|By Mahitha Kasireddi|
What do we mean by “celebrating womanhood”? This question has baffled me since childhood.
How do we go about celebrating Women’s Day? By holding placards and walking on streets? Giving a holiday to women employees? By going on an “all girls” excursion or to an “all girls” all night party ? Going shopping? Reading stories about successful women from history or buying greeting cards for moms, grand-moms, sisters, aunts and girlfriends?
This just implies that whatever we do, it should be something about being women and involving women because it is Women’s Day. It also meant that we were leaving out half of the human race from the “celebration”. Shouldn’t we invite the men to the party?
It does not make sense to me to say we are proud to be women without acknowledging the men in our lives. Women’s Day should be more about pondering over the “man-woman relationship”. The examples of brave women around us are few. The examples of good men around us are few. There is lot of work left. The one question that we all encounter at every public space and working place is whether it is ever possible to achieve an equal society? The picture looks grim yet.
My trigger warning to you – this is taking a feministic turn.
We don’t need economic theories to measure the progress of a nation. It is usually determined by how inclusive its society is for all genders. If social conditioning can be worked against women by moral policing them, it can also be worked towards making men understand that women have the right to share public spaces with them. It should be our collective dream to reach a day where men and women respect each other for their choices.
The reason why we need a level playing field is to relieve each other from gender stereotyping. Simple actions like cooking and taking care of children need not always be exclusive feminine actions; men can do them too – albeit without being embarrassed about it.
A good way to start is to not be stereotypical. A man need not always be strong, macho and invincible. A woman need not always be fair, slim and submissive. If it does not matter if a man works late into the night, it should not matter if a woman does so too.
I feel, legislations which ensure equality shall not yield anything without bringing a social change. And this needs to start at a household level.But, much as I say we should involve men in celebrating Womanhood, the question remains if all men will take it in the right spirit.
Forget men, are we all ready to embrace equality? Are men okay with women being assertive about their bodily rights even inside a marriage? Are women okay with men not paying for their coffee on a date? Are we ready to shed away the strict gender roles? Can we fight away misogyny? Can we fight sexism?
Should then the purpose of Women’s Day be to “celebrate man-woman equality”?