Women – Justice & Equity: Near or Far From!

Harasankar Adhikari

According to Simone de Beauvoir (1953), ‘women are not born but made’. The men’s and women’s behaviour is ingrained, reflecting innate and essential differences between the sexes. Sex signifies ‘the anatomical and physiological characteristics as masculinity and feminity, which are defined by social, cultural and psychological attributes in a particular society at a particular time’. The ‘gender system’ underpins the patriarch, ‘a system of male dominance, legitimized within the family and society through superior rights, privileges, authority and power’.

The Marxist Theory of Gender tells that it is an isolated piece of reality; it has to be seen in relation to the social whole (totality). As a social and economic system, the masculinity and feminity exist in our society. In the capitalist system, they are interlinked through two material processes – production and reproduction to make their own lives. Fredrick Angles (1948) argued that the emancipation of women and their equality would be possible when they would take part in production on a large social scale and domestic duties would be minor. According to Mitchell (1971), the liberation of women can be achieved if production, reproduction, socialization and sexuality are integrated and transformed in relation to overall production.

The norms of gender difference reflect and express the complex economic and social relationships of power in society. In this sense, the human body becomes the locus of sexual identity, of familial and social roles, as well as sexual self-awareness and expectation. Therefore, gender is referred to as practice of the body that mean the expression of femaleness or maleness or it is the bodily experience of sexual love, sport, religion, motion of discipline, restraint and control. Thus, human body is schooled into looking, acting, desiring, expressing and controlling its movements in certain ways through a range of institutions and agents as well as ideas and beliefs.

Appearance that means beauty is a physical marker to distinguish women from men. Beauty is associated with women while men are virile.  It is a common notion that women would take care over their appearance, whereas men care chiefly because energy and ability are their significant aspects to act as they wish. This notion of beauty is normal rule which women’s body must adhere. It is a cultural practice that has drawn from the historical epoch. Sometimes, in some cases women’s images are considered as the mother of God or various queens and aristocratic women’. The beauty calls attention to a woman’s modesty, chastity and goodness of temper. Fundamentally, beauty is a product of ideas, opinions, entertained and expressed by men about women. It is framed by the male gaze which treats women as objects, and objectification of women is the notion of pleasure, gratification and desire. It cultivates a sense of bodily good-looking. Therefore, beauty does not promote power and independence to women. Beauty strengthens only the notion of an object. In the era of globalization, education and participation in work forces imprint the culture of beauty. But till date, a good family is one where the women of the family are honourable, and they (male) guard their(female) chastity with their very lives. ‘The chastity of a wife, a concept which has not fierce determination is very essential to her family’s stability’.

In the present context, we find that gender competition is very common cultural practice and gender violence is rampant. Women’s education, employment and awareness as well as the movement towards women’s liberation and equity are unable to bridge the gender gaps in the third world like India. Government of India has taken various policies i.e. reservation of seats for women from lower house to upper houses, reservation of seats in education and so forth and different programmes including amendment and enforcement of laws and orders for women’s justice and equity. This reservation and enactment of laws and orders are the process of undermining the privilege sections. Therefore, it is evident that women are considered till as ‘second sex’.  Practically, women use to imitate overall systems of gender equity. Their imitation includes their fashion, beauty care, employment in the male gazing profession (i.e. media, event management and advertisement, etc).

Do feminism and the movement for women’s justice separate female as special class/second-class citizen? Because the emergence of a separate wing of women’s right reminds that they do not fall under human rights cell. Thus, women are entering into a new world of deprivation via the wrong root of gender equity.  Gender education and gender practices should be free from sexual lenses. Otherwise, gender equity is far away or never being achieved.

Mar 25, 2017

Harasankar Adhikari

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