The Women’s Development Cell, LSR hosted celebrated feminist Kamla Bhasin on 13th of October in the college campus. She addressed the students, elaborating on her work and lacing personal experiences with unabashed humour. The aim of the event was to broaden our perspectives on women’s rights by emphasising that human rights are an important parallel concept to the idea of the same.
Kamla Bhasin is a noted feminist who’s worked with organisations like the UN. She has been working for Sangat, a South Asian women’s rights group, for the past 13 years.
She explained how gender is at its core, a societal construct. It is formulated by social perceptions and is why boys are expected to wear blue and girls must don pink. Since, societal perceptions are made, they can also be unmade. Sex is what differentiates us biologically from men. The need of the hour is hence, gender equality and not sex equality. She brought to the floor a very important point that gender inequality is an equally pertinent male issue. Patriarchy dictates iron clad gender roles. Men cannot be expected to shun certain manly traits or else be subjected to ridicule. They must come forward and join the protest against gender inequality.
She also mentioned two forms of patriarchy. The traditional one, kept alive by regressive customs of karvachauth and kanyadaan. A new form of patriarchy is that of the capitalist form, comprising of the avaricious and monetary motives of male domination like child pornography and the cosmetics industry.
As a part of her work with Sangat, she has tried to spread the message of gender equality, using the medium of popular folk songs. She played one of these for the audience, which spoke of the concept of decent gentlemanly behaviour in humorous tones. This was followed by a short question answer session where she clarified doubts the students had about their notions of feminism.
The talk ended with the WDC Coordinators gifting Ms. Bhasin, a small token of appreciation. A vote of thanks was given and the students dispersed with fresh ideas to mull over, about feminism in the societal construct.
Image credits: Aditi Priya