And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…

I found the right to gender equality being questioned on these grounds (in red). We have heard these arguments before, I feel they should be taken seriously.

– In a lot of cases, men and women are definitely not equal.

In a healthy society, everybody, an old widower, a young dad, a teenager, a blind man, a dalit rape victim, a farmer, a village Sarpanch, a factory worker are, all, equal.

Gender, age, wealth, caste or marital status, do not take away the right to equality.

 

-How many times have we asked a male friend to drop us back home as it is too late in the night ? And how many times have we accepted small considerations shown to us (for e.g. a cashier asking women to form a separate queue) only because it suited us?

As equal citizens, women should be able to step into public transport without facing very real risk of being molested or being raped and killed. (And then be blamed for ‘asking for it’). When women ask for or accept being escorted back home, it is generally because public spaces, public transport  have an unwritten but very clear reservation for men. 

One also hears, ‘Why do women need separate coaches, queues and seats?’  Because even today the society excuses sexual harassment as ‘eve teasing’.

– How many times have we refused to work late at office only because we didn’t want to get back home alone in a cab ? 

– Demand equality where it is due. If you demand equality at a work place, make sure to stay up late just like the men. Do not give the excuse of family or being a woman to be allowed to go back early.

Most work-places and work-timings have evolved to the needs of men who have been working all along, and hence they are suited for men

As of now men (even married men and fathers) have a support system in place which makes these working conditions convenient. They have a spouse who cooks, packs tiffin, takes care of the children and the elderly. They are also able to travel easily because the spouse takes care of the home and family.

Women, specially married women,  generally do not have this support system. They are expected to make sure that the working man is not inconvenienced when they pick up paid-jobs. So for most women today, “entering into a marriage and having kids seems like a bad career move:”

When women started ‘working’, even fifty years ago in India, there was a feeling that women  were taking away men’s jobs – till then it was understood that all jobs rightfully belonged to men – Reserved For Men. Now we are beginning to understand that women can’t (won’t) be denied paid-jobs. This is also (slowly) liberating the men and letting them see housework and child rearing as their right and responsibility.

The work place is now evolving again. It’s mutual need.  Jobs need workers and  the new age workers have different needs. 

If we do not create work-places that make it possible for mothers (or parents) to work, we will make it difficult for the the coming generations (specially women) to choose to have children. It’s happening in Europe and Australia.  Women should not have to choose between self-reliance and motherhood/marriage- because then they might be forced to choose self reliance.

Every adult should have the right to self- reliance. The society needs to make sure that marriage and motherhood do not deprive half the population of self reliance, happiness, safety, good-health, respect, dignity, freedom and equality.

“Most women are afraid of losing their jobs” by taking time out to have a child, says Liu. He says Taiwan should follow the lead of European countries like Germany, where women are entitled to up to three years of maternity leave by law.” [click to read the entire article]

– What about the demands for 33% reservation for women in AP, and when finally given, 20% of those seats go empty.

Right to education, right to inheritance, right to family name, right to performing the parents’ last rites, right to freedom, public spaces, travelling, right to self reliance, right to second chances in life, remarriage, parental love, even right to be born have all been reserved for men for centuries. 

Politics, governance and law making was also reserved for men. 

And even today some Institutions have a lower cut-off for male students. (Because girls seem to be scoring higher. [Another link])

Women even today, are discouraged from taking their careers too seriously, career for women is seen as an option (and Getting and Staying Married as the goal). So the playing field is not level.

 So is the 30% reservation a favour to women?

It is not.

The entire society benefits from a system where every member has the opportunity to realize their full potential and to contribute to the best of their ability.

Happy, self reliant, confident women mean happier families, and happier families mean a happy society. 

We need a society where women are valued by their families and that is not possible until they stop being ‘liabilities’ – which is not possible until they are provided equal and fair opportunities. 

The only time when girls are treated as equals is in schools – and we have seen the results. This when many girls have to work at home and their careers are not a priority.

-And I feel it is pretty stupid to demand equality where physical labour might be involved. Granted that a lot of women are capable of more stamina than men, but the statistics proving the contrary are larger.

 One should be paid for the amount of work done not for one’s physical strength, because no two men (or women) are equally strong, and a stronger worker may or may not work more.

Equal pay for equal work is fair. Women are generally not paid as much for the same amount of work.

Even today it is believed that a man has to support his family so he should be better paid.

 – And religion .. Am not well versed in other religions, but Hinduism started with worshiping the supreme feminine power. Even today, the supreme power in Hinduism is a female entity. Though man may perform atrocities on women, Hinduism still places importance on the female power.

That’s lip service. How does it help an average woman, if we still insist, through our actions or words, that women can’t be equal to the rest of the population?

– And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male (which in my opinion is impossible as basically men and women are different).

Being equal means having equal right to justice, opportunities, and happiness and against exploitation (etc).

Equality does not mean some people need to behave  like other people. And all men (or all women) are not alike either. Equality would mean men and women being able to be themselves – sometimes they might want to do some things that were earlier ‘reserved for men’ (like the right to be paid for their labours) – that’s fine.

Equality also means men have an equal right to enjoy cooking, caring for family, raising children or dancing. It does not mean they have to behave exactly like women to be treated as equals.

Also consider, does a Chinese, a Maharashtian, a Malayali, a Canadian, an Ethiopian or a Goan man behave exactly alike? But everybody is and should be equal in the eyes of the law and the society.

Feminism is not men versus women, it is an older, biased way of living, giving way to a logical and just way of living.

 

Related Posts:  

I do not like Reservation.

Biology versus Culture DEATHMATCH Part I (Nandini’s Niche)

 

 

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102 thoughts on “And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…

  1. Loved your response, IHM. 🙂
    And this writer seriously needs to brush up their vocabulary skills and revise the meanings of ‘equality’ and ‘difference’. 😛
    Please give them my dad’s reference next time and tell them he took paternity leave for me when I was a baby, but he didn’t miraculously start behaving like a woman because of that. 😐
    And my mom comes back from work at odd hours like 2:30-3:00am, that doesn’t mean she’s developing testosterone.

    I’m amazed people still think like this.
    Brilliant post, IHM,
    Love and Hugs..
    Arushi 🙂

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  2. Hi IHM, all the points that have been marked in RED are effects and not causes. Women (some of them) choose or are forced to behave in that manner because of the society. If it was a equal and just society, a women wud have dropped a friend home late night as much as a man would have done, without having extra fear by virtue of “being a woman”

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  3. A man also get kind of insecure when his MBA wife earns more than him,although this very wife has to get up early in the morning to pack tiffins.
    since women now earn too,equal or more,so the roles need to be re-defined.Who should cook daily?What if they want only a family member to cook.
    talk about daily responsibilities of a middle class couple.How many men actually share the household work equally?

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    • this attitude where – because you earn more than me i am not going to do this or that is what spurns trouble in paradise.
      my husband earns more than me , is more qualified than me – he makes dabbas in the morning – not always. if i make the sabji – he makes the roti . he makes the chai or coffee every day. if “earning more”” is a parameter to define what one should do in the house the term is called “unhealthy”

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  4. Well said. My 2c on the same:

    For one, there are no ifs and buts to equality. Conditional equality is synonymous with inequality.

    So women sometimes ask male friends for a ride home. And this proves what, exactly?
    I am male and I’ve asked friends to drop me some place or the other on several occasions, when my car broke down or whatever. Many people, of both sexes, form carpools to save on fuel. What’s the big deal in asking a friend for some help?
    As for “special consideration”, as far as I know, it’s pretty rare for one and even if it was amazingly common, it doesn’t show why women shouldn’t have equality. I’m pretty sure that most women would gladly exchange the small considerations for greater freedom.

    The workplace point is moot, because women can and do work very late hours, at least in my field of work (can’t say about other industries). I’ve personally been in emergency meetings which included female bankers and lawyers, that went on till 4-5 AM. No one wants to be in some conference room at 4 AM, eating crappy vanilla wafers and trying to figure out what an equally jaded looking guy is saying, and what he really means. But it’s a part of life in this line of work. I don’t know any boss who would consistently grant concessions to female employees. They may be excused on occasion if they have genuine reasons, but then the same applies to males too. I’ve never been in that kind of an environment in India, but I’m pretty sure that Indian women are every bit as strong and driven as Canadian women. If the Canadians can handle it, so can Indians, as long as they have as supportive an environment at home. The problem is that some of them are married to self-centered slackers who simply don’t want to do their fair share at home.

    My view on reservations is that we do need them. They are a necessary evil. But I don’t like the currently proposed constituency-centric system. Perhaps the political parties can be asked to have an equal number of male and female candidates?

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  5. Brilliant post IHM….loved it! You have said everything 🙂 I really have nothing more to add…

    Feminism is not men versus women, it is an older, biased way of living, giving way to a logical and just way of living.
    Amen…

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  6. Now this one I agree to a lot of issues .. I am awaiting some comments coming on this post , Lets see how many favour this one 🙂

    It is true though Equality should mean equal in all phases not jsut when it suits or How it suits..
    One of my friends got divorced and his wife got the kids and Please you know me i dont say for the sake of it the wife had no right to have the kids she did not deserve with the way she behaved and the way she acted late night pubbing etc, But just because she was a FEMALE she got the kids and this has left my friend heart broken cause he Dotes on the kids, he went part time at work jsut so he could take care of the kids .. This to me is unfair Where is a the equality here .. the law should change

    so many other incidents rightly put up in the post I dont say they should behave exactly like Men, but some thought to be given 🙂

    I will come back again to re-read and see what lovely people say here ..

    thanks for sharing

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    • And because of one case of unfairness (one-sided second hand information accepted) inequality should be acceptable?
      Inequality hurts the man too – the reason the mother is given custody of the kids is simple because society believes that bringing up kids is the woman’s job. This will change when a large majority of men start doing everything to take equal responsibility for childcare, rather than treating their home as a hotel/nursery rolled into one – put down the money and get the goods.
      The solution, as they say, is more feminism, not less.

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      • I knew someone would come and speak about it 🙂 , Well i did mention there are lot of examples where women are given preference, and I am sure ladies would not like to be shed off those preferences.

        Moreover I am not writing about who is better man or woman .. I always beleive as long as one treats the other as they themself want to be treated things will be fine.

        End of the day both MAN and WOMAN are a evil necessity they cant do without each other a planet full of men will be wrong and so will a planet full of woman.

        The reason for all these points is that they are there and I dont think there Can ever be a TIME where men and women can be equal.. Thats never going to happen Not because Men are bad or women are bad .. its because the fact that they both are different to each other. The way both are physically built, the way both and basically the Whole reason why the Two are on this planet, They both have different reasons for being on planet earth.

        Hope i did not dig my own grave at this point. Each to there own views i guess end of the day what we do in our own house behind closed doors Only we know. We can say all we want here in the open blog.

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    • I agree, just becuase someone is a woman does not mean they deserve the child/dren in a divorce. My american brother in law just got divorced and he doted on his children, the wife filed for full custody. When he went for his final hearing, the judge looked at him and asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted joint custody because the children deserve thier mom too.
      The judge awarded joint custody to him. Ofcourse this happened in the US. Indian laws need to change to accomodate that. I am a highly successful Career woman and my hubbys stayed at home for 6 months on leave taking care of our son. I loved it. He loved it.
      But yet, people time and again reminded me that somehow I should spend more time with him. And I do, I do everything with him on the weekends, we cook, bake togther, garden, read, play, go grocery shopping, go the nature centers. Yet because I was successful, I was always considered a less of a mother. Not by the hubs mind you, who encourages me, but the rest of the world. Why is a successful father not considered less of a father?
      I had to fight to get to where I am, if we had conferences out of state or overseas, they always assumed I would not go since I have a toddler. I did and always had the hubs and toddler join me after a couple of days. Why do I always have to keep proving my worth as a woman and a mother? I was even told by stay at home moms, that I was selfish to go to work. I love what I do, I have the ability to make the world a better place by what I do. I went to school for 6 years for it!
      I go off in a tangent here…but you get the gist.
      Conditions are worse in India, where woman have to bear eve teasing, or get attacked after dark if they choose to stay late.

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  7. Your blog is an eye opener IHM. I can say that it has benefited me in some ways too and also improved my thought process. To be frank, even I had a teeny bit of these doubts, when I was supporting reservation for women.. that we might be expected to be like men in all stratas, i.e., expected to do as much as them.. But this post removes all those doubts, the last 5 paras say it all. You are doing a great work and thank you so much. 🙂

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  8. Amen to everything you said.
    All men are not alike. Yet they are treated as equals (to one-another). They have the freedom to be individuals. So the fact that women are not the same as men shouldn’t come in the way of guaranteeing equality for them as equal individuals in the eyes of the law and society. At the end of the day, men and women are all individuals. The difference in a chromosome having such far-reaching impact is as shameful as any other difference (e.g. color of skin) limiting one’s freedom to be who they want to be.

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  9. You rightly brought down the physical labor point. Blue-collar jobs are not wrestling contests. There is a certain standard of physical strength/fitness which is required to do such jobs. As long as a candidate meets such conditions, how does it matter if the person is male or female? What matters is results and if the woman can match the prevailing standards, there is no earthly reason to keep her out.

    The argument of religious reverence does not hold water either. We do not want a society where women are “worshipped” or revered for no good reason at all. We want a society where they are treated pretty much the same as everyone else. Hindu philosophy is not even consistent when it comes to ordinary women. The Vedas and the the Upnishads provide totally conflicting worldviews, the latter being quite misogynistic and sexist, while the former is much more nuanced in tone. The Manusmriti is, of course, probably one of the most misogynistic books ever written, right on par with most other religious books, which tend to be singled out for such criticisms.
    Hindu mythology is filled with spousal abuse being celebrated as something noble, as in the agni-pariksha of the Ramayan.

    In any case, it makes absolutely no sense for our ideals, ethics and social codes in the 21st to be derived from books written millennia ago in a completely different social arena. No, our behavior should be defined by modern concepts of no harm and enlightened self-interest.

    Finally, like I said earlier,

    there are no ifs and buts to equality. If people have to satisfy a particular condition before being equal, then it is no longer equality. If equality is conditional, then we would be in a situation where some are more equal than others. In other words, equality would not exist.

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  10. – In a lot of cases, men and women are definitely not equal.
    My Response: No they are not otherwise there won’t have been a classification and we would have one single set called humans. I am not talking about one being better or worse than other I am just saying they are different in terms of creation.

    -How many times have we asked a male friend to drop us back home as it is too late in the night ? And how many times have we accepted small considerations shown to us (for e.g. a cashier asking women to form a separate queue) only because it suited us?

    My Response: Its not that all men are superman, there are crimes which might happen where men can’t defend themselves but however they are assumed to perform this responsibility. A man reduces the risk of the women roaming alone, works well as an immediate solution why not accept it and move forward, the world is not perfect not for anyone be it man or a women.

    -As of now men (even married men and fathers) have a support system in place which makes these working conditions convenient. They have a spouse who cooks, packs tiffin, takes care of the children and the elderly.
    My Response: In my office there are females who have support system in terms of full time help for managing the house, so you mean to say if they are leaving early compared to their colleagues is a reasonable reason to discriminate? What about bachelors living alone should they also be given a similar consideration as given to women? I don’t think the situations at home should be a factor in determining the efficiencies in the workplace. As you put it up, it seems that a man doesn’t has any responsibility towards the home and wife and doesn’t needs to give anytime to his family while being in office he can spend 24*7 schedule there. There are considerations entitled to women like paid maternity leaves for months and all which are totally justified and still unequal, and they have developed over a period of time and I think any organization should be proud of being an equal opportunity employer while maintaining the policies and codes which cater to the need of the people at large.

    I agree with the rest of your article.

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  11. Great post IHM, a few responses from me:

    In a lot of cases, men and women are definitely not equal
    Women are definitely much better and deserve more than men (See, I can make unsupported assertions too!)

    Demand equality where it is due. If you demand equality at a work place, make sure to stay up late just like the men.
    We do stay late. Do also make sure to go home and cook dinner for your wife who is working late in office and put the kids to bed after helping them with homework and ironing their clothes.

    And I feel it is pretty stupid to demand equality where physical labour might be involved. Granted that a lot of women are capable of more stamina than men, but the statistics proving the contrary are larger.
    More physical labour should be paid more, right? How much should women who give birth be paid in that case? I am sure no manly ordeal matches up to that pain.

    Hinduism still places importance on the female power
    And being a representative of goddesses is so awesome! I suppose I could go around stabbing nasty men with a trishul like Durga? Or walk out of the house with all the money like Lakshmi?

    she should behave exactly like a male
    Like throw down money on salary day and expect quality service for the month without moving a finger? Like get drunk and beat up spouse and kids? Male behaviour is all chivalrous and protective and wonderful, isn’t it?

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    • Actually, SS, there’s a wee bit of confusion regarding what “behaving exactly like a male” means, exactly.

      On close reflection, I have come to the startling realization that my behavior does not resemble the behavior of approximately 79.73% of the male population in the slightest and even the remaining 20.37% behave differently from me, in varying degrees. For example, I don’t:
      drink Whiskey, take the bus to work, drive a Honda Civic, shout at kids, have kids, pick my nose, smoke, do the hula, make long speeches, beat my wife, listen to Britney Spears, shy away from cooking, live in Equatorial Guinea, write Chinese poetry, own a Timex, eat Cassava for breakfast, subscribe to Communist magazines, prefer Coke over Pepsi or skin beavers for a living.
      There are millions of males who do one or more of these things.

      Conclusion: I do not behave exactly like a male.

      Which leaves me in a very weird position because, well, I AM a male. That’s what the DNA reports and the Birth Certificate say anyway.

      So do males who do not behave exactly like males get equality or is it meh? Or is it just that the argument was nonsensical? What do you think, eh? 🙂

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      • Absolutely agree on stereotypes not applying to real live people.

        Was just trying to make fun of a nonsensical statement. If not even all males behave alike, and we usually criticize the way some men (and women) behave, why would male behaviour be held up as some sort of norm for achieving equality?

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  12. Sadly , we come across many people who say those words in red . And as we see that those words in red are loosing their meaning and relevance ( even for them) , the incidents of lower cut offs for boys etc. make one cringe ….
    the mindset of the whole society is not a singular thing , so each one has to come forward and work for equality in whatever area it is required….

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  13. Loved your responses. Equality is not about sameness, I wish people would understand that. I once got into a General compartment on a local train and this guy started grumbling saying women shouldn’t get into it because we had a Ladies’ compartment anyway (which was overflowing, btw). None of the other women said a word. I told him that General didn’t mean Gents and that if he didn’t want to stand with us, he could always get off. That shut him up.

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  14. @Prats

    1. – I am not talking about one being better or worse than other I am just saying they are different in terms of creation.
    Me – Not just man and women, even two men are not alike… everybody is different but equal.

    2. – Its not that all men are superman, there are crimes which might happen where men can’t defend themselves but however they are assumed to perform this responsibility. A man reduces the risk of the women roaming alone, works well as an immediate solution why not accept it and move forward, the world is not perfect not for anyone be it man or a women.

    Me – Women also face these risks that everybody else faces. Apart from sexual assaults. So I think it’s a good idea for a company to offer safer transport/flexible working hours (whatever works for them) and for the government and society to provide, and also support efforts for safer public spaces.

    I also believe, as our society becomes less unequal and women are valued and respected, we will see women’s problems being taken more seriously.

    3. – In my office there are females who have support system in terms of full time help for managing the house, so you mean to say if they are leaving early compared to their colleagues is a reasonable reason to discriminate?
    Me – Not sure if this support system can be compared to having a spouse at home… if they have small children their needs might be different.

    4. – What about bachelors living alone should they also be given a similar consideration as given to women?
    Me – If these bachelors/single men are raising children, it might benefit the company if paternity leave, crèches and flexible hours are provided. Single women should have access to such facilities too.

    5. – I don’t think the situations at home should be a factor in determining the efficiencies in the workplace.

    Me –Situations at home did not matter till now because the average worker had a wife at home, until recently. Now with more couples working, neither the men nor the women can ignore the situation at home.

    How does it affect men?
    More and more women are delaying getting married, because marriage and children seem to mean an easier life for a man (hot meals, someone else to do the laundry etc) but more work for women (in law’s responsibilities, more house work, having and raising children).

    [Women Don’t Want to Get Married and Have Children Because It’s A Lot of Work: Who is Surprised?‘]

    Weren’t women better off not working?
    Not working is not really an option because economic independence might become a matter of life and death for women. Independent women are seen as assets and dependent women (no matter what anybody says, don’t listen to their words, watch their actions) are seen as liabilities. [Another email. From a dil who has no brother.]

    Also dependent members of the society find that their problems, like unsafe public transport, sexual crimes, domestic violence, in law abuse etc continue to be trivialized.

    So will male workers remain unaffected for long?
    Lesser number of women (Skewed Gender Ratio) and still lesser willing to accept the way marriages work in India, and more divorces – could mean end of the earlier support system that the male workers had (i.e. working or non working wives to manage the home front).

    More men doing their share of raising children and house work, would mean a bigger demand for work-places to evolve to fit these new age workers.

    I think we are realizing that work place, performance and families are all connected.

    6. – As you put it up, it seems that a man doesn’t has any responsibility towards the home and wife and doesn’t needs to give anytime to his family while being in office he can spend 24*7 schedule there.
    Me – Men have equal responsibility at home, and now that wives are working too, it would be very unfair to avoid doing their share.

    7. – There are considerations entitled to women like paid maternity leaves for months and all which are totally justified and still unequal, and they have developed over a period of time and I think any organization should be proud of being an equal opportunity employer while maintaining the policies and codes which cater to the need of the people at large.

    Me – True equality would be when paternity leave is also given – a couple should be allowed to choose which one of the two would take the leave entitled to the parents. Fathers too have a right to bond with the kids (Read Bikram’s comment above)

    8. – I agree with the rest of your article.
    Me – Thank You.

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    • Gayathri,

      I’d give it a try, if you could only enumerate some character traits that are absolutely exclusive to women.

      Hint: There are none.

      We may be biologically different and it may be possible that men and women are hard-wired a bit differently. I’m not sure about that.

      But on a practical, day-to-day basis, there’s isn’t ANY tangible difference that I see, which is a result of gender differences rather than personality differences. Every other day, there’s some article in the paper which loudly proclaims that women do so and so while men do such and such. Funnily enough, I’ve never yet noticed any of that, even after making a conscious attempt on a few occasions. I never could find out the different handwriting patterns, nor the different way in which they supposedly use conjunctives or the slightly different tilt with which they’re said to hold a coffee cup. It seems to me that men and women are more alike than many of them would care to admit.

      Let’s behave like ourselves, rather than men or women. Seriously. 🙂

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      • PT, There does exist a tangible difference across between women and men ! That’s the reason why these posts come up.

        Although you may not see any big difference, my husband who lives 6 hrs away from where us doesn’t see a difference, he understands the importance of my career, higher studies and gives a wierd look to people who tell him that my career shld nt be important to him or his family.

        It’s not about handwriting, coffee cup holding etc. Its about far more bigger things in life, career, kids, cooking, cleaning etc.,

        Believe me, I still get a saturday completely off inspite of having a 1 year old at home, practically get 8 hrs sleep, 1 hour of my time myself everyday ! I am 100% sure, not all women are blessed as i am.

        Behavioural differences on a given situation is very different for women and men. Women probably because of constant pressure to be an all rounder can manage things far more easily than men do.

        The saddest part is, even if i dont want to be an all rounder, i am expected to be one. So, things get easier by not falling in love, not getting married, not getting kids.

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      • Gayathri,
        If you look closely at my comment, you’ll notice that I did not mention “behavior”. Instead, I used the phrase “character traits”.

        There’s a good reason for that. I do not deny that a man and a women can behave differently when exposed to the same set of circumstances.

        However, I don’t believe that there is any set of underlying character traits that is exclusive to either men or women. I cannot name a single trait found in men as a species which is not found in women as a species.
        On the other hand, INDIVIDUALS of both sexes can vary drastically in their character traits and therefore, in their behaviors.

        My submission is that it makes no sense to draw some imaginary line in the sand and say, “well you, sir, are a man, so you should behave this way, while you, ma’am, are a woman, so you should behave that way”.
        It does not work like. Not in real life, anyway.
        When you say that “maybe men should start behaving like women”, which woman do you mean? Is it my firebrand attorney friend Natasha? Or is it my stay-at-home mother of two SIL? Are they not equally female? Of course they are. But are their behavior, character and priorities the same? I seriously doubt it.

        Conversely, when the person in red says that women should behave like men, which man does he mean? There are sensitive men, and assertive men, and dumb men, and smart men and all kinds of men.

        Men and women come in all flavors, really. It’s best to recognize that and think of people on a case-by-case basis, rather than in terms of the groups they belong to. It’s also best to be yourself, if possible, never mind what the other people of your gender are doing.
        That was the point I was trying to make.

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    • Possibly because they don’t want to. After all, who wants to lose their name to marriage, move into someone else’s house and listen to everyone’s demands on how you should dress, eat, sleep, cook, talk, breathe, etc. ? Also, who wants to be groped slyly in a crowded bus or train and then feel frustrated because no one is supporting you? Tell me, who wants to have child after child when they don’t want to and would rather pursue their other dreams? Seriously, who would want to be raped and then being told they asked for it? I am not at all surprised men do not want to “act like women”. Really.

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      • Fem, the problem is, things are difficult that way. If we speak something, it becomes issues like women are designed that way women are designed this way.

        The whole marriage system was created back in the days for convience to men because, there existed a question as to whose child was that. ( Happenend during Parasurama’s time) not until then. After which the deterioration of all the women clan happenend.

        Ask one man to lead a woman’s life for 10 days. Am pretty sure he would be a braindrained nut-case, juggling between office, home, kids, cooking, dishes,clothes, keeping the house spik and span (oopss typing itself tires me out :D)and many more untold chores.

        Amidst all these comes all the harrasment, comments etc.

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      • Believe me, G, I’m really not trying to be obnoxious lol. But I couldn’t resist butting in – again. 😀

        Just wanted to say that a married woman’s life doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be that way and marriages can definitely be a lot more equitable than that.

        But yes, most marriages in this country are not equitable at all and the husbands don’t tend to pitch in. Undoubtedly, it’s a grossly unfair system and it really does need to change. And the only way I can see that kind of large-scale change happening is when women become independent enough, financially and psychologically, to be able to say no and DEMAND change.

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  15. This is about what should be. I want to talk about what is. Certainly, the crux of the problem is how people mistake equality for sameness. This has actually been embedded in their psyche. I would say it is natural thinking. Different things invoke different reactions.
    Equality is unfortunately a mathematical concept.

    Me – Bharathee, not everybody mistakes equality for sameness. Even small children, siblings, class mates sense the injustice of inequality. Most people who are being unfair are aware of the unfair advantage they are getting, often they are also insecure – some might fear that another person’s equality means, somehow, their loss of equality.

    I have come to see that equality of people in the world is ultimately a Utopian phenomenon. Even though, it is principly wrong, the fact is only homogeneity makes quality possible.
    Me – I am not sure I agree. Has Saudi Arabia succeeded in providing equality to all it’s citizens? Or Afghanistan? Or Somaliya? India with it’s diverse population has achieved it much better.

    But homogeneity itself is an impossibility. The truth of the world is dominance and submission. Either be superior or inferior.
    Me – It’s possible that misogynists and racists feel this way, that is why they strive to be ‘superior’ – because they don’t see equality as a possibility…

    Please note that, I am not supporting patriarchy here. In case, patriarchy did not exist, I’m sure matriarchy will and we all will be fighting another war.
    Me – In parts of urban India, and in countries where gender equality is better accepted, like in Sweden, they have neither patriarchy not matriarchy. They are living peacefully.

    I won’t say that equality is never possible. But it is never continuous and permanent. If I have two children – fraternal twins – a boy and a girl, I would raise them equally, never be partial to one because of their sex. Those are my principles. But I cannot make sure everyone treats them the same way or even if both will treat each other the same way.
    Me – The self confidence that children get from being accepted as equals by their parents gives them the strength to deal with the way the world might sometimes treat them.
    The ideas of equality, fair play, justice etc begin at home. Homes and families create the society. We can always begin at home.

    This is why I’m not a feminist. I do not wish to be victimized or bound by an ideology. I believe freedom of the mind is the first step for freedom of the self. An ideology works only for one person, the one who creates it. Feminism is certainly not created by me.
    Me – I guess so long as we understand and respects the fact that everybody has an equal right to justice, freedom, happiness and equal opportunities (etc), what one calls that ideology matters very little.

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    • Bharathee,

      I agree that perfect equality is a utopian concept.

      But so is perfect freedom. Or a perfectly law-abiding society. Or a perfectly working economic system.

      The fact that an ideal, in it’s perfect form, is practically unachievable, should not stop us from working towards it. Okay, so maybe we can’t have a society where no one ever robs a bank. But we can definitely try and reduce the occurence.

      Perfect equality may not be possible, but there is no reason why we cannot have something very close to it. At the very least, we can at least try to provide, by and large, equal opportunities to everyone.

      I don’t think homogenity is a prerequisite for a high degree of equality. Many of the most equitable societies in the world today have been historically diverse and unequal (eg: The United States, Britain, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany). As well, homogenity is no guarantee of equality.

      Social equality takes a long, long time to develop. But before we can even attempt that, the basics must be ensured, with or without the cooperation of general society. Girls must go to school, have access to the same infrastructure as boys and must be independent enough to effect change in their own lives. Once that happens, social attitudes, slowly but surely, will change.

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    • Equality simply means equal opportunities. For instance, giving A & B equal opportunities to attend a class will not mean both will succeed equally. A may fly to the top of the class and B may fail abysmally. But that is not to say we ought to deny either of them the right to attend that particular class.

      Also, your take on feminism is unfortunately too common. Feminism can be described as equality of sexes in every way. Not the outcome, but the opportunity. Men have for long disclaimed this equal opportunity idea and have made fun of the idea with this same silly argument of equal = same. Unfortunately too many women appear to have bought that criticism with the effect that they are afraid to call themselves a feminist.

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  16. Very well written response. Unfortunately, this is such a prevalent phenomenon in the society. And I was amazed that there are places where the cut-off for men/boys was being lowered to compensate. They were very happy to say girls were dumber than boys when the situation was reversed!

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  17. “If a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male.”

    First, I should point out that this itself is a feminist principle. May not be explicitly said, but this is basically what Amazon feminism and radical feminism is about. How did the hairy, ugly, lesbian feminist stereotype came about? This is how. Which is why I stopped subscribing to feminism. It has too many contradicting views under the same blanket term “feminism”. This is the classic example of how ideology other than your own actually can victimize you instead of emancipating you.

    Me – Bharathee misogynists in India (in the comments on this post) who take off their shirts to ask women if they can’t do the same, then they can’t be equal to men… they also feel women need to behave exactly like men for both to be ‘equal’.

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  18. great post IHM.
    Can even two men behave exactly like each other? Is there not physical, behavioural differences even between two men? yet both get respect. Then why this special emphasis on how women are different than men? of course they are different!! But that does not mean they are in any way inferior or that they need to be like men to get equal respect. Why “being like men” is the threshold here? Are men epitomes of perfection that women need to meet, to qualify for equality? The points given in red seem a bit immature (whoever made those arguments).
    1) Why do women ask for male friends to drop them at night? Because they feel unsafe. And are men not responsible for making them feel unsafe by resorting to eve teasing and sexual assualts?
    The circumstances are different for women and men . The way society looks towards men and women is “unequal”.. And hence women and men are bound to react differently, and act differently. But inspite of this, they both qualify for equality in respect.
    2) Why dont men start looking after the house singlehandedly, tend to the in laws and children single handedly and then try and stay late at work ? Is it not something impossible we are asking women to achieve? If men and women both share equal responsibility at home, then there is absolute no need for women to feel burdened by the work at home.
    3) “demand equality where it is due”. This very statement is against the definition of equality. Equality (by that I mean equal respect, equal freedom of thought, action and speech, equal feeling of security and personal safety, fair wages) is *always* due, to each and everyone in the society.

    I fail to understand why these kind of arguments always end up being men vs women. These are one set of human beings less privileged versus another set of human beings more privileged.

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  19. Brilliant post, IHM. I am always being talked down like this, and my replies are pretty much the same. I remember that scene in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, where Madhuri claims she can do anything a man can do, and Salman replies with taking off his shirt and challenges her to do the same. I thought it was in bad taste, and just another way to show how women’s concerns for equality is made fun of by Bollywood.

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    • I was just going to bring that up! That scene is so common in so many Telugu movies it makes my blood boil. It’s so juvenile and stupid, and yet the scene is shown as if it is some testament to the ultimate superiority of the male race!

      Like

      • My counter to that has always been to say “It’s not that I mind taking my shirt off. If a man takes his shirt off and walks in the streets, women have the self restraint to not molest him, physically, verbally or just by leering. But if I do the same, would an equal proportion of men have the same self restraint? Ergo, women can do all that men can, and much more”

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      • There is also another reason. Male nudity is sanctioned by society. Men in singlets and bare upper body are quite commonly seen everywhere. Also, men in shorts are not frowned upon. Hence, we women do not think twice at seeing a male body. Perhaps if our men were kept in burqas, our hormones would start raging at the sight of a single bare male arm? In that case, Madhuri may have molested Salman then and there … Just a thought!

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        • are u sure?men in shorts not frowned upon?where i come from,men are not allowed shorts at work,yet women are allowed skirts way before the knee,and dresses which also follow such shortening standards.certain restaurants ban men in shorts and berms but not women in miniskirts.how can this be tolerated?

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        • In anime,female nudity is being treated as commonplace while male nudity is hardly ever seen,or only appeared in R rated ones.in my country,i see women on the average revealed twice that of the men,in tops way skimpier and shorts much shorter n tighter than their male counterparts,some of which are torn.I wonder if thats to be tolerated.some women even overreact at seeing a bare male body,giving false reports of a flasher,while expecting men to accept them in skanky outfits.I have half a mind to report those women,but there are too many of them around,and too many men blindly accepting it

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        • Fabrizzo, I’m not sure where you are from. I’m a guy. I have lived in India for most of my life. I have worn shorts to most places (except, maybe, to work). Even at work, I sometimes wear shorts if I have to go to the office on a weekend. No one has stopped me. I’m currently in the US. Here too, I have worn shorts to most places except work. I have not been attacked or harassed…I have not been blamed for wearing provocative clothing…no one has called me a ‘skank’…(not to my face anyway :)).

          Regarding your complaint about women being allowed to wear skimpy tops and short skirts while men are not allowed to wear shorts, your problem seems to be more with the dress code enforced in those places than with the women. If you see anyone violating a fair dress code and it disturbs you, you can certainly report them. However, if you feel that the dress code itself is unfair, you might have to take up the issue with the respective institutions.

          As far as your comment about nude women in anime goes, I hope you do realize that it’s because more men want to see a lot of female nudity in anime. If you want to address the root cause for female nudity in anime, blaming the women does not make much sense. I do not think a lot of women are fighting for the right to have more nude women in anime or videogames…I’d be very surprised.

          The point I’m trying to make is this…Yes, there may be some discrimination against men in the matter of dress codes in certain institutions (even though I have not come across it in my, admittedly, limited experience). However, in my observation, that is far outweighed by the social discrimination and harassment and sexual violence that women face for simply daring to dress the way they want or for trying to live their life the way they want. If they ask for protection from the society or the government against this violence, they are told that it is their punishment for not conforming to traditional gender roles or for not bowing down to a male-dominated culture. That is what this post is trying to address.

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  20. IHM…..this is a wonderful post. I get asked these questions very often, and unfortunately, I get too worked up and emotional to give a coherent and articulate response. This post echoes perfectly my own responses when I am asked such questions. I will share this post with some people who have only recently asked me these questions. Thanks!

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  21. I really do not get how educated people tend to have such a regressive thought process. People totally misinterpret the whole point of gender equality and think it to be a race for upmanship or sameness.
    Educated parents exhibit to the society that they do not differentiate between their sons & daughters, at the same time they save up for the boy’s ‘education’ and the girl’s ‘marriage’.
    We have no idea how this differentiation is deeply ingrained within our minds, however we live in denial trying to appear to be progressive.
    Demanding gender equality means asking for ‘a change of attitude’, equal education & work opportunities, ending gender based differential pay system etc. The sole foundation to this is that ‘all individuals may not be same in intellect, beauty, poweretc. however they have been created as equals and hence must have similar right of being treated with respect and equality.

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  22. Right now, with a small baby in my life and everything, I know that I am taking work a little easy. I do not stay back unless absolutely required and I fulfill my current duties to satisfaction. I also know that not pushing the envelope at work means slower promotions. But that is the trade off I am making because I want to spend more time with my baby till she gets a little older and more independent. The same story is true for my husband also.

    Now from my manager’s perspective, he judges my performance by the work I am doing. I don’t think he takes into account if I am spending time with my baby or going out partying. All that matters is what I do at the work place and not outside it. And consequences are dished out accordingly.

    I really can’t understand where this whole male / female argument even comes into this picture!

    Equality is about giving everyone equal opportunity. It is about giving everyone the same amount of freedom and right to choose. It is not making sure everyone behaves the same way. That said, I do not completely believe in reservations for anything. I think reservations treat the symptoms , not the cause. Be it caste based reservations or sex based reservations, I think there are too many loop holes that are taken advantage of. If we have to empower women to take control of their lives, then we have to start at the grass root level and try and change the outlook of people with regards to the women in their lives. 100 reserved seats in the Parliament will not make any significant difference to these everyday women. Infact I would go a a step further and ask why my candidate list of people who can represent me be restricted to one sex because I am from a particular town?

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  23. Give me a wife to cook, clean, massage my ego and a heir to my throne and I’ll be equal to the next guy 🙂 .

    Why does a man have to be the standard/measuring yard for establishing equality or anything?

    Are all men equal? Guess Dalit men are not http://www.rediff.com/news/report/retired-dalits-office-cleansed-with-cowdung-water/20110407.htm

    Oh, how many men can compete with Kalpana Chawla, Jwala Gutta, Indira Nooyi that will prove how men and women are different.

    On the lines of argument presented in red, tomorrow this person is going to ask there should be no accommodations for people with disabilities as they impair the efficiency of workplace.

    Then it will follow, anyone that does not match the definition of able bodied male need not exist because it impairs the team performance.

    Wonder, if work place is for people or people are for the work place.
    Jai bolo Capitalism ki… 🙂

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

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    • Desi Girl,
      There’s nothing particularly capitalistic about excluding a huge pool of talented people from workplace. There’s nothing socialistic about it either. It’s just…a dumb idea.

      A true capitalist wouldn’t give a damn how many limbs, eyes and X-chromosomes you have, as long as you get the job done and make him/her lots of money.

      Just saying.

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      • @PT,
        That is the point DG is making.
        Jai bolo Capitalism ki…

        …work place is for people or people are for the work place…
        Any one not making money is not welcome. Anyone not spending doesn’t matter. Anyone without credit history doesn’t exist on and on…

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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      • @PT: I was going to say just that. As long as everyone makes money, there is no point in discriminating against a particular group of people. The very essence of capitalism. And yeah, it’s just a dumb idea.

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  24. Hi IHM,

    I see my post on display. Am not in a position to reply to each & every comment or to your explanations as I am working my ass off daily … I get back home at 4.30 am, and leave home at 9am every day .. so I know I am justified when I say “if women want privileges, they should work for it” … I have a family too, so …

    It is easy to make statements or write posts, but I’d rather people talk and write what they experience than idealism.

    I am rubbing shoulders with men daily and working just as hard as them. So, I deserve the privileges/bonuses I get. But, a colleague who is off on maternity leave etc deserves support, but not the privileges.

    I really do not have the time to reply .. Like I said, it is easy for people who have the time to talk about idealism, but not for those who are out there facing things.

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    • Deepa,

      So you think maternity leave is a privilege or a support?

      To feel safe at work place is it a right, privilege or a support?

      With that standard any person who faces illness or life threatening sickness that demands they take time off from work should be fired and asked not to look for wages, gratuity and bonus that was due when they were still performing to their best abilities.

      Most of us posting comments here are working towards paying our bills some of us even have careers not just jobs. We work hard like any regular guy. Make it safe for a woman to travel and work at odd hours and she’ll out perform the man. Give a woman a wife to take care of domestic chores and her children, she’ll hop on next plane to Honolulu for next corporate meeting.

      Please stop riding feminism’s nickel, it was feminist fore-mothers who struggled to make it possible for us women to work outside the homes and get paid or else we would have been toiling in the family farms and family cottage industries for roof on our heads and two sets of clothes.

      The eight hour work day and weekend off was accorded to us by feminist fore-mothers working in the textile mills in UP in 1920. Oh, they shouldn’t have done this, they should have just acted exactly like men- bite the bullet and slave for the capitalist and not talk about humane treatment and worker’s rights. They should have just let the children under 14 slave in those mills to make money for the capitalist. That would have been real manly.

      If women were to be behaving like men the world will end sooner than later because all we need is more guns, knives and bloodshed in the name of nation, religion, region and what not.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

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    • If you are reaching work at 9:30 am and reaching home at 4:30 am, then it is a different issue you are facing. One of worker exploitation, which unfortunately exists in India.

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    • Hi Deepa,

      At the risk of sounding like an idiot, let me say that the first thought that came to my mind when I saw your comment was this : you need a career change, double-quick.

      Even if you work only five days a week, we’re talking about close to a hundred-hour week! NO compensation justifies working those kind of hours on a regular basis, whether you are male or female.

      Regarding maternity leave, you’d do well to remember that in a competitive corporate environment, there is every incentive to NOT take it. If you choose not to have kids, and don’t take the maternity benefits, you definitely power ahead in the race for promotions, pay raises, and so forth. Average employees who take three-month holidays (for whatever reason, not just maternity) lose out, and at least at higher levels in the hierarchy, they are definitely not treated the same as employees who didn’t take a break or those who were forced to take a break for reasons outside of their control (like sickness).

      By the way, it takes me between 2-6 minutes to write a comment. Which is perfect, because I usually work in 6-minute chunks and take 6 minutes off at the end of an hour. This is a hangover from my law firm days (where everything happens in six minute chunks), but it works well, and it also allows me to comment prolifically on my favorite blogs, despite not being too idle. Of course, my schedule isn’t nearly as packed as yours. And I may well have to rethink what a packed schedule really means. I thought 70 hour weeks were long. Guess not.

      Cheers

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      • Superb response PT 🙂

        And Deepa,

        Says who that women are allowed maternity leaves as a priviledge? Its their right..after ‘working their asses off’ (as you put it) for several years for their respective employers. As far as I know, no organisation allows a 3month maternity leave to a new joinee. It is a benefit the companies have decided to give to the employees because it is logical..why would they want to part with a valuable employee just because they are sick or pregnant…they rather give them leave.
        And why do you assume that the women who decide to choose family in the family vs career tradeoff would have been less dedicated or efficient in their worklife at anytime.
        Also, let me correct you, maternity leave is not a priviledge its a right for all working women, granted by their respective organisations. And no, they do not need any support..I have seen my friends working till the very last days of their pregnancy and do a kickass job at work.
        Also,the fact that you work out of home does not entitle you to be judgemental about the women who donot have a corporate career. You have no idea how many such women contribute towards social causes and life in general. I mean I have been inspired, to do better/be better , several times over the past few months just be reading these blogs, otherwise I was just like anyone else, too caught up in my life, harrowing work schedules to care a damn about the world around me.
        So, no its easier to say that I am too busy with my life and work to care a damn, and much tougher to have a world view and do something to better in whatever way possible. Afterall, everyone lives their lives, but few stand up to causes in general.

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    • Is your 20 hrs a day few days exception or a norm …if its a norm then either you are inefficient in your work or totally exploited . I have a career , and i make it a point that on regular basis i do 8-9 hrs of work , I am fav of my client and bosses , not because m a women but because i am good at my work . And i take leave when I am sick , I go for annual holidays , I put my foot down and say we need more resources when there is workload.I insist on cab and company ascort if I am to work and travel late at night .
      And You are one of the few ppl who try too hard to prove themselves by slogging when not required and thus setting up wrong expectations.

      I have seen my home maker mom stuck with a 16 hrs work schedule with no holidays and leaves , and u lady is stuck in similar rut. Just that You get paid for it. Rubbing shoulders with men ..even a labourer does that.

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    • Deepa, Are we *all* not “out there” facing things?! 😉
      And this is not just “talking about idealism” , i think. It is an attempt to spread awareness, discuss, learn, un-learn and practice striving idealism.

      Also, now that I think of it, I comment on almost every post on this blog and a bunch of other blogs… Maybe, I am “too idle” and need to start putting more than the current 10 hours/day I am putting in my job.

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  25. Another wonderful discussion. I think a misconception that often comes about is “equality” for a lot of people often translates to mean “make everything the same.” Which is far from the truth.

    equality does not mean an equal amount but equal opportunity… Do not make the mistake of identifying equality in liberty with the forced equality of the convict camp. True anarchist equality implies freedom, not quantity. It does not mean that every one must eat, drink, or wear the same things, do the same work, or live in the same manner. Far from it: the very reverse in fact… Individual needs and tastes differ, as appetites differ. It is equal opportunity to satisfy them that constitutes true equality… Far from levelling, such equality opens the door for the greatest possible variety of activity and development. For human character is diverse.

    This is a quote from Alexander Berkman. I like this definition of equality, because it’s not about making everything the same.

    I never took equality to mean “make everything 50/50 at all times.” But allowing flexibility.

    Equality does not mean some people need to behave like other people. And all men (or all women) are not alike either. Equality would mean men and women being able to be themselves – sometimes they might want to do some things that were earlier ‘reserved for men’ (like the right to be paid for their labours) – that’s fine.

    Equality also means men have an equal right to enjoy cooking, caring for family, raising children or dancing. It does not mean they have to behave exactly like women to be treated as equals.

    Exactly! I agree 100%.

    Feminism is not men versus women, it is an older, biased way of living, giving way to a logical and just way of living.

    Right, a friend of mine once told me “feminism is about society accepting you as a woman. Not forcing you to be like a man.”

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  26. I like how you add “Should a Chinese, Malyali, Goan and Ethiopian act alike even if they’re equal?” Men and women being equal just mean that they’re honored and respected on the same level. They’re not seen as inferior to the other. That’s what gender quality means to me. It goes back to that old quote “Feminism is the notion that women are actually people!”

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  27. “Women even today, are discouraged from taking their careers too seriously, career for women is seen as an option (and Getting and Staying Married as the goal). So the playing field is not level.”

    When I gave birth to my daughter three and half yrs ago, few close friends and relatives were quick to point that I should give up my job and stay at home to take care of my child. It did not matter to them that I was career-oriented and had made plans to take good care of my child and concentrate on my career as well. “why are you so much after job? You can give up the job now and join the work force later”. You see, people are ready to give free advice and make a working woman feel that she is committing sin by working while she needs to be at home to look after her child. Why is it that not many believe that it is possible for a woman to focus on career, child and home and balance it well? All she needs is support from her family. I was lucky to have that support. The bonding between my daughter and me is in tact (TW) and she has never felt neglected, as few had pointed out that career women tend to neglect their children.
    It is a personal choice whether or not to work after having a child. Be it a SAHM or FTWM, it is completely the mother’s discretion as to how to take care of her child. My husband and I were firm that I would continue to work. I made some adjustmens like not working over time at all, devoting all my time during weekends and holidays to play with my daughter, involving her in simple activities like ‘bring that veggie from the fridge, what is its name? what is its colour’, so that she learns as well as bonds with me while I am cook, attending social gatherings with her etc.

    Oh yes, a woman who chooses to focus on career and delays marriage is made to feel guilty. Though the situation is changing in many places, many women who delay getting married still face the taunts and sarcastic remarks. A friend of mine is getting married in 3 months time. She was saying that she was taunted for being choosy and not saying ‘yes to anyone who comes with a marriage proposal’. There was another case where a friend of mine broke her engagement after she learnt that the boy was a psychic patient and was making calls to her asking her where she was, who was she talking to, does she talk to men in her office etc. People were quick to advise her father to quickly fix her marriage even if to a widower or divorcee cos she was now jinxed for breaking her engagement. Her parents went through mental tension and ‘we will contact you later’ messages from the boy’s side for the next four years until she got married to a nice guy.

    Sorry for taking up so much space.

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  28. “And religion .. Am not well versed in other religions, but Hinduism started with worshiping the supreme feminine power. Even today, the supreme power in Hinduism is a female entity. Though man may perform atrocities on women, Hinduism still places importance on the female power.”

    Power is feminine. Spirit is masculine. They balance each other, complement each other and complete each other. There is no existence without either. Shiv without Shakti is shava ( a corpse ) . But this is the philosophy of it. In day-to-day Life, most of us forget that. Women are the other half, there would be no harmony, no balance without them. Quite ironical, that the Men who desire Lakshmi , seek the blessings of Saraswati and bow before Durga , forget to treat the living breathing feminine around them with respect .

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  29. Equality is about nobody telling an adult what to do. Just respect that everyone has their own way of thinking and as long as they are not causing harm to you, be non judgemental.

    Just let everyone be!

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  30. This is such an interesting discussion.

    “Feminism is not men versus women, it is an older, biased way of living, giving way to a logical and just way of living.”

    I completely agree. Equality is not Sameness, and you have brought out the difference so well.

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  31. Great post, IHM. The social conditioning on what a man or a woman should do is so deep rooted that sometimes you find the best among us behaving or saying outrageous things.

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  32. I read somewhere: “A woman who aspires to be equal with men lacks ambition.” (or something like that). I read somewhere else that equality is impossible for humans – but we should strive for equality in equity. Nice words. Speaking only for myself – a giant sample size of one, I know that my husband and I are not equal in all senses. Luckily, we complement each-others’ intelligences and capabilities. However, I feel that we have equal equity (ownership) in our lives together – our homes, children, major decisions etc etc. My mother does not have such equity with her husband. Everything is basically his.
    In the workplace, I have (again) been fortunate. I have taken what I’ve wanted or needed when I’ve felt ready. I have assumed equity – and I admit that I have been fortunate in the choices I’ve had in life. I’m the first to acnowledge that we do not all receive equal choices.
    I am not trying to make any point here. Its a complex world we live in – made more complex by our own rites and rituals. Sometimes equity is taken from us…and sometimes we give it away ourselves.

    Like

  33. about two weeks ago, i cut my hair. it was long, thick and (apparently) very beautiful. but i dunno. i’ve always liked short hair. its really short now. till my ears. earlier it used to almost reach my waist. i was really happy with myself. and then, a male friend came over. he said he liked the ‘feminine bani’ more. i laughed it off then. but i got a lot of comments like that from many guyfriends. (the girls? they love it!). when i think of it, i realize how (unthinkingly) sexist SO MANY male members of our society are. its your hair that makes you ‘feminine’, apparently.
    forget equality, we’re judged even when we do something as simple as chopping our hair off. for me, real equality would persist when a woman/girl can do what she wants to without being judged or labelled. wear her makeup the way she wants to. dress the way she wants to. be opinionated. and that doesn’t require reservation ANYWHERE (parliament, or educational institutions). it just requires a change in mindset. it requires a change in how you bring up your sons, and how you shape their opinions about girls.

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  34. The talk about “women are treated special because they get maternity leave” angers me no end. You know what, having a baby is physically taxing for a woman. Not just the process, rather the 9 month incubation period. And at the end of it, they have a human being pushed out of their innards. Doesn’t that allow them medical leave for rest- not leave where they magically get promotions and higher salaries, but leave which like all other sick leave becomes leave without pay after a while. I wonder whether the same people who cry about women taking maternity leave protest as much for male colleagues undergoing serious surgery, recovering from some disease or the other? Or is the humanity only applicable to men? because women do not count any how.

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  35. Hi IHM ..

    I saw ur comment on my blog … but like I said, I do not have the time right now to read through posts, let alone reply to comments … I see comments in response to my reply, but am in no mood to argue/justify/explain my views.

    Just a quick response … maternity leave may be a right ..it is so bad that everyone goes on tlaking about “their” own rights without considering what this demand for “rights” can lead to. my brother can demand taking off to assist his friend as his right … and in a few days, taking off to assist yet another another friend as also his right … it just does not work that way …. how often have we said “do not mix profession and personal lives” .. having a baby is my personal choice, and that should not affect the lives of my teammates.

    you all speak as if men are not threatened or under pressure, and as if its only us women under pressure … well thats for another day.

    and i saw a reply about reservation of bus seats as a counter to eve teasing ! wow !!! maybe it started that way .. if it really is so now too, ask women not to sit on seats marked for men (to avoid chances of being eve teased)… will you do so ???

    and separate queues ::
    an old MAN stands in a mile long queue, but a young woman gets away ‘coz of a separate (and often shorter) queue for women … and that is equality ???

    I make use pf a lot of the benefits that come with being a woman (and i guess these benefits are around coz the women still want them , which should be against the principles of feminism, if feminism were defined as equality) .. but blind insistence on equality ..no way !

    I DO NOT have to be thankful to feminism for being where i am today. Yes, the feminist movement did put pressure in certain places without which a lot of things would have been impossible….but, even then, if it were not for the career i enjoy and have today, am sure i’d still have been independent doing something else. Every woman in the place I come from (starting from ladies of my great grandmother’s gen) have been educated and have been independent in their own way. And for sure, it is not the feminist movement THEY have to be thankful for.

    I am unable to write lucidly at the moment as I have matters of far greater importance to deal with. Maybe, some other day.

    ( The aggressiveness and blind assertiveness on “rights” & feminism that I see here is a bit troublesome to me)

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    • Hiya D.

      Some quick notes here.

      First, paid parental leave wasn’t originally a “right”, in the same sense as, say, freedom of expression is a right. The concept evolved as a response to the demands of the employee market. In the United States, there is still no law mandating paid maternity or paternity leave to employees. However, a large majority of firms do provide it. Why? Simply because a lot of employees demanded it and it has now become so ubiquitous that most employers who do not provide paid parental leave find themselves unable to attract workers even towards the lower end of the market. This was exactly how it started out in most industrialized nations, and as it became increasingly common, governments turned it into a law in order to provide some level of protection to employees who didn’t have enough bargaining power to push employers into providing such a facility.

      Second, no one can harm the performance of a team without screwing up their own career profile. Parental leave is not a sudden thing. I presume that it is usually planned months in advance. Team projects are usually planned in advance too. With all that advance knowledge, I don’t see why team performance should be compromised (unless you work in a small-ish firm where other employees cannot be assigned).

      Third, I’m not in favor of segregated queues and coaches for women. It doesn’t really solve anything in the long run and I believe that it is very detrimental to social equality. That said, frequent sexual harassment is an everyday reality for millions of women in India and segregation may well be beneficial in the short run. If the only trade-off to lesser sexual harassment is a longer queue for elderly men, then I think a lot of us would be happy to accept that, in the absence of a better alternative.

      Finally, you don’t HAVE to be thankful for anything! Hey, you’re a self made woman, you’ve got every right to be proud of it. More power to you and do keep your chin up! 🙂

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    • Deepa, I too would have liked to respond to your comment, but I find it too incoherent..
      Would just like to say that yes pregnancy is a personal choice and the women who take it are more than willing to take a hit in their career.

      Also, just because you are placed better you should not close your eyes to several commom women’s issues like sexual harassment in public transport, eveteasing, gender bias, differential pay, infanticide, domestic violence, dowry deaths etc.

      We are not saying the pressure faced by men are any lesser, all we are saying here is that for women their are multiple pressure points, which becomes excessively draining. Our social fabric does nothing to help women and each one has to fight her own battle. Atleast we need to acknowledge that there are problems and together our voices can help raise awareness that ‘it is not a woman’s destiny to silently bear with all these’

      WE ARE ALL EQUAL, EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS…

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  39. I agree with you a lot on this topic.

    “So for most women today, “entering into a marriage and having kids seems like a bad career move”…
    well in this case, I want to say that it is the same for me too. Men and women, both have to understand that and seek a solution that will be suitable for them both as well as their children.

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  42. Very well written response. Unfortunately, this is such a prevalent phenomenon in the society. And I was amazed that there are places where the cut-off for men/boys was being lowered to compensate. They were very happy to say girls were dumber than boys when the situation was reversed!

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  46. Why is it so important that women have children? Not that I am for it or against it, it is entirely up to any individual to choose for themselves. But this article makes it sound like women choosing to have a career over kids is something we should worry about. In a high fertility rate country like India, we can do with less kids.

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