Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Abusing the "I am a woman" Card. Stop doing it!

Women in combat seems to be the flavour of the week. I missed the show, but apparently it was the subject of NDTV's big fight yesterday. One argument that people tell me is made a lot is that women expect to have their cake and eat it too. So they join the forces but then ask not to be posted to risky terrain where they'll be surrounded by 50 jawans who might not be able to handle it well.

Now I'm not saying you should chuck female officers/butchers/auto drivers/bus drivers in the deep end and say- 'hey, you wanted the job, you got it, now deal'.

Throw 'em a line. Its going to be a long long while before women in this country feel safe anywhere, especially on top of a glacier surrounded only by men. And you can't blame them for it.

But if you want those opportunities ladies, you gotta stop expecting to be treated with kid gloves. Cause otherwise you can look forward to continue being denied equal opportunity on the ground that you can't handle the pressure. And I'm frankly very sick of hearing that. I'd think it would be the other way around. Entering the boxing ring, I felt the need to work harder than any other guy in that room, to show that I deserved to be given the opportunity to box. I felt the need to over-compensate. I'm not saying that that should be expected of women. But you're going to be a big pain in your own rear end if you expect to be treated like you're made of glass and be given an AK 47 too.

And lets be real. If you followed that link and read the comments people have made, you'll know what I mean when I say the psyche of both men and women in this country needs to go a LONG way. Women need to stop seeing themselves as people that need protecting, men need to get over their "women are naturally less physically, emotionally and genetically capable of handling combat" mindset. Having said that, realistically speaking (in India), the male psyche will change only when women start pushing themselves harder and deny them the opportunity of making comments like those. And just talking about it ain't gonna help beyond a point.

1 comment:

Aathira said...

The only question that arises in my mind is - what are the forces expected to do when their female fighter pilot gets pregnant (lets say they do not have the no kids clause)? maternity leave? As a kid I knew my dad used to be gone for long when we shifted into SF accomodation (cramped ugly flats. Dad could not take us along coz kargil/ punjab border/ thakurbadi is unsafe for children. So women in combat forces are supposed to either leave their kids behind at a young age? or drag them along to these areas? or take leave for a couple of years?

At some level I've been guilty of using the I am the woman card too. I detest the idea of reservation but I'd gladly push a man out of the "ladies" seat merely because I dont want to be felt up or letched at. If i do not belive in reservations (specifically reservation for women) I should not be doung that. Maybe I should deal with eve teasing. Maybe I should not complain about Eve teasing because I put myself in that position by not sitting ahead in those reserved seats. Did i ask for it?

I am unclear about my stand on this issue. But the forces are bloody tough. We know that. We also know women are capable of anything men can do- So at some level my response is not you asked for it, deal with it but you gotta do what you gotta do. No leeway. No easy way out.