Stop “being a girl” !?

Why is someone who is “being a girl” mocked at ?

I don’t know how many of us know it, but there is a difference between “sex” and “gender”. While Sex refers to biological differences; gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.

So, your sex constitutes of being a female or a male, while being a – girl , boy, woman or a man would be your gender. Worldwide, a female is expected to act like a  girl or a woman (as per her age), and a male is expected to act as a boy or a man (as per his age).

Since the females hold a secondary status in the society, so any male who acts like a girl is mocked at ! Whereas, a female who exercises dominance is tagged as being a man ! why? Because that is what men are expected to do (to dominate). In discussion with a friend, she told me about a news article wherein dominating a.k.a “masculine” women in the jail were found raping the submissive a.k.a “feminine” women. Another thing we pondered upon was as to why the eunuchs ( who are neither men nor women) dress up as women in our country ? This may be because eunuchs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijra_(South_Asia)) occupy a derogatory status in our society, which is obviously closer to that of women.

Is this justified ? These differences in social roles of females and males aren’t even due to biological attributes ! Among the Chambri People – women are the bread-earners whereas men look after household work and spend time in combing hair, wearing different kinds of beads and other kinds of beautification, among the Mundugumor Tribe – women and men are equally aggressive and in some tribes, the father gives training to the son in dancing !

I know that females and males have only themselves and their own acts to blame for such characterisation, but it is time now to do away with it. It may not be possible to erase the words – girl, boy, woman and man from our vocabulary. But at the least, the concept of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ should be segregated.

While one can not determine ones sex, one should have the freedom to embody any gender. I do not take this as being unnatural in any way, in fact it would be more natural than imposing upon someone the pressure to act in a certain way because of her/his belonging to a particular sex !

INDIAN GIRLS AND WOMEN

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Often we find Indian men of a certain class proudly proclaiming that ‘sharam’ is what distinguishes ‘their’ Indian women from any women in this world, i.e ‘Sharam aurat ka gehna hai’ (Shyness is like the jewelry that beautifies a woman).

I laid emphasis on ‘their’ in the first line because of the sense of possession  that these men need to have (again) on ‘their’ women. Manusmriti preaches that ‘Women and cattle should be treated alike’. But hey, our ancestors were smart enough not to take this too literally. The women were made to feel good about it ! 

Their movement was checked with anklets, their hands tied down with bangles, their noses and ears pierced just like those of the cattle (There’s a belief that piercing certain points in the body helps to keep the person in control). Their necks burdened with necklaces, with vermilion or bindi on the foreheads to brand them married, and the head (sometimes face too) covered with their saree. Then, they were told that they look beautiful. 

Thought of as dumb as the cattle, they were trained just like it too. Trained to follow the orders, to never object to anything, to simply keep enduring if any harm was caused to her. Then, she was appreciated for being obedient and docile.

Never taught any vocation to earn her own livelihood, she was made to be dependent on men. Quoting Manu again, “In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, and when her lord is dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent.”

In addition, if the father didn’t marry off her daughter before puberty, it was believed that he committed a sin with her (Disgusted?). So, the chain goes like this, first, child marriage, simultaneously of course the dowry, then early unhealthy pregnancies, with concurrent and unending harassment at the matrimonial home, which is aggravated if she doesn’t give birth to a boy and in case the husband dies, she’s blamed for bringing bad luck and discarded by the society. 

Shockingly, this mentality and this mindset still exists in the modern Indian society. Forget about the rural areas, even urban areas are plagued by it. As Dr. Ambedkar rightly remarked, ” No civilized society of today presents more survivals of primitive times than does the Indian society.” 

Unfortunately, the positive aspects of our primitive times are eroding fast, while the negative ones seem to be undying ! It’s time for the Indian women to give up their shyness and rise to the occasion. Sharam humara gehna nahi, humari bediyan hain, inhe tod daalna hai !(Shyness is not our jewelry, it’s the shackles that we must breakthrough)