People painted in hues of beige sit around the table. A cup of warm coffee brewed out of the misery of women rests in their hands. These hands, so soft and pale, are ignorant (wilful or accidental) of what it means to be grinded and poured out into spaces you don’t “belong” in. The room is loaded with balloons of binary schemes; it’s either pink or blue— a definitive wrong or a right in some books. This room reeks of skewed dynamics and undeserved applause, an empire built upon exploiting the fruits of what never belonged to them.
There are onlookers outside the window. When we look from afar we realize that the room does not exist within four walls– it is expansive; and it eventually becomes apparent that the ones who are shrunk into walls are the ones who are outside this room. They cry but the muffled noises are blocked out of the picture. It is as if they don’t exist in this space. They are simply unheard. It is these pleas of the people, which are overshadowed by the roars of superiority, that are needed to reform the society we live in. We all know the solutions to the problems at hand but we shy away from implementing them l. How can we open this room to the people who have built the very pillars it now stands upon?
Within this universe of gender roles and their importance, we come to realize that they’re only ever shared to influence, reinforce or obliterate. When will the changes we boast about be put to action?
The burden of change is put on the shoulders of anyone who fails to label themselves a man. Young children who are deemed unique or different have a responsibility passed on by their predecessors– to be countercultural. Women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, minorities and anyone whose voice is curbed the second they choose to speak, are conditioned to fight against the cyst that contains them. This pressure we put on them and the pressure we put on men that have to find toxic ways to express their masculinity is the root cause of these problems that plague the world today.
We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. – Gloria Steinem
It’s a century-old debate— women must be given equal rights but seldom are the stances in clear sight. In crowded places, opinions favour the rights but behind closed walls, the activists themselves become the oppressors. Is being politically right reduced only to a desirable social trait? The same people who boast about making discussions “lively” by passing sexist comments are the same ones who make laws on their behalf. Does democracy mean to exclude the people outside the walls? Is it possible that the democracy we boast about, doesn’t exist at all? As a society, we have failed to provide a safe space as the gap between the differences increases and the efforts to fill in the holes fail more often. The bridges we built collapse the second there is any negotiation. Revolution is difficult and cooperation is imperative in its incidence; it is a two-way road, without the other, remains the same.
Since we are increasingly integrated in society through the internet, reshaping and increasing focus on minorities and their issues are the points we must bring in conversations more often, rather than leaving them in the shadows, hidden in closets and metaphors. It should be said firmly and out loud so that it not only penetrates through the confines of the windows but also pierces the air in the room that has been kept out of reach for so many. In the near future, perhaps, instead of binaries and rights and wrongs, the rooms would be more lively owing to the diversity of bright colours. Not only should the differences be welcomed, but celebrated.
We, as individuals, need to put aside our differences and realize that all of us are humans. We gaze into the same moon and the same stars every night. The realness of being someone is so continental we cannot seem to grasp it. We are equal and equal is the word that defines how the balance does not tip in the measure of our souls.
Edited by: Devanganna Jain