Simone De Beauvoir’s classic work- “The second sex”, is often considered as a bible in relation to Feminism . There is a very significant line which is still fresh in my memory, which questions the very basis of our existence as women, the moment we step into this world, it goes like-
“HE is the Subject, He is the Absolute— She is the Other”.
This one line reflects the ontological reality of one’s existence. Beauvoir, stresses on the fact that- one is not born a woman but becomes one. By this she certainly did not mean that one possess particular female or male body parts but our social situated-ness. We have often been conditioned that as women or as individuals we have certain roles to play because it is “natural”. Therefore, our social hierarchy has led to naturalizing “myths”. Very conveniently one constructs social roles, norms and activities of particular genders on the foundation of “naturalizing principle”.
So, when the former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi was told by her mother to leave her crown in the garage and reminded her that in her house, she is just a mother, daughter, wife, seemed like a very unnatural act, isn’t it?!
Haven’t we witnessed innumerable times with tiles like- “the first ever women to do…” because it is off the record for women to do something which is not “natural” or “normal” according to the set rules by our society.,
WHAT IS NATURAL?
We live in a society where we consciously or unconsciously abide by certain rules just to fit according to our own clan. People never have lived in isolation, they always lived in groups dating back to the Stone age era. And therefore to make life easy, we have set up certain roles and duties to make things simpler. The most common of the structured role, is assigning gender specific roles, for instance, Men are breadwinners, Women are Homemakers. Or since Women have Uterus, they are meant to reproduce as it is natural. Women are meant to behave in a certain way and Men in a certain way.
Therefore, we are left we binaries, emotional versus rational, nature versus culture, universal versus particulars. What has led us to this dualistic thinking?
Whenever one tries to speak up on the topic Feminism, its so exhaustive and bears the burden of so many pre conceived notions. But still it is being talked off, still there are a chunk of women out there struggling and running in the race whose goal seems so far fetched. And Even if they reach their goal, they are being celebrated as though they have gone against the society’s “NORMAL” and achieved it. There achievements aren’t being celebrated in solidarity and just for the sake of it but it comes with a chain of history and stories struggle.
Therefore, does it mean that we need a different Metaphysical stance? in the sense of how we define the “self” or “being” even before coming into this empirical world. And is there even something as “Normal”?! If the methods of exclusion of a certain species based on their anatomy is Natural or Normal, then, there is a need for an enormous wave to wash this off.
Sometimes it makes me so anxious and worried, about the fact that how the “Normal” has been drilled in our minds and how we have been conditioned to be a certain “normal” way. What if all our formal training and theoretical knowledge would go vain.
Its said that, often our first thought regarding something is a result of our conditioning or something that has been been fed to us And the second thought is a result of what we ourselves have learned through our experiences. And I cant just stress enough how much of an importance does the second thought holds in relation to one’s psyche and contributes in the overall development.
Thus, we are in a need of such series of progressive second and third thoughts before we consider something as “NATURAL”
P.S., Indeed my discussions has been very limited, limited in the sense of the only two gender identities (MEN & WOMEN), it does reaches out to the “others” , (though i hate calling it that way)