“If you live marked as a man or marked as a woman, you live a life unmarked”.
Nivedita Menon came and captured the attention of one and all with her talk at Lady Shri Ram College on September 23. The discussion was organized by the Women’s Development Cell of the college and was primarily based her latest book, ‘Seeing Like a Feminist’.
Dr. Menon answered various questions about the ideology behind feminism. She said that feminism was scary because it dared one to look beyond the norms of the society and destabilized the established institutions of marriage and home. It made one’s life tougher but definitely more productive.
In course of the talk, feminism was addressed as a fierce tigress which could only be played with with utmost respect. Using education as an example, Nivedita Menon pointed to the paradoxical situation of 99% professors being male and 100% primary teachers being females, which showed how patriarchy has materialistic manifestations.
The fact that feminists don’t hate men was specified. It is the manifestations of patriarchy in individual men that they are against. Dr. Menon then spoke about the Hindu nationalist parties which are a threat towards feminism as they draw on the anxieties and fear of the society. She also added that she would be more worried about Islamist fundamentalism in predominantly Muslim countries as they could exercise more influence there.
She then took questions from the audience one of which was whether arranged marriage is equivalent to legalized prostitution? Pat came the reply that yes, in a way it was. She went on to say that on many grounds, marriage is worse as a married woman has sold her body to one man and has to take orders from the husband just for the security of his surname. The prostitutes on the other hand just sell their services at their will (mostly) and receive monetary benefits. She added that instead of legalizing prostitution, decriminalization is the way ahead.
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