Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Feminism - The Unchanging Core Essence

IHM tagged me on the topic "Feminism".


I wondered whether I was competent to comment on such a topic. After all as an adult Indian male, brought up in an indulgent atmosphere, my comments could be predictable and traditional or probably cliched.


I then realised that I am reasonably well qualified to comment on this. In our household, I am outnumbered by females four : one... The female brigade comprises my mother, wife and two daughters. This ratio was five : one till my grandmother passed away last year.


The dominant side at home is the feminine element and feminism (not in any derogatory sense and for want of a better word) is definitely present, all-pervading but under stated. There is no place for the bra burning type here, not because it is a cause of insecurity to the male but because of a calm sense of self-esteem and respect prevailing.


I have had the privilege of seeing the feminine element across four generations. The core essence never changes. The only change is in the outward manifestation and that is a function of the time we live in. It is comforting to sense and feel that the core essence is constant. This facilitates change, as it should, and, at the same time retain a strong connection to our roots.

As far as I remember, there has been no deliberate attempt to drill in the concept of "female" as something separate. Every one was same and worthy of respect. As one grew up in this atmosphere, it was not unusual to accept "female" as an equal. There was no attempt to demean the "female" nor any attempt to place the "female" on a pedestal.

Respect was natural and it was shown effortlessly. It was neither solicited nor offered grudgingly. It still is....without any dilution. I am happy to see my daughters growing up to be confident and noble souls with a mind of their own. They grow up to believe in certain values that will be their protective shield in a world which could get biased.

I may sound alien with what I have had to say, as I am painfully aware that this may not always be the case. Whilst in some societies, women may be seen as a disadvantaged lot facing discrimination and lack of freedom. We also hear of physical and mental abuse that they are subjected to.

Rightfully, there is sense of outrage at this and stop it must.

Feminism, as is understood or potrayed today, is more activist in nature, more reactive and perhaps driven with a sense of achieving equality and undoing real and perceived discrimination. However, unless the change is brought about by inner conviction and genuine feeling, the whole effort remains superficial and end result is status quo-esque.

All process of evolution begins with compulsion, education, inculcation of "Human Values" and adhering to these values till it becomes a habit. We have a joint responsibility to initiate this process of evolution and see it through to its logical conclusion. It is immaterial that this task may not be complete in one's lifetime.

Thanks IHM for the tag. I understand that it is a tradition to pass this tag on. Let me pass this on to Gopinath. I am sure he has a tongue-in-cheek comment to make and give a humourous twist to this subject.








21 comments:

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

After reading your post, one is convinced that if all men @ earth were like you, the term would not have been around in the first place. I feel you have done justice to the post on feminism subject. I am sure IHM will also agree (waiting to see her comment here, though). Oh...I can see you have tagged me... you have put me in dharam sankat....but more about it in my post, which I will surely attempt!

prerna said...

Thanks for writing the post Mavin :)

Krishnan said...

Good one Mavin. Feminism has a completely different connotation here in India. We just cannot afford to ape feminism as practiced in US or Europe. Our enlightened women know a thing or two more then their counterparts in Western society and are balancing their career and home wonderfully.

manju said...

Nice analysis of Feminism from a man's perspective.:)

I am sure that your daughters will grow up to be confident young women with values to guide them through life.

Indian Home Maker said...

What can I say?!!!!
I take pleasure and pride in saying, "I knew this would be your take'!
Your daughters are lucky to have such a cool dad :)

1. " Respect was natural ... It was neither solicited nor offered grudgingly . ...

2. There was no attempt to demean the "female" nor any attempt to place the "female" on a pedestal."

3. "am painfully aware that this may not always be the case"

It was a pleasure reading this post, your including your own experience made it more real, it's so obvious that you mean every word here! Thank You for handling the tag so maturely, seriously and warmly.

I, also, totally agree with Gopinath's "Artickles" above :)

swaps said...

Hey Mavin, you got 2 daughters.... good. Most of my friends too have only daughters.

I have often wondered why feminists demand parity with men, because I think they are vastly advantaged. Their one smile or just a glance can turn our world upside down.

Seriously, they who create life, nourish it and are largely responsible for upbringing, are next only to God. Apart from that, they can be invaluable as sisters, friends, teachers (I remember them all) and dearest grandmommies. And as wives (yeah, that depends).

Can you imagine a world without them? A world where they are unhappy?

Having said all this, I must admit, I am not comfortable with women taking active combat roles. No.

Mavin said...

Hi Gopi,

The world is a fine place doing its own thing. We make it a personal heaven or hell.

There is nothing different or unique about what I have written. Both you and I share a common heritage and you too embody the same values.

I guess it is time for another limmerick when you put up your post and plenty of chuckles.

Mavin said...

Hi Prerna

Thank you too....


Krish,

Yes, it has a different connotation here but somewhere the rot set in and women were equated with goods and chattel.

That has to and will change. It is our duty to ensure that this process of change remains on track.

Mavin said...

Hi IHM,

Thank you....for those kind and nice words.

You have left me a little red in the face with your very generous response. I am not sure I deserve it.

Infact, I must thank you as you have unfailingly tagged me and drawn me deeper into this fascinating e-world.

Mavin said...

Hi Manju,

Thank you very much....


Hi Swaps,

Hahaha....Surely at some stage in life a smile or glance is sure to derail us....but it is later that daggers are drawn out.

I guess women are already equal or shall we say superior to men. It is just that we have yet to realise it.

Combat roles....or how about riot police in cities nowadays...

Cheers!!!

swaps said...

We have already had the taste of it. A female traffic police officer here terrorized erring people...actually, women resented her more.

Mavin said...

- Swaps

As long she succeded in inculcating discipline, she should be applauded and supported.

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

@ Swaps @ Mavin,
In respect of enforcing discipline and even reducing corruption, I have found women play a more constructive and contributory role.
Barring exceptions of course!

Indian Home Maker said...

Hi, you okay? No idea which part of Mumbai you live in ... stay safe.

nonsense123 said...

So..finally I have made it here...

Wonderful to read your views on feminism...

and yes....hope u, ur family is safe ..

Nita said...

Nice to read this post. I guess being brought up in an atmosphere where women were naturally equal, it is difficult to identify with "feminism." It's human rights which are important, for all.

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

Mavin, I have posted my tagged post on feminism. Do check it out. Hope i have done justice.

Mavin said...

Hi IHM,

Thanks....We are safe. My office, though, is within one KM of the Trident - Oberoi.


Hey Sharad,

Welcome to "My Voice".

Thanks!!!.....Yes we are safe


Hello Nita,

Thanks....It is a matter of education and attitudes. This question of equality just does not arise. Man and woman are equal. We either have not realised it or refuse to acknowledge it.

Ritu said...

Hats off to you - you hit the nail on the head - why feminism - why not humanism and equality

Mavin said...

Hiya Ritu,

Thanks..........Why not indeed?

Indyeah said...

Mavin Sir I had read this write of yours a long time back,back in the days when I was a lurler:D
and I has Absolutely loved it!Everything that you have penned down here so beautifully:)


''However, unless the change is brought about by inner conviction and genuine feeling, the whole effort remains superficial and end result is status quo-esque.''

You have hit the nail right on the head Sir!

and then this too
''All process of evolution begins with compulsion, education, inculcation of "Human Values" and adhering to these values till it becomes a habit. We have a joint responsibility to initiate this process of evolution and see it through to its logical conclusion. It is immaterial that this task may not be complete in one's lifetime.''

Absolutely!No change can come about uless this happen..

lucky are you to have such a family:)and luckier still are your daughters to have you as a father:)


this has been the most heartfelt and clear version of feminism I have read uptill now..thank you sir:)