A Thirst for Egalitarian Renaissance

A Thirst for Egalitarian Renaissance
A thirst for Egalitarian Renaissance- Exploring Unreconstructed Parochial Patriarchy as a Form of Truculent Chauvinism


Eons have passed since the inception of our collective journey—a journey marked by countless conferences, policies that overflow like a raging river, and advocacies that blaze like wildfires, leaving no corner untouched. We have shattered the silence with cult campaigns, ignited the flames of change with disruptive petitions, and stood firm behind the armor of multiple bills of rights. Declarations have been meticulously crafted, commissions established, and protocols set in stone by special organizations. We have toiled relentlessly, spanning generations, disseminating awareness, all in pursuit of a change that should have forever existed—a change that reverberates as an inalienable human right to me, one that should be immune to any semblance of questioning or resistance. Today, this change looms over us as an unquenchable thirst, a global struggle that transcends borders and becomes a universal cry for justice. The change we so fervently desire - the iridescent beacon of feminism.
As per the UN report, gender equality is still 300 years away, with 9/10 people in the world having some sort of negative bias against women. This makes me question- did we ever actually progress? Were those efforts of any use? We have always tried to fight patriarchy, but patriarchy fights back. Additionally, the fact that 9/10 people also included women amazes me and makes me believe that this is not a Men V/s Women issue, this is a people V/S prejudice issue. Centuries of fierce misogynistic ideologies, gender discrimination, and condescending stereotypes have created a massive gender gap in the societies we live in. It is safe to say, our societies aren’t noble anymore. It is safe to say that equality is still a distant dream. It’s still elusive, and this reflects the ideology of the society we live in.
Throughout world history, men have dominated women and made us feel we were only born for bearing children and doing household chores. The larger-than-life character of King Henry VIII dazzles in textbooks and articles on the internet. He is remembered as “a powerful man and charismatic figure who founded the Church of England” Why is he not shamed and vilified for the marital merry-go-round that saw him wed six wives in his quest for a male heir (and ideally a spare) to secure the Tudor dynasty on England’s throne.
Those were women like me and you, as lively, intelligent noble women doing their best to survive in a treacherous court. They were hidden in Henry’s monstrous shadow and recalled less by name than by their fates summed up in the well-known rhyme: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Far from the puppets implied, each is a fascinating flesh-and-blood figure, and each dealt differently with Henry and the challenges they faced. He was simply an anachronistic sexist bigot and nothing else.
How astonishing is the tale of Jack the Ripper? It is a disturbing reality that there are individuals who unapologetically idolize sexist and misogynistic figures. Jack the Ripper is one of the many chilling examples. Despite the abhorrent nature of his crimes, there exists a twisted fascination and even adoration for this heinous murderer.
Jack the Ripper has been thoroughly sanitized and turned into a folk hero like Robin Hood. But let’s be clear: Jack the Ripper was a deranged serial killer who targeted vulnerable women. His brutal acts of violence and mutilation were fueled by a deep-seated hatred and contempt for the female gender. Yet, there are those who, inexplicably, choose to romanticize and elevate him to a status of mythical notoriety. London exhibition celebrates asexually violent murderer: yet another example of how our society ignores the reality of male violence against women.
This is a stark reminder of the deep-rooted misogyny that continues to plague our society. The idolization of figures likeJack the Ripper or Henry VIII reinforces toxic masculinity and perpetuates a culture that thrives on violence against women. It sends a message that the suffering and loss of female lives can be glorified and celebrated. If his victims had been white men, would he receive the same twisted adoration?Absolutely not! It is an infuriating reflection of our society's acceptance and normalization of violence against women.
While we’re on the topic, how can we forget The Malleus Malefificarum: the wretched witch hunts? The witch trials served as a grotesque manifestation of patriarchal control and fear of female autonomy. Women who displayed independent thinking, medical knowledge were seen as a threat to the established order and were branded as witches. This systemic oppression was fueled by a society that feared the power and agency of women. The witch hunts resulted in countless innocent lives being lost, as women were subjected to torture, public humiliation, and gruesome executions. The very notion of witchcraft became synonymous with female wickedness and served as a means to justify the persecution and marginalization of women. It is still taboo for most people to characterize the execution of thousands of women in the so-called witch-craze era as genocide. For three centuries of early modern European history, diverse societies were consumed by a panic over alleged witches in their midst: who were assumed to be women, because these hunts were all about persecuting the powerless.
During the same period inIndia, the very existence of women hinged solely upon the survival of their husbands. It is an appalling reality that gives rise to the haunting practice known as "Sati." This deeply ingrained tradition tells a tale of immense sorrow and injustice. Sati involved a widow self-immolating on her husband's funeral pyre, an act considered virtuous and noble in some communities. This barbaric practice robbed women of their agency and reduced them to mere extensions of their husbands, denying them the right to forge their own paths and live independent lives. The harrowing stories of these brave women stand as chilling reminders of the oppressive conditions that prevailed.
Men have been ruling and violating women's fundamental human rights and bodily autonomy, stripping them of their reproductive choices and perpetuating the idea that their worth as individuals was determined solely by their genetic makeup. The targeting of women based on subjective judgments and discriminatory ideologies exemplifies the extent of the misogyny and its disregard for the dignity and autonomy of women.The repercussions of these exercises in history continue to resonate and have their traces today. The importance of safeguarding reproductive rights and challenging eugenicist ideologies that seek to control and manipulate women' s bodies.
In this patriarchal world, girls are preferred and more liked based on their physical attractiveness. Consider this: Why do attractive girls have it easy? Why is life more comfortable when you wear that mini skirt in the office? Why is life simpler without body hair? Why is life smoother with a touch of red lipstick?
 When we make efforts to change ourselves, the world approves of us because we conform to the standards set by men. It’s following these standards, that makes life a breeze, isn’t it?Some women spend their entire lives without questioning their identity, without attempting to dismantle toxic cycles or heal their traumas, as they are solely focused on surviving in a sexist and unequal world. I want to emphasize that in a world that favors conformity and ease, it is a privilege to explore the unconventional path, challenge long-held beliefs, and break free from coping mechanisms that keep you tied to those who do the bare minimum.
Another aspect of patriarchy is the deliberate cultivation of "internalized misogyny"among women. Women forget that there is enough room for all women without tearing each other down. Internalized misogyny is the silent killer of progress and it shows up in our lives in totally unacceptable ways. Girls want to become more beautiful- they are in a race with other girls, by this, they basically want to be more desirable for male consumption. And guess who profits the most from this? The elite winners of unfettered capitalism!
 Back to Feminism – that started in 1848- with the Seneca Falls convention, fast forward to today, things that prove how little have we progressed:
-       Half of the people worldwide still believe men make better political leaders than women, and more than 40 percent believe men make better business executives than women
-       153 Countries have laws that discriminate against women economically, including 18 countries where husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.
-       Worldwide, 1in 3 women and girls will experience violence or abuse in their lifetime.
-       Nearly 2/3rds of the world’s 781 million illiterate adults are women, a proportion that has remained unchanged for two decades.
-       On average, women are paid 24% less than men for comparable work, across all regions and sectors
-       Extreme poverty is also projected to deepen for women and girls globally as compared to men.
-       Only 44.9 % of working mothers have maternity cash benefits.
-       The formula to determine standard office temperature was developed in the 1960s around the metabolic resting rate of the average man, forgoing the 35% difference for women. Hence many women believe their offices to be too cold.
-       Women are more likely than men to experience food insecurity, and the gender gap is growing.
-       Most PPE equipment is made for and bought for men, meaning 26% of women feel their PPE does not fit their needs, compared with 6% of men.
-       Legal restrictions, including the criminalization of abortion, continue to compound the challenges women face in accessing safe sexual and reproductive healthcare.
-       More than half of the nearly 130 million girls not enrolled in formal education worldwide (54 percent)
-       Google’s speech-recognition software is 70% more likely to accurately recognize male speech as opposed to female speech.
-       A woman involved in a car crash is 47% more likely to be seriously injured, and 17%more likely to die due to cars and safety features being modeled for ‘the average man
-       As per reports, half of women feel unsafe walking alone at night in urban areas, with evidence that violence and harassment.
-       In all the places where decisions are made, gender parity is far from being achieved.
The era of women pleading for equality is a thing of the past. As women from Generation Y and Z, we possess a wild and long-existed thirst for justice that rises every day. We should take every necessary action to quench it. My life's purpose is to witness a society built upon equality and does justice to women. I have faith in the resilience of feminism and the disruptive force of feminists. I believe:  "Feminism may disrupt our lives but in the best possible way!"
Let’s call for an egalitarian rebirth of society by standing up, speaking up, and never ever tolerating this immoral, unethical, in human, and insensitive trait called sexism. Because each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women!!
Finally, I’d like to end with my favorite poem:
Won’t you celebrate with me? what I have shaped into
a kind of life? I had no model
born in Babylon: both nonwhite and woman
what did I see to be except myself?
I made it up
here on this bridge
between star shine and clay;
My one hand holding tight my other hand!
Come celebrate with me
that everyday
some thing has tried to kill me
and has failed.
-Lucille Clifton, an American Poet