The chat room: Another misogynist remark, what's new?'

Laws that come down fairly hard on the average misogynist, preventing him from making his lewd comments, don't do anything for male vanity either.

Earlier this week, Health Minister U.T. Khader sparked off a row at a public event, by saying that it is wrong for women to try and do a man’s job. Comedian and theatre personality Rubi Chakravarty, joined DC's Shwetha Satyanarayan in this week's Chat Room to discuss the rigid definitions of gender that continue to plague the feminist struggle for equality.

Comedian and writer Rubi Chakravarty can put anybody to shame with her wit – her bubbly exterior belies the no-nonsense attitude that lurks in the shadows, rising to the surface at every opportunity. A theatre personality of repute, Rubi,through her career as a comedian, has had her fair share of swimming against the tide, rising to prominence in a still male-dominated world. In 2014, BBC named her one of the Top 100 Women to have made a difference that year.

Rubi, always the supporter of feminist issues, met my question with a resigned, “Hmmm.” Having expected a wave of fury, I was suitably taken aback when she said, “I’m not surprised to find one more man, who holds the position of a minister of state, making statements like these. Honestly, these misogynist remarks don’t surprise me any more because the people making them get away with it far too easily – which also isn’t too hard to believe!”

Khader might have exposed himself with what Rubi calls a “telling statement of our times,” but she says that she still can’t help but welcome people who speak their minds with honesty. “Men who say these things in public are a far lesser evil than those who pretend to fight for women’s rights and end up cornering them,” she said.

Where does the problem really lie, though? “Women have made rapid progress in terms of economic freedom, while men are still stuck in what is called the “cowbelt culture.” Although women are making their point through their actions, we constantly find ourselves up against men who think we aren’t capable of having careers and those who pretend to stand in solidarity but continue to condemn us.”

This conflict exists everywhere, simply because the men who propagate it do. Laws that come down fairly hard on the average misogynist, preventing him from making his lewd comments, don’t do anything for male vanity either. “We’re hampered in many ways, however. Even those in the corporate sector are stuck and can do no more than find symptomatic solutions to the biases they encounter.”

Feminism itself has taken on a multi-pronged approach, leading to some serious misrepresentations of the notions of gender issues. Rubi insists, however, that women aren’t demanding sympathy – “it’s time these misogynists understood that we simply want equality. We want to be treated on par with the men!”

"How do we ensure that this message is heard? “Dig your heels in,” Rubi said at once. “Men understand that it isn’t so easy to write off women. So hold your ground and demand your rights until those rights become the norm.”

As our conversation winds down, she stops to ponder a sure-fire method to straighten out the legion of chauvinists. “Maybe we need a special set up that will ensure speedy punishments to these people,” she remarked, adding, “I hope times change and that the next generation doesn’t face the hurdles we had to endure.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story