• Vanita Tripathi

The demon named 'Patriarchy'

I remember the day when back in school my teacher was teaching a play written by J.B. Priestly called ‘Mother’s Day’  and asked us if we would ever consent to do a job without any holiday, salary or rewards throughout our lives. We all answered in negation because we couldn’t think of anybody who would do that. Then she asked, ”How about your mother? Do you help her enough to say that this is not the case with her?” We all were silent as we had never realized that and I was left with a lot of reflections. Now, after so many years, amidst this lockdown, when most of us have forgotten the difference between weekends and weekdays, I think about that holiday which never arrived for our mothers and many other women.  I wonder how patriarchy has seeped into our everyday lives and how it is extending it's claws to take more space.

While I was still thinking about this monster, I read the news headlines about the increasing cases of domestic violence. According to National Family Health Survey, 1 in 3 women in India suffer from domestic or sexual violence and there has been a surge of these cases during the lockdown. More than 75% of these cases are not reported. The major reason being lack of awareness and access to legal facilities. And even if I consider the option of legal facilities, they're so corrupted with these misogynistic ideas and insensitivity towards victims that I don't see a way out. Our social structure has conditioned the women to accept the abuse in the name of saving their married lives. Financial dependencies make the matters worse. In most of the cases, a women who leaves her husband’s house has nowhere to go and so the atrocities continue.

These cases made me think how this begins in the first place? How any sane man or woman starts thinking that they have the right to hurl abuse? Probably the answer lies in understanding the way patriarchy works and then finding ways to resist it. Such thoughts can be introduced through something as common as Cinema. Usually, it provides the space to introduce ideas that can challenge our conditioning. The fact that movie 'Thappad' is not a blockbuster but movie 'Kabir Singh' is, should make us think that we have gone wrong somewhere. The recent case of ‘Bois Locker Room’ is another example of toxic masculinity where the minors were objectifying girls with degrading comments.  I keep wondering about the kind of human beings these kids will become, if they will ever learn to treat every sex with same respect and dignity or they will become just another flag bearer of anti-feminism.

In the midst of this murk, there is a flicker of hope too. Women are fighting back. They have decided not to be shushed by the generations of voices. They are taking up the roles which they love, not the assigned ones. They are realizing the freedom of shaping their own lives. It is the time to embrace these reforms. Although we are far off from our goals of defeating this monster of patriarchy but we can still play a part in this struggle. Let’s start the change from our homes. Introducing the family members about these ideas, dividing the household chores, helping our mothers develop new skills like driving or helping them learn a new language, there are ample of ways to boost the confidence of women in our house. Slowly and steadily we will be able to create a place for women where they will not just bond over the conversations in the kitchen but also in the guest room talking about their day and just enjoying the company of their friends and family!

Name: Vanita Tripathi

Age : 21

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