Monday, March 07, 2011

'Women's Day' musings

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, I am beset by doubts as usual about why we really need to have this one day (just one?) for women. It is a good way to get initiatives begun for women who have no clue that there is such a day but clearly need to benefit from these well-intentioned and successful initiatives begun by men and women alike. But all this reinforcement and symbolism, events and awards and articles and talks and discussions - all on one day - is just becoming - well, noise. And then I start getting a little cheesed off with the whole commercialization around the day – Buy yourself the Gift you deserve – ad nauseum. Women’s films, women’s books, women’s clothes, women artists, women leaders, women in business – need a man-breath by the 10th of March – always. As you can see I’m not getting into all the reasons why I am or am not a feminist right now and here – that’s for the rest of the year. Right now I’m kind of ranting. Triggered off by a friend wishing me Happy Women's Day and when I tell him 'that's everyday', he responds by telling me to accept the appreciation and say 'Thank You'. That's the problem, I want to say, appreciation is not doled out on a per-day basis. You just appreciate. But the man is only responding to a hype we've all contributed to. And I'm too tired to set him right.

Like I'm tired of those articles and blogs about how wonderful it is to have a daughter – your life is not complete without one – a son is a son till he gets him a wife / a daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life – no one cares for you like a daughter – no one brings you more joy or support. I’m sure. I love girls. I am one. I loved my mum and she and I were the best of friends forever. And hopefully, I was a joy to my dad. And yes, it would have been good to have a daughter too.


I have this wonderful son, and really, he is not less than any girl I would have had. To be fair, he is the most marvelous child, the keeper of my soul – and it has nothing to do whether he is a boy or a girl. This is seriously not a gender thing. My brother was a wonderful son to my mum and dad. My husband is a wonderful son to his mum and dad. I love the women in my life. But hey, I love the men as well. And the ones I don’t like – are both – men and women.

Yes, I will be a feminist and fight for women where they are abused and discriminated against, and that’s pretty much in a fair share of life – but I don’t think I’m fighting men as much as I’m fighting society and prejudices and systems and hunger for power and vested interests that propagate gender hierarchy that restricts women to non-life and to pain. But if I were to fight all this by fighting men, I wouldn’t be fighting for women at all, would I? For it is not about being better than, is it? It’s just about the freedom to be the best of who we are. Who all of us are – regardless of gender, race, nationality, economy, creed and all the other external layers. And its about a degree of what's fair and loving and human.

So, Happy Day to you – whoever you are & wherever you are.

8th march 2011


At 12:44 AM, Blogger Julia Dutta said...

I agree Anita.

Now, like Valentine's day, women's day is also a commercially lucrative day for business - what does an ad like this mean - "For that special woman in your life, on 8th march, a special gift only for her" and then a diamond necklace is on display? I mean how different is this from the V-day? In fact, I think that by shouting at the top of our voices, we only trivialise the woman in us. Why do I need to raise my voice on this issue, if I feel like an empowered woman, who lives her life by her own choices? I don't need to scream at all. I just live my life.

And for those of my sisters who are not empowered as yet, for lack of many education, personal finances, land ownership or whatever, there is a need to work help them achieve that, because, in any case they would have missed our very loud, urban slogan.


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