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Woman! It’s time she decides…

‘Woman’- what does this word signify? There seems to be an old definition and a new definition. Let’s take a look at both. The old one refers to a woman as the symbol of dignity, respect, a homemaker, some one who is dependent; and the modern definition includes words like independent, attractive, bold, equal etc. But do these definitions actually describe her? Woman has always been defined by the society rather than by herself. She seems to be able to mould herself into whatever her surroundings make her. In older societies if she wanted to go out and work it was a taboo and now if an urban woman wants to stay back home she’s called a burden. She barely has the mental freedom to choose for herself.

Societal pressures steam and cook her throughout life. And to top it all there are these criminal brains waiting to give her the worst pain ever, to rape her off herself. This Delhi girl was raped off her life by some desperate men. Their lives are still moving on but hers was cut short because of lust and criminal mentality. Now a debate has sparked off: whether to change the laws or the society; or do we just need to make the girls aware. The first two options, I believe, are a dream too far away and the last one just increases the burden on the girl, with another duty to protect herself.

I am terrified at the thought of what that girl was subjected to by those criminals. Any woman I can feel her pain, and the number of women taking part in the protests speaks for it. The protests come as a hope for this gender which is yet to understand its real value. But does that make things normal? Does that offer us a solution? I quite doubt that, especially when the country that we are talking about is India. Here changes do take place but at a snail’s pace.

The most shocking thing is that nation-wide protests do not put a stop at such incidents. From different parts of the country dozens of new cases of violence against women are reported every day. Even my city is not spared. A school teacher here in Srinagar lost an eye in an acid attack by a maniac who claimed to love her. Her fault was that she refused to his proposal and got engaged to someone else. This alpha male following Bollywood villains must have thought, “If she is not mine, she can’t be with anyone else”. So he simply disfigured her face giving her the pain of a lifetime. Now there are protests here as well and we Kashmiris are best at it with a training of over 20 years. But these hardly fetch results.

I even do not have a lot of faith in this so called media that claims to be on the side of the girls right now. They claim to be helping girls fight for their rights, but I believe that they are just looking for interesting stories to file in. It’s this media that is mostly seen commoditizing women and even playing them of the sentimental mentality. Just look at any Indian entertainment channel and you will find dozens of soap operas having the lead actresses suffering at the hands of her life. Their problems just don’t seem to end and they face every atrocity with a smile. After that, just look at the ‘Axe’ ads. Women are nothing but sex symbol, attracted to any tom, dick and harry who has used the brand’s products. Is a woman really so hollow?

At times I feel that the real culprits behind all the problems that women face are women themselves. We never realise our real place and value. Only after that we can expect others to give us the required respect. Self-respect should be the real jewel of a woman and there is nothing that we need to be afraid of. We are a special creation who is bestowed with beauty. Our femininity is a gift and not a curse. There is nothing that we have to challenge men with, because there is absolutely no comparison.

In fact I would say that there is no harm in taking up the bodyguard role either. I do agree it is an additional burden but we can certainly look after ourselves. The Delhi incident clearly showed that even a male friend cannot be of help. If the law is not supportive than women have to be cautious, of not what they should wear, but of not letting circumstances go against them. Learning self-defence might help as well as walking in groups and avoiding deserted roads.

Precaution is always better than cure. While living in the Indian urban jungle you have to know that there are animals around and you have to avoid them. Not going out is not an option for a woman now, especially when there is no security of a good life. It’s time to show what women empowerment actually means.

After the public outcry, there will be cosmetic changes, tempers will die down and again life will go on.

So take up your own responsibility. Stay Safe!

Author: Benish Ali Bhat
Editor: Isha Bhatia


09.01.2013 | 9:55