I saw a film, All Of Me, in which the lead actor wakes up one morning and finds that he’s turned into a woman. He’s still a man within, only his physical appearance has changed.
It was a funny film but it addressed some serious issues in a lighter vein. How would it feel to be a woman, I wondered. Could I ever understand? But when I look around, I feel there’s nothing funny about being a woman.
I was following the recent happenings in Mangalore, rather closely. Women were kicked around and manhandled on the pretext of protecting Indian culture.
And then I saw some men justifying on TV the actions of the others because they were only behaving like older brothers. It was infuriating. In a country that takes people to task for killing a black buck, how did these men manage to get bail? Honestly, do we really believe that these offenders will be severely punished? I don’t think so.
A few days after the incident, I was out having dinner with some presumably progressive men of our modern-day society. The conversation veered to the attacks on the women in Mangalore.
I was shocked when a man stated that women needed to be controlled. I had a question — who gave him this self appointed right? He had no satisfactory or intelligent answer to the questions.
In this country, a woman’s right to live is questioned even before she’s born. All of us have heard about female infanticidebeing rampant in some parts of our country.
So as the friendly dinner turned into a heated argument, I realised, rather sadly that I was up against a mindset which would never change.
It wasn’t about winning the argument, but being told, at one point, that men were superior to women. There was no other argument the man in question could offer except that this was the way God wanted it to be. To say that I wanted to knock his head off would be an understatement.
But frankly, I wasn’t shocked because I see sexist stereotypes around me all the time. It doesn’t matter which school or college they’ve studied in or the kind of books they read.
I’m not trying to influence men to think otherwise but there are some issues that are worth pondering over. And I think the message came across really well in the film I mentioned earlier, in a funny kind of way — being a woman is terribly difficult, because you are principally dealing with men.