The spaces in between
The issues that surround gender in India are quite evident; we have 10 million missing girls. The violence against women can be seen on different stages specially when it comes to her existence. It starts before birth with the practice of female foeticide. Even if they are allowed to be born, there is brutality of infanticide and when they are allowed to live, there is constant neglect by keeping them hungry, sick and abused.
Coming from a middle class Indian family, my world was not defined by my most visible identity. However, the restrictions, most times subtle become a part and parcel of life. Travelling in expensive public transport, not taking a job that involves long hours, having someone to chaperone you at night, dressing for attention or not, dressing not too feminine, being aware of your surroundings. In some sense, living in constant fear! I have always found a deep connect with the quote one is not born but rather becomes a woman.
Our basic metro line has one out of the six or eight compartments reserved for women only. This change welcomed by most, due to sexual harassment especially is busy times. Jokes on choosing groping hands or chatty women were common. However, this segregation has led to an otherness to an already gendered-dysfunctional society. Women are now seen as something from afar. A sense of frustration arises in men when they see a woman in the general compartment is creeping in, the thought they do not belong here. The struggle for their share of space might have been made easier in the short run by a Women only compartment, but its repercussions on how men and women relate each other might have become more tensed.
I studied philosophy and feminism, trying to figure out what makes the society tick. What is this feeling of an invisible hand, controlling and preserving the gender biases in our systems. Women as a whole are victims and perpetuators of these patriarchal norms. Voicing these issues is the first step to any change. I would like to read and write on my understanding of gender hierarchal structures that exist in my world. Exploring gender is the study of our age and my half-baked knowledge that centers around on my immediate world. Voices of Our Future would be an ideal place to learn, unlearn and relearn the role of gender has in our being.