Frailty Thy Name is Woman?

Since time immemorial, feminists have been fighting to get equal rights for women. A century ago women’s emancipation was still a theory. Although the situation has changed over the time but equality is yet a far cry and emancipation, still a theory. Today, we move around in a world where there is hardly any difference between men and women when it comes to career. Yet there is a major difference when it comes to what is happening in one’s household. Till date women are fighting the woes of dowry and wife beating. What is more tragic is that this is the situation of the urban, well-educated working class women. Also the rape cases in cities have gone considerably up during the last decade. It is unfortunate that today when women have started taking command of their own lives, men find out new devices to suppress them. Earlier the suppression happened via consensus, women themselves were willing victims. But today men use force to suppress them. Inside the house through domestic violence and outside through rapes and eve teasing.

Although we cannot deny that government has taken certain steps to improve the condition of women in the society, but our society is made out of age old orthodox beliefs on which is followed even today by many but of course the vices are followed only, a burning example for this is how women are treated in a conventional household. Hence, all the government orders fall on deaf ears. Dowry was termed as a crime years ago, but even today, there are few marriages that are not negotiated without a heavy dowry. If not, then we have the newspaper full of news about women burnt in kitchen fire and other such incidents. In short, we are still ages behind from what the world calls “equality between men and women”. Where on one hand government brings out new laws to prevent women’s rights on the other hand the protectors of law turn enemies of the women. Some people might argue that its not always and everywhere the same scenario. Or that crime is prevalent in society and cannot be termed as specifically targeted at women. Perhaps they are right. Especially in today’s world, men are no less a victim of sexual crimes. But the argument does not stop here.

Lets keep crimes aside and talk about society at large. What happens to women who become victim to such heinous crimes? What happens to women who are stalked and then raped or embarrassed in public. What about women who are molested in the middle of the road and people are mere mute spectators? What about women who chose to live independently and decide not to marry? Or the women who are divorced from their husbands? Or single mothers?? The answer is just one to all of these questions. Such women are looked down upon by the society. A girl who is brutally raped is scared to face her parents because she has been “violated”. For no mistake of hers she is made to feel guilty. The criminal may be at lose in society but instead of trying to bring him to justice, society disregards the girl as if it were her fault that she got raped. Parents can be seen crying hoarse, apparently for their child. But is it really so? The tears are actually that of being insulted in the society because their daughter was raped. So much happens to the poor girl , but the man who did this is still at large and even safe. Unfortunately, this not the end. Other parents get alert, and in order to prevent their self respect being blotched they decide to save their women folk by curtailing their freedom. And this situation has not changed since the ages of great Gods. From Draupadi and Sita to today’s so called modern women. Every day a woman goes through a “cheer haran” for no fault of hers and yet is made to feel guilty. Everyday a Sita has to prove her loyalty and chastity to her husband and society while her husband can happily be a rover. There is a respectable place for a man who is divorced and its conveniently agreed that the fault must have been the woman’s, but when it comes to a divorced woman the fault yet again lies with her. She would be termed as an inefficient home maker.

These woes will remain in the society until the society starts seeing every body as people and not men and women. A man remains a man no matter what mistakes he makes in his life. His saving grace is the fact that he is a man and thus it is expected of him. But a woman is either a Goddess or a witch. Why can’t society let them hold a middle ground? Women don’t wish to be elevated to the position of goddesses at least they should be able to remain humans. Consider for once that they are humans who have feelings and are terribly wronged. For, men are what they are because women let them be. Let not the dormant volcano burst, lest everything gets vanquished in the fire of anger bubbling just beneath the surface since ages. The day this frail creature decides to claim her position, frailty would no longer be named woman.

Ekta Rai

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