Not forgiven, bro. Not this time.
“Saale, Behenchod! Madarchod! Kaisa hai?”
How easy and friendly does this statement sound? One might even be envious of such tight friendship that allows you to perversely comment on the relationship your friend shares with his/her female family members!
As simple and unharmful this sentence seems, it fails to bring out the underlying misogyny that it contains. Now, you must be thinking, what does such a casual greeting have anything to do with gender inequality? Well my dear reader, it does! It has a lot to do with the history of oppression and subjugation against women.
Think about it.
Are there any cuss words of the same nature for the male sex? Not that having such audacious terms would solve the issue. No, of course not! Such insolent remarks for any gender are not just disgustingly obscene, they are dehumanising. Yet, the very fact that for decades, such remarks that deride the sanctity of familial relationships have been in common use, brings to light that the suppression, objectification and mockery of women in every role, is an uninhibited activity.
These words do nothing but blatantly demote the value of a female to that of a sexual object which only helps to fulfil carnal and lecherous desires.
Without fail, every single day the newspapers have some or the other story that speaks about injustice faced by women. We read these newspapers and digest their content without giving a second thought to the information processed and we go about our schedule, systematically executing our plans. We discuss the ‘terrible’ incidents we read in the papers, shenanigans of others, current affairs and so on, failing to reflect on the style of such conversations (Were they casual? Were they passionate?) and contemplate over the nature in which we processed these events. Why do they repeat? Is there something chronically wrong with the society?
Pause for a minute and look around you. There is a reason why such heinous events never cease to happen. These cuss words that our beloved colleagues, peers and family members use, subliminally, allow the perpetuation of a patriarchal mentality and I want every woman to stop the person who callously or deliberately inculcates such terms into his/her speech.
Is it really okay to humorously call another person as someone who rapes or is sexually involved with a female family member? Are you fine with the knowledge that such expressions are used in an affable manner, when it literally labels or licenses someone as the sexual abuser of his/her own mother/sister? Can you sleep peacefully even after knowing this?
I cannot! I know that it is an unconscious stimulator of misogyny and patriarchy in the minds of those who call themselves ‘mentally evolved’ and an unintentional guarantee to those who wish to see the continuation of sexist traditions. So every time you allow someone to say it, know that you are responsible for perpetrating gender inequality.
It is hard to change old habits and yes, you may not literally mean what you say. But why say something that has such implications? Do yourself and the world a favour. Be nice! Don’t just change your style of communication, but inspire the change in your mind by truly understanding the reason behind it. And for those ardent feminists (like myself), don’t let anyone utter such a thing in front of you. Let them know why and I dare say that they won’t let anyone say such a thing either.