Now, though, in the twenty-first century, this belief in the inferiority of the female sex has spread from the men to the women. This, in my opinion, is what disturbs me the most. I live in a small town in the Indian hinterland. The mentality here is a curious mix of the traditional and the perverted. In the words of a friend, if a man and a woman so much as walk on the road holding hands; they raise eyebrows. The male gaze constantly follows women, on the road, in the market, the gym, even the temple. If you are a woman, you will constantly get the feeling of being watched. The phrase “big brother is watching” becomes literal only there are many, many brothers who have undoubtedly un- brotherly thoughts in their minds.
Then there are the women, if you so much as behave differently, or dress or speak differently, you are judged…oh sooooo harshly. If you thought that the male gaze was your only problem, you are sooo wrong my friend. I can’t help but ask this inevitable question, when did small town India become so judgemental and perverted?
To answer my own question I would like to think that it is a combination of unhealthy attitudes of women and men of the past generation towards masculinity and femininity, that has led to this steep and unwanted decline of the mind set into the quagmire of depravity. I would like to give an example of this by something that happened to me at my gym thrice. I was approached on three separate occasions by absolute creeps whilst I was working out. Despite rebuffs and the Insta-freeze treatment I had to suffer through the embarrassment of having to go complain to my trainer and the management to tell these creeps to refrain from approaching.
|This happened to me that first time!|
|Happened twice this week|
This has become a menace. I don’t mean to say that people, especially women have never gossiped or spread rumours before. But, if something has been done time and time again by the past generations doesn’t mean that it is right. I have heard my sister feminists preach about ‘healthy masculinity’; About how, by making sure our brothers and sons learn to respect women from an early age and letting them grow up organically into their manhood will bring about the big change that society is asking for. This is really necessary; however, before we start moulding the men, it is time to remould ourselves.
After all, how are we supposed to teach the male of our species to respect the female, when we don’t respect ourselves? Therefore, we have to stop judging ourselves and our fellow women; we must try and open our minds to all the unique attributes that make us who we are. We must learn to celebrate our similarities and differences. To establish healthy forms of ‘masculinity’ we must first redefine healthy ‘femininity ‘; Learn to love and respect ourselves, as change, does begin at home.