By Pratishtha Dobhal
Just a few days ago a friend posted the irony of working in content and trying to leverage women’s day to come up with a divisive women’s day campaign v/s the reality of living in a world where women are shamed daily.
Such is working in an ecosystem where news needs to be viral and views need to be lethal. It’s Either / Or; Do or Die…
And things are just beginning to get real.
Erm… yes.. like very very real!
The 21st century is witnessing its first systematic outburst of feminism. Cracking the whip on ‘What Really Defines Feminism’ has become the new motto of the free voice who dares to question. We are seeing labels for what they really are – widely accepted and bereaved adjectives coined en masse, with little investigation into its origin.
And thank god we are finally beginning to understand and dealing with it even though we are browbeaten every single time.
The manifesto seems conclusive enough if you ensure the following:
- You need to fight and opine as a woman
- You need to raise each other up as a woman
- Silencing the cacophony of boisterous patriarchy is difficult and riddled with aggression but we must try for all women
- You can be anything you want to be
- You are enough
While some of us are fortunate to have fine examples of women around us who foster feminism and self belief at key turning points in our lives, some of us get there through hit and trial.
I am one of the fortunate ones who grew up in the company of some extremely strong, individualistic women, starting with my mother, who greatly influenced my growing up years. And even though in the past I have expressed gratitude to the teachers and outstanding thought leaders in my professional life who have affected me, I have rarely bowed down in absolute humility to the ones who have remained integral to my isms and choices.
They are my constants.
I know I maybe terrible at showing it (read phone calls, meeting, staying connected), I have to resign to the ‘awws’ and feminism you have filled my life with.
Therefore, this declaration for posterity’s sake is being freshly pressed 🙂
Thank you Masi’s (Mum jaisi aunts + mum’s sisters) who’ve been silent supporters of wilful tirades into the unknown and have just let me be…
Biju Masi… the first empowering memory of you which has stuck through all these years (amongst a growing litany of others) was in the mid 90s of spending chill time with you in your super cool pad in Lucknow.
It was one of those lazy Summer afternoons where my interests were limited to playing with the neighbourhood kids or insisting on a staple diet of maggi and chocolates. Your friend R was visiting after wrapping up a lecture (I think she had just started teaching in the University) while you were busy typing away on your computer.
R said, “Biju, how much are you going to be working?”
To which you said, “I have to get that bean bag for myself and then start working on this exciting new project…”
Sitting on your orange and red chairs later in the day with you in your khadi kurta laughing out aloud to something R said, you looked like the posterchild for the quintessential, independent, free-thinking, liberated young woman. You were financially independent and relentlessly went after claiming your space in a man’s world.
Aparna Masi… Will you wear Estée Lauder or Chanel?
One of my favourite movies is The Scent Of A Woman for two associative memories. #1. It was the first time I saw two senses collide in pursuit for the one you loved on screen and #2. Your exquisite choice of fragrances would always fascinate and after watching the movie, what you wore, automatically became ‘the scent of a woman’ 🙂
And like B Masi, you went out there and made things happen for yourself. No questions asked.
Baby Masi… you’ve been a compassionate challenger who has always given her 100% and emerged victorious with a smile intact in the most trying times (no shikkan ever).
And yes, no one in the family comes even close to your lightening speed uploads on Facebook… from this millennium or the one from your time 😛
It was important this was said na…
As women we must raise each other up and as niece I must continue to be spoilt and pampered.
Happy Women’s Day xo