In India, patriarchy is served to us on a platter.
Patriarchy is defined as, “A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”
Patriarchy has been prevalent in our society for a long time – sometimes, in obvious, and at other times, in underlying forms. For instance, the film industry is a perfect example of how patriarchy exists in society. Apparently, many actresses in the film industry are paid less than their male counterparts. Moreover, the way women are portrayed in many movies, shows us a clear picture. Actresses groove to songs like “Baby Doll” and “Chittiyan Kalaiyan”, in attires made to expose their bodies. But once they choose to get married, I’ve seen that sometimes their career comes to an abrupt end. I fail to understand the link between marriage and one’s acting skills. But I guess there must be one.
It’s not just women in movies and their portrayal. Women, in everyday lives, also face a lot of hardships. Eve teasing, sexual harassment and rape are prevalent crimes against women. Like I said, patriarchy is served to us on our dining tables in many underlying ways as well. A lot of times, men in families are served food first, while the women serve it to them. The restrictions on women for going out is also an example. These restrictions are based on the idea that ‘out’ is threatening, and the home is safe so women must stay home.
It seems that gender stereotypes are definitely the defining factors that encourage patriarchy in India. I feel that the problem is that we have created a black and white world when it comes to gender. It’s high time we understand that gender is a fluid concept.
Stereotypes like ‘girls are supposed to be sensitive’, and that ‘the only grooming acceptable for boys is weight lifting’, are reasons why our society is still stuck in the deep roots of patriarchy. What is also important to understand is that patriarchy not only affects women, but also has a strong impact on men, as it forces them to fit into the role of a man that society deems to be right.
However, slowly but surely, patriarchy is losing the battle of surviving in modern India. Change is happening. Whether it is upholding the death penalty of rapists, or women stepping out to earn for their families, or a stay-at-home dad taking care of his children – patriarchy is slowly going away. All of this is because change is unstoppable, and it is starting to show in the little changes. I believe these changes will soon make patriarchy lose the battle for good.