Feminism : Dissecting the double standards in a patriarchal society
Psychologists swear by seven basic emotions. They are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, interest, disgust, shame and guilt. Shame, guilt, envy and pride, are, further understood as self-conscious emotions. If you were born with a vagina, I will now make a safe guess. I will assume that the one emotion you have felt your whole life is guilt. First, you are guilty of being born. You may be the daughter of a doctor or a farmer; your family may be rich or poor, but you were and continue to be a liability, explicitly or implicitly, in the eyes of those who allowed you to exist.
And now, you could be one of those few who are furious at me because you are Dad’s little girl and even the lifeless rocks orbiting the sun will come alive with love for you, if only they saw you. But I implore you to ask yourself just this. How many times have mommy, daddy, uncle and grandma asked you to feel grateful because you weren’t born in a family that is pro-female-feticide. At least you can go to college; at least they let you do a job. Does that ring a bell?
So, now that we have established that you are guilty of being born and thankful because you were allowed to live, did you know that you are also guilty of not being perfect? Some of you like a drink sometimes, some of you have Elephanta Caves for a down-there, boy, have you had non-husband visitors! Some of you cannot tell milk and water apart. Some of you belong to the group of the only three girls in a mechanical engineering class. And your parents let you be yourself despite the overwhelming evidence that you are in fact not Tulsi Virani, the ‘perfect’ female character of Indian television.
The feminist discourse is vast, the viewpoints herein, varied. And I may come across as a butt hurt society-loathing misandrist. I am the vengeful, venomous lesbian; someone broke my dollhouse when I was a child, maybe. But here’s the thing, my folks are quite liberal if liberal means I can wear whatever I want, date anyone with an alleged penis, drink a beer or two and travel by myself. And here I sit, feeling caged and limited by the reality that if it were truly up to them, if they thought I could be controlled, my mum would decide how deep my blouses are, my daddy will have me pray to his monthly favorite god twice a day. My little brother would then openly ask how this female-looking sibling of his is talking to non-female looking species outside our house.
Call me thankless. But despite their level of education and resources, they are reluctant about accepting the idea that my life is not their property. They are honest, hardworking people who believe they are forward but also believe I should thank them because other girls don’t have the confidence to let their cleavages breathe in a city like Delhi. Other girls ask for permission to use the toilet, maybe. They believe the right to my life is a gift they have given me, one which they can take back anytime they wish.
So, I should show more respect toward their outdated, illogical beliefs – beliefs they can only justify by slapping me or yelling at me, never with concrete proof. I should well respect whatever it is they say because given the filthy and out-of-line woman that I am growing into, it is a miracle they haven’t locked me in a dungeon yet. And they are mighty and worship-worthy because despite it all, they haven’t aimed for my legs with a bat yet. And the saddest part here is, I am not quite sure whether this is their view of me or my view of me. Because, let’s face it, shame and doubt are in my DNA too, whatever I wear or say.
See, I feel guilty for penning out these double standards for the world to dissect. And before I finish my ‘feminazi ode ‘ to female world domination, I have some advice to ask. Do I kiss their feet because other girls (truly) have it much worse than I do? Or do I call them out on their fake-liberal mentality because they really think that the degree of freedom I have a right to life isn’t a right at all but their charity, an undeserved kindness done to me. Should I dare never feel anything but indebted for the rest of my life?
Why is guilt the Sistine Chapel of your Vatican City? Why must you feel shame because you could have been that veiled, domestically abused little girl but you are not? Why is it outrageous to believe that you have rights?
I will leave you to your deductions.
Author’s bio: Kankshita, 21, Indian, studying to be a psychologist, survived teenage via writing and books, now, a gym junkie.