An Open Letter To The Former Jadavpur Professor, To All The Faithful Disciples Of Patriarchy

By Arpita Adhya in Editor's Pick 16/01/2019

Dear Professor,

 

This open letter is not just to you, but to everyone like you who share the same mentality, who share the same orthodox concerns about morality going for a toss if a woman acts according to her will. Because how could she? For centuries, we have been claimed as trophies, referred to as mere objects. But we are as humane as your “boys”. It’s about time, you give us the due respect.

 

I understand that you have inherited patriarchy and whatever you preach, comes as a direct lesson from your patriarchal handbook where you believe, you can dictate how a woman should act or behave. After all, a woman can only dream about having the authority and owning her responsibility if a man “allows” her. Just like you think, a woman’s virginity is not hers to own but a man’s gift to deflower. Patriarchy has sent you at the top of the power dynamics, shaped the world according to your choice. The “definition of a pure woman” is what you decide to be and a woman’s body is a temple as long as you hail it to be.

 

You compared a woman’s virginity with a cold drink bottle’s seal or a torn out packet of biscuits, because what are women if not objects. You believe that marriage is the only institution which can give women, the viable respect which will let them be “human” but of course at the husband’s disposal!

 

But sadly, we can’t let that happen anymore.

 

It’s about time that we own our narrative. It’s about time that we write our own story with our wishes and dreams, our desires and passion. It’s about that time that we dismantle your vision of the world which will come at the cost of our career, our individuality and our growth. Our sexuality is our choice, our urges are ours to own and pursue.

 

If you tell us, virginity is a woman’s virtue, I’ll tell you how “individuality” is a better virtue to own. Virginity is a CHOICE of every individual woman and we believe, the sooner you learn it, the better you can shape your moral preaching accordingly.

 

Women have heard what to do, women have heard what defines their “femininity” according to your lessons of patriarchy. But as a woman, let me tell you how I define my womanhood.

 

My femininity comes from my own self-acceptance, without giving two thoughts about your society’s oh-so-crucial approval. Becoming a woman is my journey and I plan to ditch all the pre-established gender roles that I was designated to adhere, by your patriarchal handbook. Women come in different shapes and sizes, with various natures of sexuality and we plan to embrace them all, with equal respect.

 

Save your words like “chastity” and “angel” for your historic and religious references. If you want to give a woman respect, find adjectives like “fierce” and “strong” because every woman out there, who are leading their own life with grace and dignity, can use all of our support.

 

Instead of bringing down a woman to a mere comparison of an object for the sake of your precious moral knowledge, we say, learn and unlearn with us. Patriarchy has not only harmed one gender, but it has also moulded the characteristics of both. Patriarchy has taught men to be bereft of emotions, to neglect the importance of “feelings” as “real men don’t cry”. The same patriarchy which dictates women to be “soft, women like”, also decrees men to “man up”, to let go of their rather “womanly” qualities to be qualified as true examples of ‘masculinity”.

 

The base of patriarchy, the powerhouse of a male-dominated society which shaped and conditioned not only women but also choices of men, can only be put to an end if men and women, make an amend and effort to do it TOGETHER.

 

So here’s an invite to all men who have inherited and absorbed patriarchy without even realizing it. We need you to understand how you have been in charge of the myriad ways of conditioning that chained women. We need you on board to dismantle the erstwhile model of a society which brought anguish to both genders, but one was forced backdoor, and one dictated to run the world.

 

“And the air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. Big Things lurk unsaid inside.”


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