Yesterday was International Women’s Day (8th march) and quite a few people wondered what the relevance was. But that’s not what this post is about. You can read about the origins of International Women’s Day right here.
In short, on this day we remember the women who stood up against oppression, fought for their rights. It’s a day you acknowledge the contribution of these women to the freedom we enjoy today. And yes, one mustn’t dwell in the past too long and therefore, we must also celebrate and encourage the dreams of the modern woman.
I received a long list of SMSs wishing me ‘Happy Women’s Day’ because the message told them, ‘pass this along to every beautiful woman you know.’ To me this is pointless. I haven’t done enough to be celebrated on this day, in fact, I want to do something and say thank you to women like Savitree Phule and Iravati Karve who made sure women in India got a right to education. It is thanks to these women that I can dare to go out there, support myself and look the world in the eye.
So anyway, this whole Hallmarkisation of women’s day was kinda getting on my nerves. Newspapers carried guest columns by women, and yes some of these women were actually women of substance but many of these were socialites, industrialists’ wives. The modern day Indian woman who struggles with a career, home and social pressures got a rare mention. Her struggle continues, whether or not its 8th of March.
She is given the education and the liberty to work, but time and again she’s also reminded that her responsibilities towards the family are greater. Where does this start?
A small girl proudly displays her ‘bhatukli’, Marathi for toy kitchen sets. She makes her first cup of imaginary tea, and she’s praised. She starts to make believe she’s cooking and serving, and she starts enjoying the process.
Speaking of play, another thing that subconsciously reinstates a woman’s role in her life to come is a doll. The doll, very often brings out a maternal side of the child. They care for it, they dress them up, they cook imaginary food to feed the doll.
I couldn’t help but wonder. In play do we start defining her role for her? That said, seeing one of my toddler friends take keen interest in ‘bhatukli’ despite being boy, made me feel awesome. I relished the tea he served me. So what if it was imaginary, we have a dream!
Being a total tomboy, I rarely played with my tea-set and almost always beheaded my Barbies. But I still enjoy cooking (occasionally :P) and can tackle kids much better than many people my age. So I’m not saying playing with dolls or playing bhatukli make you a better home maker or anything. I’m just wondering if the fact that Barbie’s birthday falls the day after women’s day symbolizes something. What do you think?