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Chapter 2 Feminism: Societal Issue Or Trend

Is feminism in India a societal issue or trend? The Law legally recognizes women as the weaker and oppressed section of the Indian society. No, not a made up law. But how did we get here? It’s our history to blame. Social and cultural norms, beliefs and traditions that we’ve followed so far(and still) have led to the failure in understanding the concept of fundamental rights and democracy in India.

  • Forced sex with a stranger

Marriages in India are governed by Personal Law (more on this in part 3). This enables arranged marriages, forced marriages, and marriages based on astrology to take place, sometimes against the will of an individual. I am aware that this may affect the sentiments of the religious many, but in all honesty, arranged marriage is seriously an aggressive and oppressive concept that most young women in this country often have to succumb to. What is it really? Shaadi.com or some big time word of mouth marketing by family members. Child marriages and arranged marriages, both involve sex with a stranger. This is weird right, imagine using a dating app to pick a suitor, except your parents are swiping left or right for you. But on a serious note, especially in rural areas, if a woman refuses to go through with it or decides to live on her own terms, she often faces disapproval, shaming and in some fatal cases also gets burnt and beaten by the family.

  • Cheap corporate women, apparently.

‘Diversity’ in a company’s profile for most, includes having a certain minimum distribution of employees as women. The fact that this needs to be explicitly mentioned is in itself an embarrassment, only proving the history of women oppression further. But yes, we’re glad some are making a rule out of it. But glass ceilings with respect to wages, hiring, promotions, and board membership to companies in India is still a huge issue. Women are also seen as cheap capital for call-centers and mass customer care work profiles. Minority women suffer the most with respect to limited career advancement and growth. Many employers are opposed to hiring women because she may get married or take maternity leave (which is every childbearing woman’s entitlement) or are disgustingly doubtful of a woman’s stamina.

  • Fight of the night. Bonus: no referee.

Domestic violence is deeper than what the media shows, and this needs to be addressed. As the human population moves from being brawn-centric to brain-centric, we must also realize that domestic violence in all forms is disgraceful and prehistoric. Whether it be due to alcohol-related problems, gambling, monetary, or just a person’s attitude, a person’s strength is not the solution to a problem. If it were, we would still be living in the dark ages of medieval India.  

  • Shorts don’t mean spank.

A dress code is essential for certain professions that require it. Alright, accepted. But this is a concern when restrictions on dress code are thrown around casually. And I’m sure anyone reading this is well aware of multiple experiences, first hand even, when women were asked or warned not to dress a certain way. A woman should be allowed to wear anything, just like any man is allowed to wear what he feels like. Don’t get me wrong, I am not fighting for nudity to be legalized. A woman’s outfit is no excuse for a man to make an uncivilized move. It is beyond me how this even needs to be mentioned explicitly. So Mulayam Singh Yadav, boys will not always be boys. In fact, boys that take part in molestation, rape and gang rape are unrepresentable and unpardonable (irrespective of the age).

  • Where’s my sandwich, woman?

Families are biased in terms of providing education and opportunities to a female right from being an unborn fetus, till her death. This trend is particularly true for low-income households. All hopes are placed on the eldest son or sons to pull the family out of poverty. This means that the son would be studying and going to school while the daughter would have to clean, cook and look after the house, all in the same household. In most orthodox cultures, the scenario outside the house isn’t any different. Interacting with the opposite sex is frowned upon, let alone going to school together, playing or working together. This affects a girl child’s psyche. Segregation of sexes or a disproportionate distribution of women to men in school and office leads to the inability of an individual to develop interpersonal skills and connections in his or her professional and social life.

  • It’s not rape, just my husband.

Rape and custodial rape are rampant in India and though both are separate issues, they need to bear the same consequence. Everyone knows what rape is, but women and men should still be formally educated on the subject of custodial rape, equally. Custodial rape disguises itself under the pretext of marriage and since what happens between a husband and wife must remain in the bedroom, it is almost never spoken of. Women are also scared to speak out against their husband because of fear of social shame, lack of evidence, community expectations and no support to fall back on.

  • Why Tinder is for making friends

Pre-marital sex is a big no-no in India. Dating is relatively new (a few decades old) and gaining popularity in urban Indian cities. And yes, couples do tend to have sex of their own free will and consent (pre-marital sex), without having to be married. But, in case an unmarried woman is pregnant, even if the woman and her partner have it planned, it could have a hazardous effect on society.

Legal polygamy, divorce over Whatsapp, and a Uniform Civil Code coming up in chapter 3!

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