I love the movie Zootopia, set up in an anthropomorphic mammal world which teaches us anybody can be anything and people shouldn’t doubt their potential. Sadly, the movie involves a cute bunny with whom people can relate. But what happens when we see an animal whom we don’t recognise, do we feel alienated by their actions, do we say they deserve it if something wrong is going on with them?
It’s all about the association and societal confirmation with us.
Patriarchy is a system which just like a dictatorship, preaches the rights and wrongs on how to be. Now the question is if not patriarchy, then what? We are so uncomfortable with the uncertainty that we might give up our rationality to make sense out of things. So what do we do, abolish the system or rename it with some fancier more acceptable vocabulary with the same set of belief systems?
For I think it’s revamping the system one step at a time like talking openly about the dowry system in all social settings, be it corporate, personal or social outings. Because let’s face the fact that irrespective of the social strata or income level of the family, dowry or expensive gifts are openly asked and exchanged- sometimes via verbal but mostly via non-verbal cues.
Also, this social menace is precisely the reason parents don’t spend much on their daughter’s education as they have limited resources which they would rather spend on her wedding than expensive tuitions. All the time I was growing up, I kept on hearing comments on my skin tone and how much dowry my parents have to bear. Actually what’s surprising is that no one cares about your education background, your job profile, your achievement in this market.
If you are going to get married, it’s the girl and her parents who have to compromise in all respects. Why would we design such a system which clearly propagates having a male progeny? Hence for a lot of women out there, they would prefer to remain unmarried than giving up on this system of further oppression of women. Yes it’s true that single life is difficult, getting flats in a society is more difficult, but if we are talking about trade-offs, they would happily go through the latter.
Another way of acknowledging this menace is the very fact that we feel the need to create formal women’s group in companies, institutions, schools and colleges where people discuss issues about the other gender or the abuse they went through. I think it would have been a lot more efficient if we could discuss all topics related to society and our community in a common social setting which have created a lot of sensitisation around this topic and help us garner more perspectives from everyone instead of boxing people in different genders and making exclusive groups.
Then the debate would go about the fact that other gender won’t relate to this, maybe that’s because we came with a certain prejudice that only women can discuss domestic abuse, sexual crimes, dowry, divorce, kids among other women. It’s as simple as having a rigorous open discussion on masculinity at an all-boys school. We will not do that, right? These are the issues with widespread implications and men want to be equally active and responsive.
We can’t always bank upon the physiological and biological differences among men, women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Rather it’s time to start understanding the societal, emotional and psychological perception of the same. Instead of seeing gender as a social construct that seems to benefit a certain generation that had been indoctrinated to see these things in a certain way, let’s try seeing each other as human first.
We are all vulnerable and influential at some point in time, irrespective of which class, community or gender we identify with. The psychologising of our society was based on the hope that each one of us would become sensitive and help create a more integrated genuine melting pot society.