Wednesday, March 8

Women and Society

"Your mother is a woman, your sister is a woman, your wife is a woman, your daughter is a woman. Without them your life is not complete. Celebrate women, happy women's day to all the awesome mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, working women, etc.,"

This regressive attitude of identifying women in terms of their relationships with men, family and society is fundamentally the reason why women's emancipation is so important.

A woman is just like a man in terms of free will, agency and individuality. Social structures and norms put women into the roles of daughter, wife, mother, etc., which diminish, if not rob the agency she is entitled to as an individual. Women's rights movement (aka Feminist movement) is all about giving women the agency to the same degree that is enjoyed by men in the society.

Even in the 21st century, it is very difficult for most women in India to live a life of their choice if it goes against the expected gender and societal roles. When women dare to exercise their agency in these lines, men, families and society will react in the forms of counseling by elders , slut shaming, emotional abuse, physical violence and sometimes killing for honor.

This regressive and conservative culture is hailed and preserved by religion, tradition and orthodoxy that normalizes social oppression and political inaction. Considering such archaic cultural baggage as valuable is at odds with today's rapidly changing society.

So thinking about women in terms of their relationships with men, family and society is a vicious seed that needs to be thrown away if we want to build a culture that is sensitive towards individual's free will and agency. Not to mention women's rights movement continues to enlighten society (and men) and is fighting for rights of other oppressed groups too.

If we are to instill into ourselves the spirit of International Women's day, we should strongly keep in mind that women need to be recognized not for their gender roles, not for their caregiving, not because they are beautiful, not because they bear children, not because they cook and clean after us, not because they are successful in their careers, but because they are individuals and because they need to be emancipated from these roles that restrict their agency and individuality.

 PS: This argument also applies to those who aren't women.