Lately, I have kept away from writing about things that make me angry. Apparently, a lot of whining has been going over the social media and I think that pretty much exceeds the daily whine tolerance level of the readers. However, it also makes me think if I am just trying to avoid what I’m feeling to get out there. After recently attending a film screening called Miss Representation at T2F one fine evening, I was confronted with what I have earlier hold on to as a personal belief.
Essentially revolving around the topic of women in media and how the way they are represented in the media allows the discrimination in a society to persist, the film interviewed a host of respondents – from film makers to high school students. While publications and literature on the subject has pretty much led everyone, including feminists to believe that it is essentially men who are to blame for their misfortune, before going to the film I was secretly hoping it would take a slightly different angle. After all, it did promise that it would change perspectives.
The film screening, though insightful left me questioning a lot of things. Aren’t women themselves partially to blame, if not more for the way they are perceived in a society?
Before anyone decides to go bonkers or state that I’m a misogynist (there seems to be a lot of that going around), I would like to mention real life examples where I have come across how that may be so.
Enter a social gathering, an Eid party, a wedding, or just a get-together and one of the many discussions that seem to be going on revolve around how the women in the party are dressed, what shoes are they wearing, whether the dress they wearing is a common one and etc. Ten to one, these discussions are mostly instigated by the women already present in the party. Going with this, isn’t it possible that by doing so we not only support but reinstate the statement that there’s nothing more to a woman than how she looks?
While a number of people continue to point out how men continue to prefer people with more beauty than brains, aren’t women also playing a part in floating around the idea that if a woman isn’t fashionably dressed, she isn’t worth talking to?
Scene 2: Just look around to find how a working woman is perceived by some members of your family. Not only will there be people who would make much ado about her “questionable character”, there will definitely be women who would be on the lookout to catch a glimpse of even the slightest of loopholes in her housewifery, only to blame her day job for it.
“Didn’t you hear she gets her children those ready made meals from the shops. What a shame!”
As far as I know, working or not, most households are opting for quick fixes to meals so this just sounds like one of those excuses people are looking for to blame the women who are trying to have a life.
Scene 3: I recently came across a mom of a friend who vehemently insisted that the true place of a woman is in the kitchen and she isn’t supposed to complain even if her work in the kitchen and around the house gives her blisters. Well, excuse me. While I’m completely okay with the fact that women may want to pursue the less ambitious lifestyle of being a housewife, the idea that mothers from a very early time train their daughters to think along the lines that they are supposed to give up their ambitions and desires simply because they are not supposed to or worse, are incapable of pursuing them is quite abhorrent. Every mature, rational, educated individual has the right to decide what they want to be themselves.
Sure, there are men who have been discriminating, have violated and carried out crimes against women but blaming the entire “mankind” for the plight of women isn’t a smart thing to do, considering by doing so we not only alienate half of the population from the cause but also allow the discriminating women to get away with their antics scott free. The search for the impossibly perfect daughter-in-law and the seemingly harmless gossip about how women dress, talk and behave are all examples of practices where women are discriminated against by women.
While we are talking about education, tolerance and open-mindedness, let’s also rethink our dearly held notions about feminism, shall we?