Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When does unfair start becoming fair?

Hello fellow-bloggers

We have a new contributor to this blog now - my dear friend Nishant. I think the more the number of contributors , the more varied the opinions, the less chances of this blog being one-man/woman's trumpet. Keep reading/writing.



There is no doubt that we have been living in a male-dominated society since mankind (see what I mean … I should say humankind) has been around. This has of course been unfair to women; they have been suppressed until very recently, though this still continues in many parts of the world. History has taught us that any kind of suppression has always created problems. In today’s world I think such problems are visible, though they are very subtle.

Men have enjoyed unquestioned authority for ages. Naturally this has led to evils such as exploitation of women (e.g. not allowing them to have careers of their own), and accepted norms like women leaving their home after marriage to live with their husbands. As a result, the society expects men to be the heads of families, bringing in money to support the family. In such a situation, women who do succeed in making a career of their own, have to yet deal with another problem, typically an ego/chauvinism issue – if their husband is less successful than them. This is again extremely unfair to women.

In today’s world, I believe, these problems have manifested themselves in such a way that the situation has started to reverse, although probably very locally. What I mean is that men are generally assumed to be less trustworthy than women, they are assumed to have ego problems and to be chauvinistic. I’ll give a few examples (1) If a marriage breaks, it is generally thought that it must have been the man’s fault. (2) Let us suppose you have a friend who is a girl. She falls in love with a boy of another caste, and they both hope to get married. Suddenly the boy’s parents refuse to allow inter-caste marriage, and so the boy calls off the wedding. You may feel that the boy is a … and he should have known this before falling in love and making promises. Now let us reverse the situation. Your friend (who is still the girl) calls off the wedding because her parents refused to an inter-caste marriage. Would you call the girl a … or will you sympathize with her? (3) If a woman says “I want to be more successful than my husband”, this is interpreted as she does not want to be known by her husband’s name, she is ambitious, she may be head-strong, etc. If, on the other hand, a man says “I want to be more successful than my wife”, this is generally interpreted as – what a male-chauvinistic pig!

Now the above examples may seem to suggest that I feel that the society is being unfair to men. Well … yes, but they deserve it right? They are the ones who claimed superiority, and they are the ones who started exploiting women. But do all men deserve this, even those who do not have ego issues, who are not chauvinistic, and who completely love their wife and family? I guess the answer should be that not all men deserve this, exactly as women do not deserve the treatment they have got in the past, and continue to get in many places today. It seems to me to be a situation like men dug a pit for women and are falling in it themselves today. Some people may call this fair, others may call it unfair. But I think it is just unfortunate – the society needs to be more balanced when it comes to men and women for the benefit of BOTH!


  1. When we say that the society (made up of individuals - men & women) is being fair or unfair to something, it means that majority of the individuals comprising the Society, with some exceptions, are being fair or unfair. The point is that if the individuals change their attitude, it will reflect as a change in the Society.

    As it is said, you can change yourself, not others or the world. If each individual keeps this in mind and works on himself rather than the Society, I think that will take care of the Society and the World at large.

  2. Well, I used to be on the woman's side till the wife walked out on me with the baby and there is sweet nothing I can do. Not with laws such as 498a, anti-stalking, drunk and disorderly, interim maintenance and a host where the male's culpability is immediately affirmed by a couple of smacks from the visiting cops who are reacting to my influential father in law calling up a commissioner as i was pestering him to let me see my daughter on her birthday. Well the law is of no help, any move i make will implicate me and the only (nothing compared to the women empowerment ngo roster) self help groups out there are self-stylized 'commandos' who have been ravaged by the anti-dowry law. I agree that gender bias-based 'revenge' is not the best long term answer to society and civilization but what of all this legal terrorism married women wanting to opt out have unleashed? Trust me, 498a is still to penetrate rural India where dowry is rooted.