God rested on Sunday, but his creation man never could. Not after God created Eve, anyway. So, that sunny Sunday, I was trudging behind my own Eve in the Eden of modern times- the mall- holding her progressively heavy shopping bag while she progressively lightened my bank balance. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. My wild-west-days’ reflexes activated, I dropped the shopping bag and whirled around in a flash. The huge, swarthy figure staring grimly down at me looked vaguely familiar. The next moment he landed a punch into my solar plexus. As I gasped for breath, the giant held me in a bear hug and proceeded to squeeze the remaining oxygen out of my lungs.
As I gasped for breath like a cyanotic fish lugged out of water, I realized that he was my long-lost childhood friend Matthew. Eventually, he decided to let me live and I introduced him to my wife. The upshot of it was that I got invited to his house for lunch.
With family in tow, I reached his suburban villa the next Sunday. The moment I met Mathew’s wife, I knew something was amiss. I couldn’t place my finger on what it was, though. She was reasonably pretty, polite and a good conversationalist. She was a journalist, certainly – but there was something else about her, something sinister, a certain steel in her eyes, which suggested something far worse.
Their son was a cute and cherubic looking 7 year old – an angel compared to my boisterous daughter. Too decent and well-behaved for a boy I thought.
After lunch, my daughter demanded to see his collection of toys. The little boy complied readily. I was stunned to see that besides the usual balls and bats and plastic hockey stick and badminton racquets, he had a large collection of dolls.
“DOLLS?? Why the hell does a boy have dolls??” I thought.
“Where are your guns, little cowboy?” I asked him playfully. “Come, lets massacre a few wicked Injuns!”
His mother spoke in a voice, steady, because it was frozen with a forced calm:
“Robin doesn’t play with guns. Guns are a symbol of violence. We shouldn’t teach our sons to be violent”
“Oh come on,” I said. “Playing with plastic guns isn’t going to make a boy violent. What’s a boy supposed to play with? Dolls?”
And suddenly, her frozen calm melted. The steely glint in her eyes blazed into a fire. Her voice was louder, sterner, bordering on a menacing hysteria.
“Yes! Boys must play with dolls. Just as girls do. To teach them to be gentle and homely. To teach them to respect girls. To drive out the stupid images of gun-toting machismo that centuries of conditioning has drilled into the brains of men. Why should we condition girls to play with dolls and boys to play with guns and bats? The concept of gender-equality has to be inculcated into every child, boy or girl!”
Stunned by this declamation, I looked to Mathew for support. But he had his face determinedly fixed on the news emanating from the TV. He had the bearing of a man who has surrendered long ago.
If she were just a journalist, I would’ve fought the battle. But she was a journalist AND a feminist – a deadly combination, against which no mere man can ever hope to triumph. So I shut my trap and gave up.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m by no stretch of imagination, a misogynist. I support complete and unequivocal male-female equality. I know the pitiful condition of a large number of females in our country. As a doctor, I’m acutely aware of the plummeting female:male ratio and its sociological ramifications. But I do not believe that male-female equality means that males should somehow deny their masculine instincts, emasculate themselves, and start behaving like females. And I have no sympathy whatsoever with the view-points of a large no. of the so called feminists.
For one, I don’t understand why these women are so angry all the time. You see any TV debate on a women’s problem, and the entire debate will be hijacked by a couple of harridans who yell rather than argue, and whose strident tones would put even the head banshee to shame. Neither appeals to reason, nor entreaties to their feminine kindness will serve to appease them. These ravaging Amazons will not rest, till they have massacred the entire panel, or at least shattered their eardrums with their self-righteous shrieks.
It is impossible to understand this sort of anger, especially from women coming from privileged backgrounds, who probably never spend a moment without a perfumed moisturizing tissue within reach. Look at Aung San Suu Kyi. The lady lead a long, courageous and debilitating struggle against a tyrannical regimen, and at the end of it, still maintained her dignity and her poise. Very unlike these self-appointed representatives of the voices of oppressed women, who have never done a single day’s work in their lives, other than writing vituperative columns in newspaper, or frothing at the mouth on TV debates.
You simply cannot have a reasonable, nuanced argument with these usurpers of feminism. If you try to put across your point of view, they immediately brand you a misogynist. If you persist, they’ll charge you with the crime of being a male. And that being a male, makes you incapable of understanding women’s problems. I may be a man – no let me rephrase that. I’m certainly a man, but I’m firstly a human being, and I have the intellectual and emotional faculties to understand the problems that 50% of humanity is suffering from. I understand the burdens that a patriarchal society imposes on a woman, how it imposes a rigid code of moral and sexual behaviour on her. How this society tramples on the dreams and aspirations of millions of women. I understand, and I want to help. Not only want to, but I have a right to help. But for that, dear feminists, you have to listen to me.
And the panacea, I believe, is not the poorly framed laws that a few strident women have forced successive governments to enact. They have harassed an equal number of innocent citizens (including, I stress to say, female citizens) as the number of the guilty they have punished. And a large number of the women who need the protection of the law are still far from obtaining its succour.
The answer, I believe, is in understanding and propagating the concept that males and females are indeed completely equal. Equal, but different. That males are males, and females are females. Femininity is not something that is imposed by a patriarchal society on females – it is rather, something that defines a female; something that a female is innately comfortable with, and which is her own biological and psychological choice. A female, for me, is a goddess. Whether she is a sister, or a mother, or a daughter, or a wife, or a lover, she is a goddess. I’m not putting women on a pedestal here, exploiting her by imposing my own goddess standards on her. A woman is a goddess in the exact sense that a man is a God. Just as it is said in the Bible (though I am an agnostic) – that God created man in his own image. So man is a God and woman is a Goddess, and we’re both meant to share and enjoy our dominion of the world, but in our own different ways.
To return to my story, my wife of course invited Mathew and his wife for a return lunch to our home. And after all the small talk and gossip, and the lunch, I presented little Robin with his first toy gun. The boy was as delighted as Robinson Crusoe was on sighting the ship that rescued him from his island. Before his mother could stop him, the boy had bolted away with his treasure. I ignored her steely glare, brought out my own toy gun, and together me and Robin massacred at least a couple of hundred Injuns between us. Of course, all social discourse between the two families came to an end after that – but I was happy in the knowledge that I had helped a boy liberate himself from the clutches of a feminist.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blogpost are my personal views, based on my experience and observations