The eighth of March comes every year. Every year I get reminded of the post I never wanted to write. How clichéd it is: a woman writing about women on International Women’s day! Yet, here I write, only, I remind you, to get it over with.
I have been accused by men of being a feminist on many occasions, for example that instance when I insisted one person’s effort (mine) was enough to take down the 100g or so poster off the stand ( No, thank you. But please ask again when I have a boulder to move or a body to bury!). I might be guilty as charged but I vehemently refuse to be labelled a feminist if it’s the men-hating, bra-burning, armpit-hair-flaunting kind that you are emphasizing.
That I am not, for the simple reason that I love being a woman without playing the victim card. I like looking good and dressing well for the sake of it. I like smelling good and maintaining hygiene. And to the accusers: have you stopped for once and mulled over the fact that, what you perceive as feminism on my part could, in reality, be a manifestation of your own chauvinism?
I love men. I appreciate their sensitivity when they open/hold doors, pull chairs and walk slowly when I’m in heels or their generosity when they offer to pay for meals (though not every time for sheer practicality because if I like you I’ll ask you out a lot!). I get thoroughly impressed when a man offers his seat in a bus without being asked. I marvel at their evolved need to protect. I enjoy their attention, care and love. However, when situation demands, I can easily play my part and switch roles too. I can back up my end of the game. I have the heart and means to return these favors and more when called for/not. All that, without the slightest bit of resentment or judgement.
Everyone talks about gender equality. An evolutionary biologist might have a different take. Sexes exist to ensure genetic variation resulting in better adapted progenies in the event of changed environmental conditions. Men were hunters and protectors and women, nurturers. Mankind evolved and societies changed. Today, these roles are no longer so well defined but the imprints of gender-based roles or the tendency towards them still manifest. Hence, I’m more inclined towards gender justice. It seems to be a more evolved goal to strive for. But the prerequisite requirement is not easy to attain on the part of both men and women: to relinquish our complexes, whether superiority or inferiority.
I simply refuse to assert or demand respect or equality. Let there be only skills, abilities and opportunities together with compassion and sensitivity and nothing else. No feeling ashamed or shaming. Let there be empathy and not sympathy, more efficient management and usage of resources without squabbles on who does what. No patriarchy, or matriarchy for that matter, let the wiser prevail over a situation. No prejudices, only reason. No dependents and providers, only partners. Let there be objectivity and elimination of denigrated idiosyncrasies; more dialogue and understanding.
Too much to ask for? All I am saying is, my dear man, I promise to open the door when you have a big bag of groceries just for the same reason you held that very door open without letting it swing at my face, without much ado! Happy women’s day!