here we go:
Fun Facts About 'Being A Woman':
- Every woman has to concede to disturbing labels at some point in her life. Ambitious, bitchy, easy/slutty/undesirable, difficult/cold/undesirable, gold digger/opportunist, and the most silly of all--being such a girl. Not many of us take it to heart though--we are smarter than that--what? Some of us do? Well, yeah. If you call someone undesirable in her teens, she is most likely to carry the hurt deep inside her heart.
- A woman is called a feminist like it's a bad thing. OR. A woman is called a non-feminist like it's a bad thing. None of the above is a bad thing. It is not mandatory to slot yourself in one of the two. Men bashing is not feminist. Changing the last name after getting married is not anti-feminist. What matters is--Compassion, Kindness and Progress. If a woman stands for all this, she's A-OK even if she doesn't shout FEMINIST/NON-FEMINIST from the rooftop. Leave her the hell alone.
- A woman who earns more than her husband is emasculating. A woman who doesn't work is a failure. A woman somewhere in between is blah. I can't even explain this one, it hurts my sense of self worth having to explains such an offensive feature of this list.
- Every woman (okay, ALMOST every woman) has body issues. Thanks to the ideas sold to us by the big players of consumerism, each of us has a totally unrealistic expectation of beauty. We crave to be deemed attractive, even when we know we're being shallow and silly. That is the magic of advertising! Everyone wants someone else's body. Your friend's behind is so much better-looking than yours, the colleague's skin is far fairer/smoother than yours and oh, how is it even possible that the plump girl from the school is now a hot-hot-hot size zero? Doesn't matter that friend works her ass off (no pun intended) in the gym, or the colleague eats healthy slash has anemia or something, or that the plump girl is suffering from an eating disorder--you lust after their apparent perfectness. You don't know her strengths or issues, but you are jealous of her. The world is unfair, let's have a pizza and feel bad about our bodies. Sigh.
- A woman faces the harshest criticism from--surprise! surprise!--fellow women. And how could she not if she's grabbing all the attention with her slutty dress, right? Um, wrong. If you are a woman, try being supportive of another. It doesn't matter if you are a passionate self proclaimed feminist--if you indulge in girl-on-girl sabotage, you are no better than the men committing those heinous crimes. What? You support the Women Empowerment campaign on Facebook? Well, that virtual world activism doesn't count if in actual life you question the clothes or actions of a woman who's been a victim of rape, abuse, molestation or prejudice. Be kind, be empathetic and be supportive. Empowering women can be so much easier and not to mention, fun, if all us women weren't competing and judging.
- Getting constantly judged by the past. Seriously, the fact that she was dating a loser (aka your crush) in college days, doesn't mean she was asking for an abusive husband later. So what if she wasn't scoring full marks in math in school, it doesn't mean she isn't good at her advertising job and hence doesn't deserve to be paid as much as her male counterpart. Past is gone, poof! Future will be here soon and if we are not careful, it will still be in dire need of a Women Empowerment moment, which is just plain sad.
My list can go on till Sunday but I will stop now. I hope we make some more progress with the entire Feminism or Women Empowerment or Whatever-Else-We-Call-It Movement, so that mothers like me don't feel powerfully and totally guilty for bringing our kids (especially daughters) in this world. Here's to hope!
And oh, at least our cows are safe, right? What a relief.
A version of this article appeared on Monologue.