When you see a little boy beat a girl while playing, our first reaction is ‘Stop fighting and hitting her especially since she is a girl’. That is the first time we discriminate between men and women. We say ‘Stop crying like a girl, you’re a boy, toughen up’. And that is the second time around we distinguish. We talk of treating women equally but we forget that the man also needs to learn to walk free, cry when he wants, needs support when he is down. In fact women have higher endurance levels when it comes to crisis management. Most men can handle one crisis at a time in their lives, be it job related, be it family related, be it career related. They may not have their plates full but can handle only one thing at a time. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. I have been blessed with those exceptions around me .
But the larger question is how do we raise our boys and why do we raise our girls differently. In today’s times of violence against women, the very core of a man’s being is being questioned. Maybe he was not raised right, maybe he got preferential treatment. Where does the buck stop? Should we start blaming our age old society that wants every householder to look for a male heir to carry on the family name? Or should we look at ourselves and our actions?
Cinema today has a long way to go to portray women in the right light. Stories about casting couch add fuel to the fire. You will have one or two women centered films but it’s like trying to find the fastener of an earring on a mosaic tiled floor. The harder you look, the dizzier you feel. I do however respect women in our films that have yet not been bitten by the item number(song) bug. Oh yeah, there is a handful who don’t think moving, shaking, grinding is going to make a film a hit.
When I was pregnant, the first thing we asked for was a healthy baby. Physically and mentally fit. The second thing I asked for is for it to be a boy. Before you start blaming me for being sexist or not practicing what I preach, hear my two bits. As a girl, I had gone through all the groping in cinema halls, eve teasing on bus stops, stalkers, comments, brushes in buses, the whole I-know-what-you-are-looking-at phase. Why would I have wanted another human being to go through the same trauma again? Don’t we as parents want to avoid all things traumatic that happened to us, for our children? Instead I knew when I was pregnant, that if given a chance I would create a man who respects women, who is treated the same way as a girl. Even today, if my niece was to fall down, and my son was to fall down I would encourage them in the same manner, to dust off their clothes and walk on. No crying; girl or boy.
But we can only do so much. I love the men in my life, my son, my husband. But I know that however much I try to give him equal treatment, society would eventually win. Because the influences around us – television serials, movies, and songs only highlight that woman are sex objects. I am sure when I was born my mother may have had a certain joy in her heart but a little sadness in her eyes because she would have known that however much she would try, she would not be able to protect me from all the evils that lurks in a man’s mind. The mothers-in- law and the mothers are our only hope of changing the mindsets of their men first. I dream of a world where women not only uplift themselves but also the men around them, because finally let’s face it, we all came from a woman.
September 11, 2013