Keywords: Self identity, patriarchy
“I am the creation of GOD, but to the real creator a woman is unknown”
The identity of a woman has always been in a state of confusion and it has started to hit me too. It somewhat looks like a lost and found game but more of a lost than found. The process of this change has been a challenging, confusing yet an interesting one. The process of self identification on a gender ground seems to be a cycle, which ends in the start and the cycle goes on. When I ponder upon it briefly I find that the cycle goes through four phases but some of these phases do not necessarily follow the same order.
The first phase: Face value difference
First approach to the identity is ignited by the indignant difference we see in the social treatment a male or a female gets. Mere difference in the physical task that people do: the private dichotomy led by female and the public by male. Although some may argue the fading demarcation between the two, I believe there still exists, a difference in the way men and women perceive their responsibilities in the society. Its starts with simple things like cleaning kitchen and house for sisters and hanging out with friends for brothers, the neat for sisters and the rugged for brothers, government school for sisters and private school for brothers, naughtiness for brothers and obedience for sisters. The impact of this: difference visualized seems changeable. The five senses are completely correct, but it is the sixth sense, the mind that plays the trick.
The Second Phase: “I Hate MEN”
With the help of our senses, the information is processed by the mind, Men seems like the center of the problem. This is because we start to compare all our actions with men, evidently observed to be in advantageous position. Our receptive eyes and ears start getting apt attention to any act of gender discrimination perceived to be done by men. The fact that the father wants her daughter to be home early sounds too controlling, brothers boasting about their freedom becomes infuriating, the most widely accepted task for women to work in kitchen becomes discriminatory. The men become the problem and so our action gets directed towards them. We start fighting for our petty rights with men. This boundary enlarges as our mothers start enforcing the so called discrimination and we forcefully abide by them.
The Third Phase: ” We want Equality”
The fight rarely bears fruit. The struggle strengthens and pierces our vision to see the problem in the ideology. We now know the problem lies in the mind and not in the men. The realization of patriarchy being the problem and not men also brings in a relief, because this also brings the idea that our family aren’t our enemy but the ideas are. Unfortunately, with the relief the problem goes further deep. The identity which rather seemed to be building, is further pushed away in the dark. Attempts are made to understand the phenomenon, the ideology of patriarchy, discussions follow and so do actions against discrimination. Equal treatment to brothers and sisters, enforcement of laws, joint landownership etc are observed. But they are all like perks to our eyes, the mind behind yet to be un-molded.
The Final Phase: “And then there is LOVE, which ends it all”
Perks blur our vision, the mind tricks the mind by the most sedative and generously accepted potion of love. The stark differences initially observed are re visualized as an act of love. The peace settled, and the struggle for identity lost by the win of a fraudulent trophy. By this I mean that the changes observed often satisfy us but only superficially. We accept the changes but the values lay intact.
In some cases even if the final trick is caught, the result is no different but the process. The search for identity continues but on the same patriarchal grounds. The phenomenon of looking glass self plays a major role. In the search of our identity, we make patriarchal judgment on the basis of patriarchal assumptions and ultimately we change our behaviors based on how we feel people perceive us patriarchaly. The mind is tricked in such a way that we fail to lose the main point that the foreground itself is a large patriarchal dump. On this basis the patriarchal impact or the end of the fight for identity is so dreaded with lonesomeness and loath that we have been pulled back from the fight.
A pro feminist singer’s voluptuous body showing music video compelled me to question her feminist claim. But was my question really feminist? On what basis was my concept built on? What is the basis for the thought that female showing her body was a matter of shame? Who said women can’t show their body? Patriarchy has created a win-win argument for its survival, it claims on one hand women shouldn’t show their body, “you are a women you should safeguard it”, conservative controlling approach to woman, on the other hand, new system has objectified women to flaunt their bodies, a treat to the men’s eye. So, Should I safeguard it? Should I flaunt it? What SHOULD I do really?
We have now come to a point where the looking glass self itself has been self turned. I have been judging myself on the basis of my own assumption about myself and changing my behavior based on how I feel I will perceive myself; a complete patriarchal end to a non patriarchal thought. How can my perception which has a patriarchal basis lead a non patriarchal thought?
This sometimes make me wonder, either the goal that has been shown is an unattainable one and one that does not exist or it just so seems so unattainable because patriarchal thought follows in a cycle, leading to no end and also even if the cycle breaks, no alternative will show.