I and my other half have often had discussions about the evolution of our society, social practices and their setbacks. Rarely have the early men, in the jungles, been out of the picture.
Looking at where it all began; men went hunting, kids played around like Mowgli, and women stayed back in their caves to cook, is what most of us believe. Unlike today, there must not have been an institution of marriage back then, holding responsible a woman to take care of a man, kids and the family. Also, in a cave, I don’t expect women must have bothered to spend time in chores like mopping, dusting, washing clothes (they wore leaves), etc. In the male’s absence, she would have protected herself and kids, if any wild animal came by. So I beg to differ with this role categorization that led to the pseudo-extension and continuation of it. Not having anything to do, no food to cook (I am sure they did not freeze or store food then), what would a woman do sitting in a dark cave? She must have obviously gone out, wandered, tasted wild fruits and explored the jungle just like her male counterpart.
Speaking of jungles, I can’t help but talk about our co-beings, animals! A lion is referred to as the ‘King of the Jungle’, but unlike some human kings, he does not like to hunt. It’s always the lioness that kills for him, lets him eat first and then feeds the cubs and herself. I am taking the liberty to assume that no compensation is paid to the prey’s family, no monetary transaction happens to procure food. So practically the lioness is the bread earner and not the lion. In case of a threat, which is rather unlikely to the king from his kingdom, who do you think will protect only himself and who will protect the entire family? No prize for guessing!
Besides hunting, a key reason male animals fight with each other is for choosing a partner to mate with. Here again, the female has the right to reject. You will never see two females at warfare over a male but vice versa. Similarly, amongst humans, it’s usually the man who tries to woo the woman.
What I am trying to establish here is that women were more powerful, stronger and independent during the beginning of human evolution. Realising this, men started making social rules and practises to dominate her. What we believe to be their physical supremacy or hunting capability was, in fact, their insecurity and inferiority.
Gradually and eventually, society, especially Indian, welcomed the thought of patriarchy with open arms. Since childhood, women were taught and trained to act weaker, more ‘ladylike’. The word ‘feminine’ gained a vulnerable meaning. Sadly enough, women also started believing what the men wanted them to believe, in generations preceding ours. Not just men, even some women left no stone unturned to ensure other women remained weak, just like themselves.
Now that the society has taken a little diversion to go back to it’s original, powerful self, I hope and wish that we act open, as well as logical. Logic, to understand why these rules were made. Why are rules made, if not with an intention to control? I said ‘go back’ and not ‘go ahead’, not because it’s just the women, but also the men who need to shift to that unbiased position in the circle. Once there, they both can move ahead together.
Speaking of gender equality on International Women’s Day, this post has thoughts of both, me and my other half!