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Rebel with a Cause

  • JWB Post
  •  October 16, 2014

 

You are angry, wanting to raise your voice for a cause and a longing desire to rebel against the system grips you.  But the whole world around you suddenly changes and the very people who you thought would lend a hand of support suddenly seems hostile and has only one advice ‘STAY WITHIN THE LIMITS’. This is how we react when a woman stands up for a cause and protests against the establishment through her outspoken words. Now what is this limit that everyone is suddenly talking about, but are reluctant when they are asked to define it? Do they themselves have any idea about this invisible ‘lakshmanrekha’ that women are not supposed to cross?

Political leaders, religious heads, self proclaimed moral police brigade and the usual group of misogynists, all seem to unite forgetting  their otherwise never ending differences to suppress the female voice of dissent. Let us take the recent case of Indian boxer Sarita Devi’s Asian Games debacle. When she was rightly protesting against the unjust treatment dealt to her, she was accused of showing lack of sportsmanship when she refused to accept her bronze medal in the felicitation ceremony. Surprisingly, the immediate backlash came from the boxing association itself, which instead of defending her and lodging a complaint, went on to reprimand her because of her actions.

The reason this tendency of trying to restrict a woman within a non existing boundary sticks out as an eyesore, is the fact that a very different approach is adopted in case of a man. Contrary to a woman, few eyebrows are raised when a man stands up against the tide and fights for a specific cause. Even the most vocal supporters of feminism and champions of women’s rights sometimes do a complete U turn and suddenly start to speak about this threshold, crossing which is a complete taboo for the fairer sex.

So what is actually this line of control that a woman is not supposed to cross under any circumstances?  Well surprisingly no one knows! All our ‘esteemed experts’ seem to be divided in opinion. Some of them think that wearing jeans in public places amounts to crossing it while another lot believe that women shouldn’t be allowed to use mobile phones. What is immensely alarming is that often such statements come from people holding very high public offices or at the helm of some big institutions. The recent statement of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella that women shouldn’t ask for a raise and must instead believe on their ‘Karma’ is a very obvious testimony of this prejudiced mindset.

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So does this mean that most of us wear a shroud of liberalism and equality pretending to be feminists, while from the inside we are staunchly superstitious and gender biased? If the general inclination of our society is analyzed, then countless such instances will emerge where a disagreeing woman is given unnecessary advice to be within her limits. How is this fair that such different benchmark is used for women and men while we are just mute spectators unable to do anything?

As strange it may sound, but the onus is actually on the men to change the situation. If a man speaks out against the callous comments made by another man, then it is perhaps the best way to counter this tendency of restricting women. It has to be understood that protesting against mistreatment and injustice cannot be restricted to any particular gender or community. Jaipur Women Blog believes that now is the time for the blurring of imaginary line of controls and voice of the rebelling woman should finally be heard after centuries of falling into deaf ears.

By Deep Mukherjee,
Columnist

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