The movie “Julie and Julia” made me wonder, “Here are two women who are cooking their way into achieving what they want in life. Why is it that women are not given the reverence and care that they undoubtedly deserve?”. The movie directed by Nora Ephron denotes two women, Julia Child starred by Meryl Streep and Julie Powell starred by Amy Adams who go on to succeed in their culinary discovery of themselves. Their lives are revived by food as food saves them. Yet, somehow in the story, the idea is of women achieving whatever they want is a dominant strain. Food acts as a means to provide them with salvation. It brings out the best in them.
In India, the females are suppressed. The fundamental right to freedom for all seems to have gone redundant for women. Reality showcases the mediocre subordinate positions restricted to the kitchen are delegated to them. What is unhesitatingly overlooked is that women bind the entire family together. They cook, they nurture the baby, and they take care of the old parents. Why then should they be confined to toilsome household chores only? Should they not go out into the world and lead independent, strong lives? Why can women not be bread-winners too? Should a mother not have a say when she is forced to abort a female foetus? The questions can be answered with a resounding ‘yes’. The important question is, “Why in the first place should a woman be subjected to bias right from the womb to the grave? “
Women are relegated to the kitchen. This conception of the female being meant to the culinary roles is a paradigm of the narrow mentality of those that have not yet grasped the fact that women can achieve independence. The backward ideas need to change. Labels of the “weaker sex” should be discarded. Women are anything but inferior. It has been proven time and again that females are as capable as they want to be. Outstanding examples of Sania Mirza, Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Michelle Obama, Kalpana Chawla, are ample proof that women have progressed and outshone men in most fields. There are many other names that need no introduction to showcase the power of the female gender. Why should the fairer sex succumb to suppression? Females have headed leading positions in the fields of business, commerce, entertainment, education and arts.
The key lies in standing up for oneself and knowing one’s rights. By taking criticisms in the stride, it is time, women from all across the globe and all strata of the society make an effort to be independent and capable of self-reliance. Dominant patriarchal traditions are still prevalent in most rural parts of the country. It is irrational and prejudiced to consider women to be fit for cooking and child-birth. It is as low as treating them as nothing short of means for reproduction. The perspective of women being symbols of motherhood and continuity of life has been distorted. Over the period of years this has been largely contorted into sexist opinions of the females being modes of obtaining a male heir. Increasing crimes of female infanticide and neglecting the educational requirements of the female child in order to lighten the burden of the family is a shocking scenario. Prejudice against the female child of the family is not unheard of. Instead we see in most outskirts and villages how girls and young ladies are not sent to schools and colleges but instead are groomed at home and taught the domestic skills so as to be made suitable for marriage. The male child on the other hand is not only preferred by the parents but are also given better standards of livelihood and more privileges than his sister. A striking as well as immensely devastating aspect of dowry is a shameless depiction of women being lowered to the standard of an object of sale, an item of bargain, an inanimate commodity.
For a country like India, where industrialization, urbanization and globalization are at its peak, it should be a shame to acknowledge the inhuman circumstances that women are subjected to. It will not be wrong to claim that a nation which has a rich cultural heritage where female deities are worshiped, has failed to provide ample protection and respect for the female population. In most villages and rural under-privileged areas, women and little girls have to walk many kilometers to fetch water, firewood, and in many scenarios, even groceries and food grains. The rapid technological advancements seem to be a vain attempt when pitted against the state of the rural women. The need for the hour is spreading awareness among rural areas. The female gender should be treated with the respect that they deserve. Encouraging our mothers, sisters and daughters to become what they want and to persevere in life, is a recipe for success. Hands of solidarity should be stretched out to those who have been sexually assaulted, raped, or subjected to marital rape. Instead of shunning victims from society, the culprits should be imprisoned and punished by the victims should not be traumatized or ridiculed as is often witnessed. Women can be as strong and as capable as they wish to be.