Saturday, 27 September 2014

Empowering Women - The less privileged gender


Women, in India and all over the world have long fought for their identity and dignity in the social scenario. With relentless media coverage and outspoken social websites, attention has finally shifted to the other half in an otherwise male dominated society.

Hollywood and Bollywood, which have been largely responsible for portraying women as mere sex objects and crowd pullers are now routing to show them on a higher pedestal; a place of respect, a place where they have roles more than just a helpless homemaker, a servile mother or an eye candy in a useless item song! Recently, I saw the movie Mardaani featuring Rani Mukherjee as a brave IPS officer who  fights against child trafficking and the prejudice of women being the weaker sex. On the likes of Bollywood films like 'No one killed Jessica', 'Chak De' and the upcoming Mary Kom biopic, various roles of women have been displayed which aim at overthrowing the orthodoxy of India's patriarchal culture.

In reference to my article on Gang rapes, we have observed that when women start making a mark in the society, it is envied by many and the male ego's first stance is to suppress their voice. When that practice fails they try to express their superiority by taunting and harassment. Although attempts like reservation of office posts to maintain gender ratio and bring out equality are made, gender bias, unfortunately is still seen in many corporate and government offices. Unequal wages, bias in promotions, lack of recognition to the female staff and much more.

This is not problem of a single country or a certain class and not just a fight of the women. These thoughts were reflected in the speech by the Harry Potter fame Emma Watson at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, "If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Feminism does not equal man-hating. It stands for equality It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes."

A daily news reader must have surely come across the much debated Deepika Padukone -Times of India conflict. I respect Deepika for taking a stand against the print daily for publishing sleazy candid pictures as entertainment. Surely, the paper had no business focusing into a celebrity's cleavage and making a headline out of it. But at the same time the hypocrisy of the actor comes into question. Promoting her new film Happy New Year with Shahrukh Khan, in which she plays a bar dancer, voluntarily being half-naked, I was amazed as to why an year old headline itched her so much. It's a different story from a different perspective. What I personally feel is that celebrated actors like her need not go flaunting their bodies for box-office collections and crowd pulling. Doing this in reel life maybe justified for them, but in reality it's blatant objectification of women.

This problem can only be solved by a collective effort. Blaming males for being aggressive or females for their dressing style is just circling around. Men need to start respecting a woman's freedom and women too need to practice healthy feminism. After all, Men aren't from Mars neither the Women from Venus. We were born together on this very planet and must learn to embrace each other!