Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Woman Objectified...




Yes, women are objectified in our country But, I can't say, more than ever. It was worse before. For decades, if not Centuries, high class brahmin males ate off their hundred married wives' (or their dads') property. We heard voice against such objectification in the Mahabharata, where Draupadi challenged a hapless Yudhisthira how he could pawn his wife.

But Yudhisthira didn't only pawn his wife. He pawned his brothers too. He considered everyone in the family his possession, regardless of gender. So, Yudhisthira may not be seen sexist at least in this act.

The same challenge was not given to Yudhisthira or any of the Pandavas when they decided to divide Draupadi among themselves, following their mother's order (I don't know how Kuntui could be so callous. She had enough chanc to know where the Pandavas had gone, and why.)

In the Ramayana, Sita didn't challenge Rama in the same way. She had to die as the only way of protest. A recent film Ratichakravyuha revamped my belief that she fell in love with Ravana and left her forest hut by choice. This really proves why she, who used to hold the big bow up every day for cleaning, had to be undermined by a loser in the contest.

Yet Sita couldn't voice dissent, or freedom, after the battle. She had to be protected. She needed a owner, as voiced by Rama.

I agree with Jared Diamond's view that the objectification of women started the day the first settlement took place. As it is popularly surmised, women invented agriculture. That led to a gender-based society. Women were the first victim of the origin of class and private property.

Recent researches claim that menopause was a product of sexual selection. However, we would never know for sure why women fell back to be the victim, why they couldn't limit pregnancy, or if they ever did.

We only know about our times to historical surety.


I was reading a blog posting on rape by the scholar-activist Debolina Dubois. She is very clear about how the casual use of the word rape, in media and public sphere, as a metaphor for some other catastrophe or violence lead to a dilution of the original purport of the word. However, she didn't add any remark to Barun Biswas' comment that our daughters, sisters, wives and mothers are to be protected. A clear-headed scholar, Debolina missed the nuances in the comment that every woman (ie, wife of some man) must be tagged by some family relationship. At least, Debolina chose not to deal with this.

What makes me feel troubled is the current emphasis on reform. Thousands of reforms have been done before. But, always, women remained a property to be protected, provided.

This leads to the relationship experts' confirmation of gender roles, equally valid in modern urban societies - males : social provider and social protector; females : carer and nurturer. I don't understand, why activists like Debolina refuse to understand that the seed of objectification and rape is hidden in this gender role. It is not that they don't understand this. But, they refuse to see the further implications and the prevailing line of action that divulges from attacking the seed in a very conspicuous way, in my opinion.

Let's see what it is.