The Breakthrough Voice 16th March, 2017
Dear Patriarchy, Do I Want To Be In Your Place?.

Dear Patriarchy,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for upholding your spirit with such finesse since forever. It is surely a very difficult and cumbersome task, but you have managed it like it is a cakewalk; how to control a woman’s body, mind, opinion, voice, rights, space, status etc. etc. Whenever she tried to push her boundaries, using your skill of coercion and hegemonic force through ‘trivial’ acts of violence/control mechanisms (like marital rape, domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, verbal violence and humiliation), you upheld your grandiose stature.

Your ‘charm’ lies in the way where you, very aptly and conveniently, presume that Eve is to be ‘othered’, ‘owned’ and ‘teased’ and this right to you has been ‘bestowed’ upon by the Gods and the nature. I am sure, lately due to the unnecessary uprising of this so called ‘feminist’ movement, where they talk about gender equality must have been a real pain in the neck.

The way this word feminism is trying to project to the men also, that they too hold some freedom to move beyond the binaries and need not necessarily fit into the notion of masculinity, must be really distressing and stupid. I totally understand your antagonism with it.

Let’s imagine a planet where my gender would have not been ‘the other’, a world which is a woman’s world. Of course, if this kind of a movement had been there, I would have questioned its need and the desire for its origin. I would have asked why the men want equal rights. It’s only ‘natural’ that we, women, hold all public and political offices in majority, run the entire corporate sector, and are paid more for the exact same job (just because of our assigned gender). When we cook food here, it becomes an art and not a domestic chore.

If I had been in your place and somebody like the feminists on earth, would come to this planet and had asked me to give up on my privileges, the convenience attached to my gender, I would have been equally deterrent and reluctant. Maybe, this is human nature or how power operates. Whoever is in power would definitely do anything and everything to keep oneself in power. And like you have been doing on the earth, I would have done the same here.

I would be really pissed off with a demand for separate men’s coach in the metros and yes, for ‘men’s safety’, I would have advocated men’s hostels’ curfew and less provocative clothes. We would have movies related to men’s empowerment like King, Blue, celebrate a Men’s Day on March 8th and our politicians would use words like Men’s Development and Men’s rights, but apart from such tokenism, nothing concrete would take place. Trust me!

So frankly speaking, I duly, understand your unwillingness to let go of your convenience and allow room for equal rights and opportunities and respect. Because of course, if I had been in your place I would have done the same.  The ‘Dangal’ of the sexes is an everlasting one.

Oh, but my dearest patriarchy where is the challenge in all of this? The real courage lies in giving up the convenience, the oppressive power, no matter what gender. I will never replicate you, patriarchy. That is not the end I am seeking. I don’t want to be in your place. I want to create my own, which for so long you have kept away from me.

Note: Valentine’s day 2017 saw Miranda House Women’s Development Cell strike, dance and rise with the One Billion Rising movement. Women from WDC, in the spirit of OBR, decided to write letters to patriarchy who had been their constant lover: it was time to breakup.

Breakthrough India joins hands with MH-WDC’s One Billion Rising campaign in University of Delhi and brings to you a glimpse of some of these letters, some of the stories that women from Miranda House have been writing to patriarchy. 

Beware, you might soon find them in your nearest bookstores as well!

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