This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shambhavi Saxena. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Indian Air Force Decides To Induct Women Fighter Pilots, And This Is How People React

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By Shambhavi Saxena:

In 2014, Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha said women could never serve as fighter pilots because they were “not physically suited for flying fighter planes for long hours, especially when they are pregnant or have other health problems.” On October 24th 2015, the Ministry of Defence decided to induct women fighter pilot trainees. When MensXP, “a new age platform for the modern Indian man”, wrote about the decision as a proud moment, the magazine’s readers’ unguarded response is the furthest thing from pride you can possibly imagine. If you thought we were over and done with painful stereotypes of women as vain and airheaded, think again.

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“[T]he selected women pilots will be all set to kick ass in the skies by June 2017,” wrote Shantanu Prasher for MensXP. But the ‘modern Indian man’ seems to have no faith at all! Taking to Facebook with these outrageous comments, they’ve exposed the exact attitudes that have kept women from the Air Force for the last half a century.

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The mocking continues as one commenter suggests that there is no room for women’s representation and active participation, with a sneering use of double quotes.

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This last comment reads: “How are women supposed to kill even two targets when they’re terrified of cockroaches?” Yes. Because women are biologically wired to be afraid of arthropods. And said arthropods are known to deploy sophisticated weaponry. Fear the roach militia.

As innocuous as these Facebook comments may seem, they actually point to a very toxic problem – this country still has a huge problem with its women. Even in a century when more and more women have access to opportunities, and possess skills and expertise, the idea that they ought to stay in the kitchen and make sandwiches persists. Unchallenged. Sometimes it’s the average Indian’s casual sexism that does more harm than say a regressive law – because it’s not something that can be repealed or questioned in a court of law. It’s the stuff we have to live with every day, like a weight pinning us into ‘our place’. And in a time when women are being inducted into the air force as fighter pilots, should we really be taking that sitting down?

Featured image source.

You must be to comment.
  1. Monistaf

    You mention some reactions in an attempt to shame the collective male psyche of the whole country? The very fact that women fighter pilots have been inducted as trainees is, in itself, proof that most men including the male dominated ministry of defense think otherwise. Why not celebrate the fact that it is now open to women instead of complaining about the men (And a few women, I am sure) who think differently and not use those reactions to judge the rest of the country. Personally, I have no problems with women in the military as long as they compete and achieve the required standards for their job functions. However, I am not sure how this country will react when the first such woman ends up being a prisoner of war (POW) on the wrong side of the border. Judging by the over reactions and media frenzy unleashed for violence against women, it won’t be pretty, because there is a vast public empathy gap when it comes to gender.

  2. Batman

    A staunch feminist refuses to hire women, here’s why:

    1. Anonymous Maximus

      Your staunch feminist looks like one of those men who sit in chat rooms and chat as women. Good on you, oh Gotham saviour.

    2. Batman

      We’ll all believe you the day women have to spend their entire lives earning for men.

  3. B

    Feminism was funded by the Rockefellers in the early 1960s to send women in the workforce, so that the other half of the population could be taxed; it was a gimmick to control society and prey on wage earners. The entire base of feminism was founded on the basis of creating an imaginary world of inequality and patriarchy, where the bosses in control pitted men and women against each other, or more precisely, women against men, sat back, relaxed, and watched as their heinous game unfolded. The net result with women in the workforce was a generation of neglected children, havoc in families, and an increase in divorce rates – all the while mockery was made of the sacred institution of marriage while those in control collected their dollars.

    It was necessary that a negative image of men was created by the media, as it furthered the agenda of feminists, because men-hating was a necessary part of the entire scheme of feminism to control and dominate. In a short span of 50 years, families have been destroyed, children have grown up with single parents, women have been targeted with an intense hatred of men, as love means marriage with a man, and that is detrimental for what feminism stands for. The idea of an arranged marriage is cringed upon, love marriages take the limelight, and with that comes the need for multiple transient sexual relationships, all the while the goal of feminists is propelled towards destruction of family life. The mass indoctrination has come with a huge cost, in which both men and women have suffered. While feminism talks about the liberation of women, it does the exact opposite.

    1. Anonymous Maximus

      What a shame to have jerks like you roaming around in this world. Sadder that it is people like you who, if they have a daughter, will treat her like an unequal, discourage her from excelling in life and force societal expectations on her. Sadder that it is people like you who will make their sons turn into masculine dictators. But dear Batman, if feminism disempowers women, tell me what empowers them? Tell me – what creates an equal world? Or would you say that men are supposed to be superior beings and will always be? Well, am sure that helps your ego sleep at night.

    2. Batman

      The only inequality that exists is against men. That is why men die due to draconian laws, men work the most dangerous jobs, men die on jobs daily, men die in wars, men die due to false cases of dowry harassment, men make the majority of homeless, men are swindled out of life savings in alimony, men are thrust in the army, men die earlier than women, lifeboats are reserved for women, seats on buses are reserved for women, seats in colleges are reserved for women, metros have compartments reserved for women, special quotas in parliament for women, companies have seats reserved for women, men are ripped of their hard earned income in child support, men suffer from biased family courts, men suffer from domestic violence but the law turns a blind eye, men suffer from sexism, media only covers women’s issues, men suffer from joblessness, men are obliged to earn for women, men suffer from misandry, men have to pay lacs for girls jewellery during marriage, brothers spend a lifetime earning to get sisters married, boys are beaten in schools but girls get away with warnings, boys work all the menial jobs – rickshaw pullers, labourers, welders, drivers, construction workers, in lock factories, as mechanics, in restaurants, as street-vendors, meat vendors, at tea stalls, as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, woodcutters, etc.

  4. Prerna Singh

    Absolutely loved it. Thankyou so much Shambhavi for this much needed post. Was wondering here on this comment thread yesterday, responding to those people that whether somebody would even take notice. Glad someone did. A big Thank you!!

    1. Shambhavi Saxena

      Thanks for your comment, Prerna 🙂
      I don’t think anyone should stand for people tearing down progressive news. These people should know better, but alas.

  5. G.L.

    A Female ‘Firefighter’ Shows Why You’d Want a Man to Rescue You

  6. Jigsaw

    Women enter male oriented jobs like the police force, fire fighting, army, etc. and want the physical standards lowered, thus endangering the lives of people. Many women do not pass the tests, and are yet included, while for other women the tests are made ‘easier’. What a shame.

  7. Shaolin

    Which man has not been made fun off? It’s part of growing process. A boy becomes man when he ignores barking dogs to prove his metal through sheer hard work & cooperation of those willing to help (called FRIENDS!!)

  8. Shubhangi Agarwal

    why hide their names. they commented on a ‘public forum’ as it is.

  9. Spider-Man

    The day a girl asked me to leave my seat for her I learnt two things:

    1. Girls are selfish
    2. Feminism is hogwash

    P.S. When was the last time a woman left her seat for a man?

  10. The Game

    The fundamental fault in the character of women is that they have no “sense of justice.”

    This arises from their deficiency in the power of reasoning already referred to, and reflection, but is also partly due to the fact that Nature has not destined them, as the weaker sex, to be dependent on strength but on cunning; this is why they are instinctively crafty, and have an ineradicable tendency to lie.

    For as lions are furnished with claws and teeth, elephants with tusks, boars with fangs, bulls with horns, and the cuttlefish with its dark, inky fluid, so Nature has provided woman for her protection and defense with the faculty of dissimulation, and all the power which Nature has given to man in the form of bodily strength and reason has been conferred on woman in this form.

    Hence, dissimulation is innate in woman and almost as characteristic of the very stupid as of the clever. Accordingly, it is as natural for women to dissemble at every opportunity as it is for those animals to turn to their weapons when they are attacked; and they feel in doing so that in a certain measure they are only making use of their rights.

    Therefore a woman who is perfectly truthful and does not dissemble is perhaps an impossibility. This is why they see through dissimulation in others so easily; therefore it is not advisable to attempt it with them.

    From the fundamental defect that has been stated, and all that it involves, spring falseness, faithlessness, treachery, ungratefulness, and so on. In a court of justice women are more often found guilty of perjury than men. It is indeed to be generally questioned whether they should be allowed to take an oath at all.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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