Friday, March 9, 2012

Women's Day Thoughts

This Women's Day I am actually quite pissed!

There are pics of girls smoking a cigarette doing the rounds on social networking sites asking caustically, "Is this women's lib?" on the eve of International Women's Day. Snide comments including a lot of moralising is going around and I cannot help but raise my voice in utter consternation.

If a woman, in this day and age, parties, smokes and drinks, according to some very "educated" men around it is tantamount to being "liberated".... And I ask simply, WTF???

Who in the world gave the man or another woman for that matter, the right to judge someone else for what they do?

Take smoking for example. I agree that women who smoke like men will die like men. The health hazards of a woman smoking are as same if not higher than those of men who smoke. Smoking is an unhealthy practice and there is no denying it.

But why single urban women out? Smoking beedis is very common in the North Eastern states as well as Andhra Pradesh according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) study. The prevalence of smoking is higher among rural women in our country according to the same study.

Are these signs of "liberation"? Why are urban women being targetted? Because they are making a choice? Exactly like the men who smoke?

Another argument I read - "Oh these foolish women are aping the men".... My response to such would be, "Sorry! But I have the right to try it out for myself....even if you assume I am aping a man... May be I do it because it makes me 'cool'..." (haven't you heard that one before???)

Similarly, why does the 'liberty' to have sex with multiple partners, live it up by partying, wearing clothes of her choice or doing whatever else that makes the woman happy, have to be classified as being "too open/liberated"?

Why can't the rest of the world simply accept it as part of a Woman's CHOICE, to do as she pleases, just as a man would?

Yes! Strides in technology (including birth control)  and the opening up of opportunities in every field have made a difference. If she is capable of taking responsibility for what she does, and even if it harms her health, why should anyone raise heckles about it purely based on her gender?

The easiest thing it is today to raise a hue and cry over the 'freedom' a woman has. She is breaking free of stereotypes, exploring new grounds (which includes her sexuality) and throwing the age-old patriarchal mumbo jumbo down the garbage chute (where it deserves to be, I might add!) and she is doing it without feeling apologetic and guilty.

This phenomenon has most men and many women gunning for the old world order where gender roles were not as complicated as they are today. In their bid to stick with the old, they refuse to accept that the process of evolution has to happen in every single field, including how women perceive themselves and the roles they play...

Will this same moral brigade go around condemning female infanticide, child marriage, the practice of dowry or Sati with the same gusto?

I'd prefer if this group of people simply said, "Don't smoke" instead of making it a battle between the genders.

Goes to show, we have a long way to go before we can actually claim that the International Women's Day has some relevance in the lives of the men of this country (other than raising parochial issues). It isn't enough to recognise, appreciate, laud or felicitate women achievers.

How about women with flaws? Women who didn't quite make it but are still, well, Women, with thinking minds and feeling hearts???

How can a Women's Day celebration be complete until the woman is recognised as an INDIVIDUAL, with her strengths AND weaknesses?

As a post script I am adding this pic that I found on FB which says EXACTLY what I've been meaning to, through this ramble:

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