Mar 9, 2010

Virtuous Women maketh Progressive Societies

Its that time of the year when the newspapers are brimming with feminism.
March 8th : 'International Woman's day'
Woman in India can be anything but international or have a 'Day' to themselves.

It is said that a Society can be judged by the kind of headlines that come in their newspapers.

Today's paper was no different. Infact I loved the irony. We had 70% of the pages devoted to celebrating women and then a bunch of well heeled, designer wearing, globetrotting, Page-3 celebrities extolling values like Education, Career and Sex. Sex? True, the 5 women didn't mind women having premarital sex as long as you are discrete and safe!
Call me old fashioned, but I was sufficiently shocked to stop reading the article any further.
But Sex sells! And if 5 'celebrity socialites' recommend promiscuity, what can I say about that girl who walked out of her husband's house, lived with her boyfriend, got knocked up and dumped? You go Girl!

Buried amidst all the feminist clutter and the brouhaha of female power in today's India, a particular 7 inch article caught my eye. A scandal that involved a spiritual Guru and a leading regional movie actress. Ofcourse, the Guru has vehemently denied it and alleged that this is the attempt of commoners to tarnish him and his organization. But the actress, perhaps out of guilt or pure stupidity, tried to commit suicide. Does the suicide mean she is indeed guilty?


When the reporters move on and the Headlines fade away, the victim is still left bleeding, wounded by hungry reporters who like vampire bats, latched on till they got the complete dirt and when they were done, left a wound that is difficult to clot.
I am not a feminist in the conventional sense but as a commoner, and with the 3 decades of existence, can confidently say that Women in India are still a neglected yet exotic lot.

Western influences have allowed greater freedom of expression.
Advertisements that tell you that a fair skinned woman is smarter, sexier and luckier.
TV Soaps have stereotyped Indian women.

While premarital sex was frowned upon just a shade of a decade ago, now, we have quasi role models advocating (premarital) sex as a symbol of freedom.
Like most issues that are  forgotten, 'she' is an item that sells. 'She' is our object of lust. 'She' could have been empowered had we learned to take care of 'her needs' rather than 'our wants'.

I have always had that sniggering feeling inside me, we are desperately trying to ape the West. But like how we learn the slang in the new language before learning the good words, we are aping the weekend habits of the West, while forgetting to imitate the weekday ethics of the Developed world.
People in the West work upto 50 hours a week and produce results that matter.
The West respect their women by not only framing rules that are women friendly but by enforcing them too.
In more ways than one, we are a few generations behind the West. Promiscuity, Public Displays of affection and Media induced frenzy about Celebrations are not Indian. Not that I am against them, but all these celebrations are so commercialized? What do celebrations like these accomplish? Besides shopping discounts and eloquent articles advocating love, friendship and vanity, is there a meaningful change happening to the lady in the street?

Virtuous Wives, Blessed Mothers, Brave Women... that is what our societies need.

In 2 weeks, when all the hoopla dies down, women in India will wake up to the harsh reality that it is a Man's world in India.

Until then, our Women are busy shopping till they drop!
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