Mar 25, 2023
Mar 25, 2023
by Supratik Sen
Men and women are mostly written or talked about when it is about men v/s women. Opposite genders, they are placed on opposite sides, confronting with each other through ages and mindlessly trying to be equals. Let me see if this paradigm of being and staying on ‘either’ sides or being equal to each other can be changed. For doing this, I will talk about both men and women in an unstructured way. My experience with women has not been negligible at all. As a child I was surrounded by my mother, aunts, mother’s and aunts’ friends, as a teenager by my friends, then by my wife, her friends and later by my daughter and her friends. What I am trying to say here is that my experience is nothing special, almost anybody would have had similar experiences. However, I promise to take a serious insight into these two variables.
As a child, I did not understand why women struggled to be equal as men, what the need was. Do they think they are inferior to men and hence strive to be equal? When I grew up I understood that women were fighting for justice: justice for equality. I find this amusing because in all oppressions against women that we know of, the oppressors are not men alone. If we really probe, we will see that injustices against women were done equally by men and women. I can go on in detail with depressing statistics to show that right from the birth of a girl child, to a daughter being married and ragged and dragged, to gang rapes, to burning of witches to not giving rights to widow re-marriages, to disinheriting women, only men were not involved. It was both men and women torturing or ragging a woman or a set of women. If I zoom in a little, we will find that in most cases it is women who torture women, sometimes with the cold war going on silently. with men not even aware of what is going on. It happens amongst families, friends. Woman to woman jealousy is a phenomenon not unheard of. Sometimes it can be felt in offices amongst women colleagues, sometimes at home, between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, between sisters, amongst friends, and sometimes even between the mother and the daughter what have you!
The objective of writing this is to show that the feminine fight for justice and equality would have had a much more sense and force had it not been a gender battle. It is a battle against oppression, against the social malice where both men and women are included. If women fight against men, the oppression against women will never go because in the women’s side will be those women who torture their own gender with an alacrity and enthusiasm that men can only aspire to match. Women, although less corrupt and more intelligent, are perpetually fighting; tacitly with women and openly with men.
If we re-look at the two variables, we will see that both the offenders and defenders have a mixed gender. If that is so, how can we say that women are tortured by men? Even in a situation where a woman is violated, we are surprised to find that in most of the cases, the scoundrels involved in the crime are both men and women, not men alone. A woman can be conceited, calculative and harmful for the society inasmuch the same way as men can be dishonest, violent and mindless.
The approach that one gender tortures another and the appeal that women should be treated as equals are both wrong. Should be treated? As equals? What kind of an insulting statement is that! How do women associate themselves with such a humiliating cause to fight for! Can men and women ever be equal? If three and three make six, they are just numbers, but what can three men and three women make? They make six human beings each different from the other. Equal is more mathematical then anything else. Wonder why Einstein said that everything that counts can not necessarily be counted, and everything that can be counted does not necessarily count. So equality is a tragedy we are seeking for, aren’t we?
Attraction between men and women is natural and will continue to be so. One of the outcomes of attraction is submission, the willingness to do something unconditionally. To most women, being a housewife is an insult! There is a group of people who thinks that since men go to work, women should also have to follow. Women to them are tortured because they do not have economic independence. Do we mean to say that women who have economic independence are not tortured? A major part of confused women, just to prove a point, go and earn money from the outside world, although deep inside, they’d like to be at home. What is more interesting is the way these two groups of women, the working women and housewives talk about each other. A housewife snaps and says, ‘I don’t need to work’ while a working woman says, ‘I can’t put up with housewives, they are so limited. For me they are just vegetables and good for nothings’. Where do men figure here! Trust me they like women anyway, vegetable or otherwise. This is very vital in bringing about a change in the mental model because women who have economic independence are also tortured, both at home and in offices. I think women should not be tortured even if they don’t have economic independence. Every single day, women are passing judgements on women and curbing down on their liberation by not understanding what the real issue is.
Let me zoom in a little more. A man tortures his wife on bed by applying force. This is a battle that needs to be fought, but when she goes to her mother, she does not get her support, and about her mother-in-law, less said the better. She goes to NGOs who rightfully fight against the man, but doesn’t realize that there are other women supporting the man. A group of confused men and women have been telling women to go out and work without sorting their issues at home. As a result, a majority of women are now being tortured at home as well as at their workplaces by both men and women. If they are at home, they are tortured; if they leave home they are tortured doubly. The reason for this torture is not having economic independence; the reason is women’s inability to unconditionally support women and be strong when it is most needed.
When a housewife wants to cook something for her husband it doesn’t mean that the wife is his servant, or that she is being treated as a doormat! Some of those housewives’ same-gender friends, especially those who are working would tell her just that – that she is being treated as a doormat. When a husband buys something for his spouse, the only person he’d be scared to inform would be his mother! Now imagine the opposite, the husband would be proud to say that he cooks for his family, to declare ‘I can cook’. In the same way, the wife can proudly say that she gifted her husband a XYLO. So the action is not the issue, the actors are. These are simple silly examples, but it is these situations that create our mental models and cloud are thoughts until they become disproportionate, uncontrollable and incomprehensible.
Well wait a minute… am I talking sense? I leave that to you men and women…come up with a very honest answer so that it can help change our models and the way we look at the world. And this is a global challenge. Men and women around the world don’t know what they are fighting for and who they are fighting against. Torture against women is caused by society comprising men and women and should be fought by society as a whole.
More by : Supratik Sen
|Thank you Padmaja for your brilliant points on the topic. Most of the times, we get so overcast with conflicts that the real issue escapes us, and we continue to remain in the conflict willy-nilly for years and ponder why they don't get resolved.|
Thank you once again!
|This is an excellent, well thought-through piece coming from an enlightened man! I do believe that education of women is all important for mindsets to change. In a vast country like ours with large rural pockets, reaching education far and wide equally to boys and girls is a herculean task. There are many reasons why girls' education is discontinued:|
1. No toilet facility for girls in quite a few schools in India.Girls sometimes rush to nearby fields to attend to nature's call during short recesses and there too, they get teased by boys...On attaining puberty, these girls stop going to school on their own as the issues grow maniforld
2. Family's economic circumstances can not afford education of two children - so the girl is withdrawn from school, as the male is still considered the bread winner!
3. Many families esp. in rural areas, can not affrd two set of expenses for the same girl - education and marriage.Marriage is inevitable and education seems an avoidable expenditure...
I can go on and on... These are not men v/s women issues - these are real social and economic issues - to an extent, issues of ignorance - that the politicians exploit and perpetuate for their electoral gains...
Supratik, I completely agree with your following observations that I'm quoting verbatim hereunder and if possible, will write an article giving my perspectives on these:
“If women fight against men, the oppression against women will never go because in the women’s side will be those women who torture their own gender with an alacrity and enthusiasm that men can only aspire to match. Women, although less corrupt and more intelligent, are perpetually fighting; tacitly with women and openly with men”.
“...the oppression against women will never go because in the women’s side will be those women who torture their own gender with an alacrity and enthusiasm that men can only aspire to match”.
“A housewife snaps and says, ‘I don’t need to work’ while a working woman says, ‘I can’t put up with housewives, they are so limited. For me they are just vegetables and good for nothings’. Where do men figure here! Trust me they like women anyway, vegetable or otherwise”
“A group of confused men and women have been telling women to go out and work without sorting their issues at home. As a result, a majority of women are now being tortured at home as well as at their workplaces by both men and women.”
Yes, Till it becomes a Men for Women and vice versa, and not Men V/s Women scenario the world over, the debate will continue...Mutual respect, tolerance and a conducive atmosphere that fosters these, will go a long way in bringing this debate to some positive conclusion...I still have hopes...as there are women like me too...who understand both sides of the divide and empathise....
Kudos to you Supratik, for providing a balanced perspective and some thought-provoking insights. Many thanks and respects.