I am not a feminist. But.
I am not a feminist. But. I get annoyed whenever patriarchy raises its ugly head and wants to put women down. And you are saying, not again, but hear out a person who is seeing it in the World he lives in. This is not theory, or politics, it is hard core real. Where does it say that women – daughters, mothers, wives – need to answer to the male counterpart for everything the woman does? I know it is a stupid question to ask, and some male readers will shudder to see a World where they have lost control on their daughters, sisters and most importantly their significant others. The worst crime – the woman that they “own” have another male they rely on. But they need to “wake up and smell the coffee.” I have bondhus who are doing amazing things with their lives, only to be dragged down by a male-dominated system which wants them to conform to the imagined World of the male. In my personal life, I have tried to resist this impulse. A bondhu explained this really well. The person asked how do two professionals, both scientists, both accomplished in their chosen endeavors, still maintain a home. My answer is simple – stay out of each other’s way and let each other flourish. But keep the love, keep the support, and most importantly understand the other person as a person not a “gender that needs to be controlled to feed personal insecurities.” And thus I have celebrated a daughter, a mother, a wife whose prosperity has brought joy to my life. Unfortunately I have also seen men with fundamental insecurities – those who must keep account – the husbands, the teachers, the fathers in law, the accountants, the bureaucrats, and myriad others who shudder at female independence and prosperity. We are losing control, they lament. The woman’s incompetence must be ferreted out, they would say, their mistakes must be pointed out, else the system fails, they fear. The hijab of control must always be in place. Our women are talking to other males – how must we stop it, they ask. Our wives have bondhus who wish our women well. The end of the World has arrived. It is maddening when good people are put down by such insecurities, and progress is cut off because the man is losing control on his “chattel.” The woman must be bombed back to the dark ages in every way possible – from a demand to wait on the male to being restricted in the way the man demands things be done – from business to maintaining a home. Independence, and the willingness to go beyond the conventional, is a threat that must be dealt with summarily. At the cost of the dreams of the woman. This is definitely not a new thing. Many, much wiser than me, have spoken of this but when this is encountered in the people I mingle with, it comes home to rest. When a student says that “as a woman” the person is expected to do certain things, or a bondhu might say “it will not work,” I realize how much I am surrounded by the uncivilized. Success is usually abhorred – when it does not belong to the protagonist. But, if the success comes to a woman then it must be doubly stomped out. It is unacceptable. Barriers need to be constructed. Mechanisms must be invented to demonstrate how a person has made a mistake. Mistakes must be punished, but success need not be celebrated. Not worthy of the aspirations. Processes must be invented to hold on to the reign. But wild horses will run, and therein lies the fallacy of the process. Good people will find a way. And there will always be those who will support the good people. The supporters might be outsiders and the “male” will stomp out all such “outsiders” lest the male become irrelevant. But nature finds a way, and talent will persevere. I dream of a World where a man will not feel it is necessary to say to a woman – a mother, a daughter, a sister and most importantly a significant other – that she has to conduct her professional life in the way the man wants. Or a woman would not have to be careful that a man – a father, a son, a brother and most importantly a significant other – has to attenuate her behavior because she wants to do something “he” does not like. I just wish that we are past those barbaric tendencies. But I am a teenager with white hair who still dreams, and I wish the insecure men would pay attention to what Aretha Franklin said, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T/Find out to what it means me.”