How to be a strong woman in a lame society?
This was in news in India. Last September, an Allahabad girl named Aarti Yadav thrashed an eve teaser and set his motorcycle on fire. The hoodlum had been eve-teasing her for almost six months while she used to walk home from her tuitions. It took six months for her emotions to spill out so wildly. Being a girl myself, I salute the courage of that girl but I wonder why she took six months to take a stand.
Why that passivity on her part?
This isn’t a problem of one girl, a large number of girls show the same kind of passivity towards the people who harass her. I do not recommend every girl to go and punch the eve-teasers on their face, but if someone has been harassing you for so long, then you really need to do something before it’s too late.
Let us forget the lame and inactive Government for a moment. Rapes and eve-teasing are not the only crimes that are happening on an overwhelming basis in our country. Robberies, murder, forgery, corruption – Justice is denied or belated in most of the cases. It is foolish to expect the government system to change over-night.
What I want to convey here is that, for a while let’s prevent our energy from going out. Let us preserve our energy from getting wasted on crying at government’s incompetency and in feeling victimized. Let us convert this energy into our own strength. Why always be expectant of the Government or the society to make amends and do something for us. Rather, we should stand for ourselves and our rights, and not only for us but for the rights of other women too. In doing so, we will be an inspiration for others and a positive force for change.
Let us talk about what you as a woman can do.
In any act of oppression, if the victim remains silent then I feel that the oppressed bears as much responsibility as the one who is doing the oppression. Over the years there has been a wrong attitude on the part of the women too. We have been too much sacrificing and most of the times for undeserving reasons. Now we feel that we are not loved or respected anymore in the society or family. But the big question is, do we love and respect ourselves? The answer is sadly “no”. No person who loves herself/himself can feel so distressed, hopeless, furious as we the women feel today. We need to love and respect ourselves. At first we need to change our attitude about ourselves, only then can we expect anything from the society.
Charlize Theron once said in an interview that the way a woman enters into a room decides her fate in that room. The way a woman carries herself says a lot about her. Without even uttering a word, she can send a strong message to everyone around her through her body language that she wants to be treated with dignity. Why do women walk with their heads down while crossing a group of men? WHY? Walk straight with confidence and look straight in the eyes of people that you encounter. You aren’t guilty of any crime, are you? Why should you show any hesitation?
Many people feel that acting hesitant and weak is being feminine. Non-sense! The definitions of what constitutes feminine behavior needs to be changed. Being weak isn’t being feminine; being emotionally vulnerable is not being feminine. Your confidence in yourselves should be a part of your feminine nature. Nobody likes to live a closed life. You should not be hesitant of going outside, nor should you fear anyone’s comments or judgment on yourself. Free yourself from your vacillations and enjoy your life.
The next time you encounter a group of men standing in your way; do not change your course. Walk in full confidence. If anyone passes a lewd remark, do not let it pass through you. Do not let the cancerous thinking of other people effect your self-esteem. If the person crosses his limits, look straight in his eyes and tell him that you won’t tolerate his behavior. Tell him that you can and will take stern action. I tell you, the majority of such men are so afraid of strong women that if you do as mentioned above, it will send tremors down their weak spine.
Do not be passive. Ignore them at first if you want to. Let them get the message that their lewd comments have bounced back off a wall and that it has done nothing to disturb you, but, if they pester you again and again, TAKE ACTION.
If in case the psycho does not stop being a jerk, do what Aarti Yadav (mentioned in the beginning of article) did. Ten such brave steps by the girls in a small town is more than enough to eliminate eve-teasing in that town.
Women are treated as weak, not because we are weak but because we have portrayed ourselves as such. We got to tell them now- No we are not easy and we are definitely not weak. Five men can beat any single man in a combat. Similarly, five women can beat any single man too. Don’t ask your brother to beat up the guy teasing you, go yourself with other girls and do the required thing. I say stand for yourself and stand for other women too.
The girl who became the victim of the infamous Delhi gang rape case (there were many gang rapes before also and still going on) fought bravely, even when she knew that it was next to impossible to beat 6 savages armed with iron rods. Yes she was badly hurt. Yes, she went through unbearable pain and lastly she died. But do you think that she achieved nothing? If you think so then you fail to understand what she accomplished. She invoked millions of people out of their passivity and their insensitivity. So many women (including me) cried for her. We felt her pain and we turned our anger towards the rapists, the police, the government and the justice system.
This change, this outburst of emotion was all because of her fighting spirit. Had she been a girl who surrendered, it would have been just another gang rape case in newspapers. But it became ‘the gang rape’, ‘the incident’ – all because of the brave attitude of that girl. She stood for herself, she fought.
Yes, she was hurt and yes she died but she accomplished something that no other leader has been yet capable to. She moved the conscience of a nation.
That is how we affect the society on a whole when we stand up for what is right, when we stand up for ourselves. The world will join later on; the first declaration of Independence has to be done by us. Respect yourself first, that will send the message out to everyone to respect you.
If we cannot stand for ourselves, we cannot do justice to ourselves, we should be ashamed of demanding justice from others. Don’t wait for the system to change. System is a part of you, change yourselves and you will see that the system will change by itself.
Be a strong woman and create a strong society. Do your duty and you will have your rights automatically. There will be no need to ask for them. Don’t hate men for they have not taken your rights away. It is you who has given them your rights by your subtle and inexcusable weak behavior. We ourselves have switched off the light and now we cry about the darkness. Don’t be lethargic again. Don’t waste your energy in fighting against the ‘men-dominated’ world. Use that very energy to gain strength. I stress change your ways first, the rest will follow.