I’m disappointed. Writers, those who attain a particular stature at least, would, to my mind, think out of the box. There isn’t much point in serving old wine in new bottle is there? And that is pretty much what I found in Mr Chetan Bhagat’s post on Women’s day..platitudes, clichés and still some more of those. What was there in his post that we haven’t heard before? Male egos, male bashing, women’s rights and all that women should stand up against. Really now! We already have enough of the Bra burners doing pretty much the same and in the process harming their cause. Do we need more people, men and women alike, to join them?
The first of these five things that women need to change about themselves as per Mr Bhagat is “the constant desire to judge other women”. Are we to believe only women do that? Don’t men judge each other? May be the parameters are different but yes we all judge, irrespective of sex. What he seems to be saying is that in a male dominated world, women should stand by each other. How about saying that in a world rapidly losing its sense of right and wrong, let us all stand by what is right. A woman who misuses her sexual or legal power deserves to face the consequences just as any man who misuses his power.
Second , “faking needs to end”. What – the fake orgasms or the fake feminism? Carrying the same argument ahead, it would seem it’s okay for men to lead fake lives. Or is he implying that women fake more? Has he not seen men trying to impress women?
Third, he says , women should stand up for their property rights. So should we all- for all rights forget property rights. But the other side of the same coin is “responsibility”. Are we human beings up to shouldering the responsibility that comes with demanding rights? Yes it is every woman’s right to be respected at home and work as it is of every man, of every child. Anyone who violates it, needs to be made answerable.
Fourth – dream bigger, be more ambitious. And who is he or any outsider to define what ambition means to any one? Does ambition lie merely in breaking the glass ceiling? What is wrong in wanting to be “just” a mother or a wife? Bottom line- don’t define ambition for women. Let each woman and man decide what he wants from life and then go and get it.
Fifth- “don’t be trapped in drama of relationships”. What is he trying to say here? That the relationship with the self is important for women alone? Relationship with the self need to go beyond narcissism.. let us all develop that and without trampling on others.
Life cannot be quantified- neither its mistakes ( 3 Mistakes of My Life) nor its achievements ( Five Point Someone). It needs to be lived and seen from a very humane perspective, not male or female perspective. It’s so convenient to become a champion of women’s cause because that is the latest trend. What about the rights of men? Or in today’s emotionally charged pro -women society, they don’t have any ?How about a new take on this whole “Liberate Women- Empower Women” phenomena? Why are we promoting this man vs woman dichotomy? Is it a battle in which one side has to lose? If we see it thus, there is something basically wrong with us. And as long as we continue to see it so, there is no end to this see saw fight for power.
How refreshing it would have been if Mr Bhagat had urged all mankind to be just human instead of churning 5 or 6 or 10 platitudes for women and women alone? How about addressing all mankind, irrespective of caste, creed, sex or nationality ? We as women today love to bash up men. How about refraining from such blanket judgements and statements? And how about valuing every human being in your life be it a man or a woman?
E M Forster put it all very succinctly with two words- “Only Connect”. If we would only connect our heart with our brain and connect with each other ! Neither would there be any need for 5 things that women need to change nor any need to quantify the mistakes we’ve made in our life.
The changes that Mr bhagat advocates are not specific to women..those are the changes we need to bring about in all human beings. Don’t we run down each other, judge each other all the time? Is that something endemic to women?