And to think I wrote this before the horrific rape in Delhi....
By now we have trained ourselves to shrug and take it in our stride. What choice is there? I am talking about the stepped up violence against women in our major cities. This is happening on a daily basis. Women are getting hammered,assaulted,clobbered,stoned,belted,whipped,chained,smothered,gag-ged,slashed,stabbed, maimed, raped,bludgeoned,burnt,stripped…. how many more descriptions does one need?Why is this happening? At such an exaggerated, accelerated pace? Any answers? Well… here’s a theory. Women were once entirely dispensable. One or two dead, here and there, didn’t matter. Nobody counted. Nobody cared. And we aren’t even talking villages right now. City women were considered useful, upto a point… but also replaceable. Our metros were full of recycled women who were expected to play their bit parts and then melt into the sunset. If, for any reason, that did not happen, and the women rewrote the script, they were disposed off efficiently and quickly .Their disappearance was barely noticed. Which was also understandable given that there were dozens of others ready to take their place. Assembly line women – our big towns were crammed with them. That part hasn’t changed. But one thing definitely has – today’s urban female is fighting back as best as she can, with the one weapon she now possesses – her own money. She is earning well. But here’s the paradox - her pay check, which should have protected her, has become the noose around her neck. Men are finding it exceedingly hard to like this person. They like what she brings to the party ( money!). They like the fact that she pays her own bills ( Oh, yes!). They like not having to subsidise dates ( Amazing!). But they still don’t like her! She makes them feel redundant. Even worse, she makes them resentful. They ask themselves, “ Is the bitch going to take away our jobs? Will the boss fall for her wiles and promote her out of turn? Will she outsmart us yet again at that important conference?” Unable to deal with this new ‘threat’, they do what any cornered animal does – they snarl and bite!
Am I over dramatizing the situation? Maybe a little. But I have seen naked hostility in the eyes of several men as they observe female colleagues working hard and managing several other areas of their lives without fuss. There is unmistakable envy written all over their faces. Sometimes, that envy refuses to go away. It begins to eat up the most insecure of those men. They start imagining things… that the woman who has done brilliantly during the sales’ conference, is out to grab what rightfully belongs to them - the men. A feeling of persecution sets in. Every woman is seen as a predatory, aggressive creature. She has to be tamed. She has to be fixed. She has to be taught a lesson. If she fights back, or displays attitude, her ‘punishment’ has to be more severe. If she apologises for her wayward ways and promises to behave herself… then maybe, they can work on a more acceptable solution to the ‘problem’. The problem being gender.
It is only going to get worse. If that sounds alarmist, so be it. The genie is out of the bottle. The she-elephant is very much in the room. And she isn’t going anywhere. As for those coveted jobs , given the tattered state of most economies, the scramble to grab whatever is going will get still more aggressive. Shrinking jobs across the globe mean heightened levels of frustration. Everybody is fighting for that single piece of juicy bone. More and more women are managing to reach it first. Men are not at all happy about this development. Their anger and rage find avenues that are frequently volatile enough to lead to random attacks on the first woman who crosses their path. Any excuse will do – her skirt’s too short. Her breasts too large. She’s smiling more than required. She seems HAPPY! That’s the bloody limit. First, she takes away our jobs. Now she invades our space ( what business does she have enjoying a drink at a bar?). At the rate she is going, soon she’ll tell us what to do. Who wants to take orders from a woman? Why can’t she stick to her place? Go back to being obedient and duty bound? If she hasn’t got the message so far, it’s time she was taught a lesson. And that’s pretty much the way it is. Men will protest and say this is utter rubbish. But there is really no other explanation. Men react when their pockets hurt. Right now, their pockets are hurting.
And their heads are exploding with anger. So, what do we do? Reaching their hearts is the obvious answer. Even the most demonic of men have hearts. As always the onus is on women – find a solution. Or perish.