Re: The "travails of being an Indian woman"
On a Sunday morning when I need to work on two papers here I come to Indus Ladies and read this thread and now I have to type in a reply, so I apologize for being random. I am just going to type in my thoughts about whatever I could gather and whatever stuck out to me.
Someone talked about burqa being repressive and oppressive to women, well women in a lot of countries and cultures are fighting and giving up their lives to have their right to wear burqa and express their cultural identity. Yes, seeing a woman wear a burqa may seem oppressive to many women but I have heard very pertinent thoughts from educated Muslim women saying they have the right to choose what they want to wear and state does not have the right to decide that.
Women's rights mean different things to different women, and I think we need to understand that. For an educated white woman it means getting equal wages and equal employment opportunities but women in India are still fighting for their right to be born.
The problem with Feminism was that it was fought by upper middle class white women, so the causes that they were fighting for also "causes for white educated and upper middle class women," yet for some reason their fight was considered to be the fight of all women
I remember last semester in one of my classes one of my white friends watched a documentary on female infanticide in India and asked me how can your culture hate and kill children. I told her yes my culture is patriarchal and it is not a society that is woman friendly, but neither is your culture. Everyday I go through life, trying to fight the "submissive, suppressive Asian woman" stereotype that people think I am. One of my male classmates asked me if it was true that women in India, walked two steps behind their husbands and touched their husband's feet. I told him yes most women would do that, because it is culture specific to them, some do it out of choice and many women have a choice to do it or not, but a lot of women have to do it even if they hate it. Let women have the choice to choose, to decide for themselves.
I think women all over the world are in pitiable condition, what good is the west doing when women here are still fighting for their reproductive rights aren't they supposed to be more "empowered" and a more "civilized society"? It is okay for Hillary to be secretary of state, but she is not good enough to be President....While we can argue about Hillary vs Obama, there is no denying that her sex had a huge role in her not winning the nomination. Moreover it is US, where former Harvard President Lawrence Summers who proudly said that women were genetically lesser than men and they reward him by making him part of Obama's team...
However, that being said I know that I represent only 1 or 2 percent of the Indian women who like steve says received things on a silver plate and it has taken me a long time to realize the privileges that I have, for no good reason.
My question to my friend was, walk into an engineering/ science/ bio-technology classroom in India and there were at least be a 60/40 or 70/30 representation of woman to man ratio, but walk into any eng/ science courses in an american university it would be the exact opposite. When I was in class 12 I was told study hard, work hard, focus on making a career for yourself and not taken prom shopping. I am not saying that women in India have it better than their western counterparts, I am just saying that our rights and our wants are different but our plight is the same.
When in undergrad I was a stern believer that a woman, educated woman who continues in a violent relationship/ oppressive situation is responsible for her own situation. But I have grown to realize the ignorance of my comment, firstly it trivializes the situation of women and places all the responsibility on her. Why don't we ask a man, an educated man why he does not stick up for his wife, why is it that he feels the need to feel more manly by beating his wife/ girlfriend etc. He was grown enough to marry her, but is not big enough to defend her honor?
When I tell my mom about US DV numbers she disagrees, and she tells me "impossible American women will never stay with a man that beats her" I don't know what to tell my mom that's what the media tells her. We have the western stereotype of "man eater, divorce wanting, overambitious woman" and we have the Asian stereotype of "docile, submissive Asian woman"
As far as the DV numbers go they are strongly skewed, half of the cases don't even go reported for years. Most women don't even realize they are being violated, physically, financially, psychologically and emotionally....
I think this is all I can think of now!
"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it - Karl Marx