Coming back to the gender bias,it is so evident in the composite portrait of adult womanhood in the novels of male writers.The female characters are portrayed in such a way as, there seems to be no way of knowing about oneself except through men.
The message that these tend to send across – that it is through men that women become “fulfilled” and attain true womanliness.& all this not only because they have children together, but also through the mysterious agency of the physical intimacy that they share( which is supposedly something wonderful as Lawrence writes, but at the same time too shameful to be mentioned in everyday conversation, specially by women).
Sounds quite familiar – haven’t we all heard this from the others in our homes as well ? Along with statements like – marriage and motherhood makes a woman “complete”.
Sure it does! But then the way it is made out to be – kind of binding, restriction that it is supposed to be makes it all repressive.Women are definitely seen as more responsible to their children.But isn’t the father an equal sharer of responsibility? Just because the mother has a far greater role biologically, that doesn’t mean that the father can shirk all the responsibility onto the mother.The questions may seem frivolous,but if mothers can take maternity leave, why don’t fathers go ahead with paternity leaves with just as much ease?I don’t think I have started feeling differently about motherhood and about everything that involves the traditional role of a woman.Inspite of all my prattle,I’m just another traditional Indian woman at the core.But yes, I sure have been thinking about all these and a lot more since ’03,and I’m glad about it.It gives me the comfort of being able to empathise with a lot of women leading a repressed life,and at least I’m reacting in my own small way.
I remember reading sometime in my college that the full life of the creative intellect was, and to some extent still is assumed to be a “ masculine preserve “, and since women are inferior, they shouldn’t write. As Woolf also said – it has to do with the pen being the phallic symbol, of the male organ and how the male dominated society cannot let this phallic symbol get in “female control” ‘cos it would be self defeating for men.
But then, writing does give one a lot of power, and I feel this power when I write. Isn’t it strange how men have, over the centuries built up their so called superiority on not exactly their own superiority, but on the transfixed inferiority of the female sex.So much for the anxiety with the “masculity”!
I remember our class with Ira ma’m where we were discussing Lawrence & the related feminist issues.The discussion went on to include the topic about the “Shivlingam” and how we all worship the male phallus ! I had not realized this for a long time, at least not thought about it till I was in college. Another feather in the male cap!
I wonder if there’s some logic behind that too. Could be a sign of the “creator” ,but then isn’t Shiva the destroyer too. Besides, the act of procreation is more closely related to the female and so the female system deserves more homage and worship. But then, would the male dominated masculine society accept such a thing? Never!