Woman- a figure who has always been delineated as submissive, sacrificing and supportive, one who hardly should have a say in familial matters whether as a wife, a mother or a daughter is still portrayed in the same light even to this date in spite of the so-called Women’s Liberation reforms that have come and gone as mere eye-wash. True, there has been a noticeable change in the way the world looked at women few decades before with more women stepping out of their homes to venture into the corporate and professional world.
A whole lot of reforms and laws have also been decreed in favor of women liberation bestowing women more privileges in various spheres of life. Quite a few initiatives have been taken to encourage female education in the rural areas where hitherto a girl’s education was considered secondary in relation to her brothers who had the right to enjoy the privileges to study and earn later in life thus being able to support parents and their own families. Women have now been endowed with more liberty, socially, educationally and sexually. But wait, is this a true picture of what we witness in patriarchal societies like those in India or are the above reforms and talks of women liberation mere wheedling and inveiglement?
The fact remains that mere decreeing of reforms and proclamation of women’s rights will not bring about betterment of the female gender in any way. Take the instance of Indian society where women have always been subdued under the chauvinistic preponderance. From the time of the Mahabharata, women have been repeatedly been subjugated to undergo tests of their patience, their physicality and dignity. Not even a staunch personality such as Draupadi could stay resolute to her decision when she refused to become a butt of her husbands’ apathetic and unpremeditated behavior to sacrifice their wife’s sublimity in the hands of a few scalawags. And she was dragged to the court as her five husbands watched her esteem being smashed to smithereens helplessly in front of their own eyes. Not that women are any better today.
Gorgeous actresses of Bollywood may be portraying characters of women who are not tempered by the patriarchal society and do not have any qualms accepting their pregnancies in maidenhood or going against their spouses who are wrong. Indian television and silver screen indeed have witnessed a stark transformation from the damsels in distress of yore to the bold female protagonists of the present day. Yet, the question remains how far are these portrayal a true echo of the present day Indian society. Although women are far more independent economically and have overcome their emotional dependence on their male counterparts as well, the issue of sexual liberation still hovers with a prominent presence.
The recent instances of sexual abuse and rapes are examples in question. The gruesome, ghastly gang rape inflicted on a 23 year old in a bus in New Delhi raised eyebrows of critics about the legal system and whether the so-called reforms or women empowerment had any meaning. The truth is the legal process against criminals of this sort requires to acting faster and men must be made aware and “sensitized” about violence against women.
The facial demeanor of women are brutally slashed simply for rejecting someone, molestations are prevalent with girls as young as 2 year olds becoming victims, videos are tapped of intimate moments and posted without the victim having any clue about it on porn sites- the newspapers are flooded with such perturbing news every day. Even with optimum vigilance being deployed over women safety on roads or otherwise, many cases of molestations have been lodged against the very security agencies and police officers who are supposed to endow them with safer havens.
Looking into such incidents, it seems that solely proclaiming reforms for women liberation and empowerment cannot be the solution to stopping issues of violence against women. As Harish Sadani Founder of the campaign Men Against Violence and Abuse, abbreviated as MAVA says, “Changing the male mindset is a key aspect to women’s liberation. Men also need to be ‘liberated’ from the shackles of patriarchy,” it is important to imbue men with the awareness that they need to relinquish their inherent nature of trouncing the weaker female counterpart.