The basic arguement regarding the role of women in society, as woman for the domain of the household, the interior confined space, whereas the male role as the bread earner, for the exterior unconfined space, is fit to be reconsidered in the light of the prevailing times. Women have proved themselves equally competent to their male counterparts in various fields which were earlier meant only for men. Society today has made women stand equally as men, has motivated women to come out & intermingle with men, in the exterior social sphere which was priorly dominated by men and has thus created conflicts between the genders, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries like ours, India.
This has resulted in gender conflicts where men tries to argue their point through the use of violence and physical force on the female. It is awfully true that certain psychological factors in developing and rapidly changing societies do contribute to distinctive male behaviour towards women, but not in adressing the issue of the general mindset which we call as ‘male’ and which is the culprit for the many gender related
violence we witness day to day in our lives. That ‘male’ is also responsible for other acts of violence on other species apart from the female and on the weaker among his kind. Incidents of witch hunting and beheading of tribal women, honor killings by khap panchayats (local village administration), etc. which are regular news items in India, are gross aberrations to the definetion of society built for the purpose of mutual coexistence. Such incidents and others have portrayed patriarchial Indian men as someone who controls the reigns of society and hence authorised to treat women, less as an equal companion but more as a possesion. But then, how does the the male social conditioning for the external, justify his authority to impose restrictions on someone who has been conditioned for the interior throughout their lives? The paternal structure of our societies, where men had made the rules of exchange based on physical capabilities matter significantly in contributing to the ‘male’ mindset, as physically weaker women were paid scant attention in the male scheme of things. The traditional Hindu order of society had always justified women in the role of Laxmi (the ,Goddess of wealth), the male being the bread earner, this system elevated him to the position of ‘Swami’, as the husband of ‘Laxmi’. Thus the male draws some sort of a religious sanctification to impose restriction on women after
marriage. But without drawing authority from the scriptures, is it possible for modern educated man to peacefully co-exist without imposing his will or his archaic ideas of social order on the opposite sex? Is it only due to our eroding social values with the times, that social
aberrations have occured or is it because of the inadequacy of our curricula based education which have diluted the limits of tolerance of the male towards the female? Is it an intrinsic characteristic of the male to be aggressive & dominant? Whatever the reason, such issues
needs to be addressed from time to time and every women should be aware of their responsibilities, the fact is, it is a much greater responsibility, where the ‘male’ exploits through a structure which was created by them and well suited to serve their needs and wants. The use of physical force by the ‘male’ to win arguements has made the issue of gender intolerance a cause of social concern. Such incidents demand introspective thought from members of the society not as two equal genders competing for social space & respect, but as members of a species. Whether limiting a gender to a confined space helps in smoother functioning of society or is it the society who has to gain by allowing the invisible 50% of the population out of their confines.
The present age of communication has provided ample scope for women to make a unified point that the future well being of the species depends on mutual respect and co operation between the sexes. That the roughly fifty percent of a country’s population is in itself a major force and worthy human resource of a nation who can equally contribute to the well being of society without necessarily being treated as inferiors or objects of pleasure. But only after women distances herself from the dual concepts of the homemaker and her position in society as a weaker sex, which she is conditioned to be from her childhood. It is only after realizing her special position in society that women can start negotiating her terms with men. Women are to an extent themselves responsible for their sufferings as they tend to accept repressive social customs imposed on them. They lack a voice in such matters as the confined women are dependent on their husbands for their individual existence. She is bound by society to be submissive and play possum in situations where she allows her husband decide the best for her. A role reversal of the genders cannot provide answers which are amicable to both parties.
First, in the Indian context, it is necessary for women to realise that the domain of the external belongs, at present times with all its inequalities, to the male as he dictates the rules of that space. Woman should oppose the rules which goes against her interests. The interior, which has been socially assigned to her should be networked & consolidated to better her position in society, and utilising the positions of the mother, the sister, the wife and the many roles that she plays, she needs to cultivate the concepts of mutual respect and harmony in her family. “I concieve myself as a man first, equally capable as any other, then through my form as a woman,” remarked a noted intellectual of Assam while speaking to an audience at a conference during the recently held celebrations on International Womens day organised by the Sreemanta Shankar Mission of Guwahati. The event witnessed lectures by a number of women personalities of the region who had been stalwarts in their fields of individual
excellence, ranging from environment to nuclear science. The subject of inter gender tolerance became the central discussion throughout the evening as the assembly of women had, almost all of them, had anecdotes to share about their struggles as girl childs and the changing perceptions of society towards them according to their work and achievements in later life. The lectures were enriching as they contained personal anecdotes of those women who had succesfully contended in environments which were priorly considered as only for males. These women had lived their lives struggling for their individual causes as well as fighting the larger cause of women as individuals, not as someone subordinate to the male. The observation of One billion against violence towards women on Valentine’s Day in Guwahati by the Foundation
for Social Transformation was another event which addressed the issue of present day women and violence against her body in a colourful yet thought provoking manner. The message of respect and tolerance towards women was delivered in an expressive and bohemian style and
went very well with the audience too. The organisers of both these events have done a laudable job in their efforts to cultivate a healthy respect towards women & among the younger generation.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason behind such issues as gender intolerance and the dominating male attitude, by taking natural stance as a man or maybe as a woman. The real trick, if a trick can make a difference, might be in trying to look at things from the opposite gender’s point of view, by being in his or her shoes. If our actions are capable of displeasing others, then they can please others too, but on the condition that we see the ills our actions and attitudes are capable of meting on the opposite sex. The ‘male’ needs to shun the air of superiority over the (so called) weaker sex and should be more forthcoming and open about the attitudes of the fairer sex which displeases them. There is nothing wrong in speaking out the reason of a discomfort! We can hope that by developing such an attitude we would be able to foster mutual trust & co operation to herald a better day and a better society in the future.