Women and repression are almost synonymous in a patriarchal society. Misogynistic norms and traditions are often disguised as religious beliefs – those sacred scriptures had set the boundaries for women for ages. A woman who dares to question the norms which suppress their lives and protest against it are seen as sacrilegious, and branded as an agent of perversion.
Many men punish those unnerving women with ‘honor killings’. Women are ‘circumcised’ by religion – she has to be veiled and hidden within the confines of four walls because men are unable to lower their gazes and practise self- control. Women are cloaked in burqas and secluded from the world so that they may not arouse or provoke the men. Being a woman in this world where sexism and religious fanatics rule is a painful ordeal.
Womanhood – is it something to be repressed under the dominion of men? A young girl was shot for demanding educational rights along with her male counterparts. Women are systematically silenced whenever the ego of men is threatened.
They are also marginalised in the educational and the economic sector. A young woman may be shunned if she chooses to study engineering. She is the target for intimidation if she works in petrochemical industry. The masochistic comments make women think twice before deciding to venture into new frontiers. And social media has not spared aspiring women journalists either. They are abused by unknown men who make indecent and insensitive remarks for sharing their works on online platform. Bosses and subordinates alike may try their pranks on their women associates, thinking that sexual harassment might stop them from pursuing a career within their organisations.
Pornography is another means to degrade women. It is a catalyst for human trafficking and prostitution. Millions of girls and women are stripped of their clothes, together with their dignity, to fetch money for brothels. Men have always condemned prostitution – they view the women in the flesh-trade as filthy animals – but have also ensured the continuation of this practice, in silence. How many of them, by their carnal desires, have helped to perpetuate sex slavery and pornography? We will not find the demands for erotic materials diminishing. Is it a surprise that women working in the flesh trade are often kidnapped and sold by traffickers, when the media itself is corrupted by images of girls in compromising positions, flaunting their bare bodies? This is source for men’s sexual exploitation and expression of dominion over women, in which the women also indirectly participates!
Victims of domestic violence are traumatized and have to bear the stigma if they seek divorce from abusive husbands. In men’s eyes, women are to be subservient – the beatings, vulgar words and emotional blackmailing are seen as a ‘normal’ part of married life! Some women are battered to death while others may choose to immolate themselves, as the only way out of abusive relationship.
Those young brides whom are unable to pay the required dowry are also at stake. Young women who reject marriage proposals are often disfigured by acid attacks. It seems that women are not in position to end strained marriages or to dictate the course of their lives. They are often coerced into an unwanted relationship and trapped in inescapable fates. Mangalsutra is another ‘rope’ from which a woman often ‘hangs’ herself! Why would a physically-strong man, capable of earning enough wealth for his family and himself, demand dowry from his future wife? Physically-bruised and psychologically-scarred women dare not even fight for their basic rights.
Why is it that a bearer of the womb is treated with such contempt? Why is she scorned when she bears the descendants of the human race inside herself without a grunt? Why is a woman who bears the burden of pregnancy and excruciating labour pain seen as an agent of perversion? Why must she be treated as a sexual object, devoid of emotion, or as an unfeeling statue that can be trampled on?
We are brainwashed by the patriarchal society that we are weak, vulnerable and dependent on men to survive. We are falsely made to believe that we are here to grovel like animals, to beg and to scrape by. Religions have constricted women to an animalistic existence for millennia.
Do you want to be labelled as such and continue to be treated in the same way? Have you given up your rights to be a dignified human being? The pertinent question is, when will we , as women, be willing to completely break free from the shackles of brutality? When will we unite to stand against the devilish masquerades to uphold justice and freedom for our future generations?
Womanhood is not to be repressed – it is there to be cherished! Without womanhood , there is no continuation of humanity.