Yesterday we were discussing budget at home. My mom and I were very happy about the income tax slab increase for women while my dad kept a grumpy face over it (although now we know that the slabs remain unchanged!). To add fuel to the fire, we teased him asking if something was wrong. He asked us, “Isn’t it unfair to increase the slab only for women?” My mom and I were becoming grumpy now. He continued, “You speak about equality, then your slabs should be equal as ours” I did not agree with him mostly to irritate him. But for many days now, my father and I have been having arguments over feminism. Although the term is overrated these days and used to one’s advantage. I believe in having a fair share just as a man in this world. If required, I should roam around with a low waist jean flashing my pop jockey panties just like men in broad daylight and I should not get hooted over, ogled or name called. I want the society to accept me and my body the way it is. Is it possible?
The world is not the same for women like it is for a man. What is allowed for a man is not allowed for a woman. By equal rights, I am not just speaking about roaming around naked, men are free to do so, not that we are particularly interested in seeing them naked. But when we ask for equal rights this is the first question that we are posed with – “I can rip my clothes off right now, right here, can you?” My answer to this, “Well, I would love too if you can guarantee that I will not get raped by you first and then by the rest of the men”
A man can walk on the streets at midnight and go home safe without getting raped. The only fear he will have is being attacked by a gang for money or a ghost! Few years back, I was in Delhi after the Nirbhaya case, I didn’t sleep the whole night because I did not feel safe there. I was waiting to return to my hometown, spending a night alone at my own capital city was one of the biggest nightmares of my life. Surely a woman had to go through this because few men decided what a girl shouldn’t have done that night and slayed her beautiful life. When did men get the rights to decide what a woman should do? When was anyone deemed with the rights to decide what anyone should do with their life?
A man who demands equality in the IT slab should also respect a woman he works with. There were so many days when I got bumped over by a man at the lift because he is in a hurry. I have opened the door only to see a man rush in. So often I have found myself at the corner of the roads with my heart racing because an asshole just crossed my scooty in 100 KM speed with blazing horns. Men cannot handle a woman overtaking him on the road, they cannot accept the fact that she is capable of doing well and better than them. I am not talking about all the men here but a few I have met myself and a few I have heard about. A good friend of mine once told me that he cannot marry a woman who earns more than he does. There are men who will not marry a woman if she is not a virgin. What if a man is not a virgin? He just had some fun in the past. When a man can have an account on a dating site or go around flirting with another woman after marriage and say it is only harmless, why aren’t women allowed to do the same harmless flirting or when she does that she is called names?
Whenever I speak about equality some of the men ask me, you have a separate compartment for you in the train, separate queue wherever you go and ladies night at pubs are free, what more do you want? Here’s the answer to all these men, you have done us a favour even here. We did not ask for a separate compartment. If you had noticed out of 12 compartments only 3 belong to women the rest is yours and sometimes you get into our compartments too, just for the sake of fun I suppose! We don’t want anything especially for us provided you behave yourself and mind your space, eyes, hands and legs. We wouldn’t have to shy or run away from you if you can treat us like a fellow human being. So here’s the answer I gave my dad this morning – If men want equal slab as us, do not categorize anything as a girl thing. Wear pink, cry if you want to and stop calling a man who cries a girl or a baby, stop calling us weak and vulnerable, respect the differences we have with you, physically and emotionally. Put your ego aside and accept us as one. Finally, if you want to race with us get on a scooty or give me a fazer. I can take you down anyday, anywhere! Do all this and then maybe you can start asking for an equal IT slab”
P.S: I am thoroughly annoyed with being bullied on the roads every single day and I mention it wherever possible!