Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Death of A Chauvinist.

In modern day Indian organizations which have strategically aligned their goals with resources (human or otherwise), or vice versa, there is a small thing which holds them back. That is deeming both genders equal. Debate has lasted decades on how improper treatment to women has caused the economy to freeze. But now we have a different problem.

With the empowered woman, thanks to millions of petitions, trillions of news articles and zillions of advertisements and a Googol of woman self-help groups, a new woman has entered the Indian organization. She is fiercely dependent (Not independent, dependent.) and knows how to get the job done. The males are afraid of her lest she file a petition for “Harassment at a workplace” or “Eve teasing”. She has a million options, you know! Add to it the fact that a male has his brains somewhere near his loins. And lo! You have the following picture:--

“An inexperienced girl enters a workplace. The male peers are forewarned about her powers. They help her in every way possible and in many ways impossible. She smiles and says thank you, while continually amassing information and snatching all ropes of the ladder from her male counterparts. Enter testosterone. He gets wooed and gives her access to the most clandestine of the files. Tells bad about the boss, which mistakenly slips out of her mouth while she was discussing “other things” with the boss. But the coincidence is it is a verbatim of what he had told her. The male enters into a quicksand but dare he protest? One bead of tear and the entire organization caves in. Auditors are shooed away, sales team postpones work indefinitely, operations stop manufacturing and financers stop using calculators to add 2 plus 2. The organization has a big problem in hand. The girl cried. Someone asks why? Someone says “He”. End of story.

P.S: I am a Jackassed-Arrogant-Ignorant Chauvinist. (The last adjective mine, others of the fairer gender!). By definition I am prejudiced for my gender, which for the record, is male. I am also in colloquial use of the term “Chauvinist”, a person who deems the other gender inferior. But this I am not.
A belief persists in me that better opportunities and scope for growth is available for women, than they give credit for. The media and the NGO’s have made it more like a fashion statement going out to protest every small incident in workplaces around the country. The pulley is kept leveraged so that it does not run out of lubrication.
Although many are competent, like in men, many are incompetent too. But I daresay their mistakes are more easily overlooked in society and elsewhere than a man’s would. It remains Man’s mistake for he often gives her more credit than she probably is worth. Even the woman who feels she made it big without any help, is wrong when she feels/says/claims so. She always had the backing and the shoulder of many a men lying down, helping her move up the ladder. (The liftman who had a male wait out, so that she could get in. The manager who gave her the list of prospects in the pipeline so that she would not have to roam trying to find new ones. The CEO who liked having her around. The watchman who got vegetables and milk for her so that she would not have to come out.) She just never did notice!!!
Armed with never before available weapons the “She” prowls the organizational territory like it were her porch. The medusa is here and Achilles still has the “Achilles groin”.

A men empowerment help center is one of the biggest opportunities available for entrepreneurs out there. The field will have strong growth prospects in say, 5 more years. There already are a million men, like me, out there who need expert help. She came and took away everything we owned. In fact, she made us give it to her. Like homosexuals, we too need to come out of the closet and seek help because If they can so can we.

The chauvinist in me dies. For I can’t change my gender.


Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

what is an 'eve teasing'???

Shriram INC. said...

euphemism used to denote sexual harassment of women using nothing but the eye! used in asian countries as u might expect.

Arastu Zakia Jowher said...

(1) Dude, very interesting piece of writing. You certainly are a good writer and play with words very well. As for the content, do I agree with it? Had you asked me this question 2 years ago, I would have answered "Hell yeah" but not any longer dude. In fact, I now realise what a great ignorant fool I've been. Not just on this issue but so many others as well. What we know, what we see, what we believe does not comprise even 30% of our country. We have been privileged to be brought up and still live in one of the 8-10 most comfortable areas of India. Do the areas reflect on the reality within the rest of the country? Hardly. And to realise this, one must step out into the 'rest of the country'.

The example you have listed in this post talks about how a girl functions in a workplace (stereotypically). My question is - Are as many girls allowed to work as boys? Even in cities - the answer is NO. Do they get the same degree of equality? Not even close. Let me illustrate why:

I've lived in Delhi for the past 2 years. A few examples from Delhi: I've made 5 friends who are girls here. All 5 are from different backgrounds. All of them are 19-22 year olds. None of them had been to a movie hall earlier and went for the first time with me. None of them have been allowed to undergo any extra-curricular training/activities by their parents. All 5 of them are conscious of even being seen with a boy. Why? Because with 3 of the girls, it has so happened that some bloody relative of theirs had once seen them with someone and told her parents and their father grounded them after that.

One of the girls used to be molested by a bus conductor when she was in her 7th standard. When she complained to her dad, he said "tune hi kuch kiya hoga usko uksaane ke liye". The moms of all 5 girls are house-wives (most of them illiterate). All 5 of them are now being pressurized by their parents and relatives to give up their studies and get married (with 3 girls, the kundlis have already been handed over by their fathers to look for a 'good' same-caste groom).

Some of the experiences they've had (separately, of course): 1. One of them was once walking on a crowded Delhi road in the afternoon. She climbed the overhead bridge for pedestrians to cross the crowded road. A man lying down on the side got up, unzipped his pants, then his underwear and started waving his groin at her. She ran away. 2. EVERY SINGLE DAY a girl here in Delhi uses public transport, she is molested at least 4-5 times, 3. With all 5 girls, almost every week, some guy hits them on their chest/hips or whistles at them or chases them on bikes till they run away, 4. There has been a rape attempt on one of them and MANY MANY more.

Okay, these were just 5 of my friends. My mom founded and now heads a national women's movement that now has 22,000 members in 15 Indian states. Me and my friends have been associated with this movement for the past 3 years and also make a newsletter for them. In doing so, we interview different ladies at different times. Their stories will move you to tears Shriram. Things like first-night-rape, continuous marital rape, molestation by the husband's relatives, being beaten by a drunk husband, being thrown out of the house on repeated occasions, being shunned away by her own parents fearing the social stigma of 'what will people say if our married daughter returns home leaving her cruel husband', numerous extra-marital affairs by the husband, forced threesomes and so on are not rarities but frequent commonalities.

What we know and see is a miniscule part of India dude. Even within Ahmedabad, for a while forget the HL 6 rastas and the Vastapurs and the Satellites, go to Gomtipur, Jamalpur, Shahpur, Kalupur, Juhapura, Sarkhej, Naroda, Dariapur - go and speak to some of the families and I wont need to lecture you any further. Do you truly and honestly think that girls today are granted the same status and equal opportunities and freedom as the guys?

Arastu Zakia Jowher said...

(2) The curse of being born a girl starts with the day you were born when the surname and middle name of your father is enforced on you. The human who will be the most treasured to you - your mother - has absolutely no inclusion in your name. Then, till you are in school (if you are allowed to go to school in the first place), things are ok. Once you grow up, several restrictions on the kind of clothes you wear start. Then where you go, when you go, with whom you go - all become matters of pivotal importance. During this same time, a brutal and one-sided natural biological process starts in all female bodies where they are subjected to immense physical and mental pain every few days; but still they are expected to keep a straight face/mood because of the social stigma associated with menstruation. Then forget the girl's dreams/ambitions, the first priority of the girl's parents (especially father) is to get his daughter married. In 85% Indian families, the girl is married/engaged by age 19. I call it selling and still incurring a loss. For not only do the parents sell the girl (dowry), they end up paying money instead of taking it. Right about the time the girl is entering her adulthood, she is duly removed from the enslavement of one male (her father) and enslaved to another (husband). And her life is ended before it starts. Take a look at 'The Difference's' blog. You'll find a story by HT where a survey conducted in 3 Indian states shows that even in the 'cool, modern and suave' Gen-Y, 50% husbands aged below 25 forced their wives to have sex on the 1st night and in more than 50% cases, the wife had to bear physical and sexual violence within the 1st year of marriage.

This is the REAL and TRUE India dude. An India I wasnt aware of living in the comfort of my home in Ahd. An India I wouldnt have come across even if I had shifted to Delhi and stuck to a comfortable corporate life. I realised all of this only after I entered the social development field. Anyway, after this long lecture [if you are still awake :-)], all I'll say is - these are solely my views and experiences. I dont want to prove anything to you, just shared why I believe what I believe. You write very well, keep writing dude :-).