Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Steep Road to Equality

From the mild "you are ungrateful" to the moderate "education has ruined you" to the extreme "you are breaking this family", I have faced it all. I'm sure there's more to come! 

Three years back, I was a 2nd year student of Psychology honours in Daulat Ram College, DU. In our department (Psychology department), 5 students got to do a research project in their final year and have their own dissertation. I had put forward 4 research areas of interest in my proposal, one of which was this:

Commonsense says that having an orientation inconsistent with societal values may be a risk factor for poor mental health. My first research proposal is a logical extension of this argument and is as follows: Are women who identify themselves as feminists more prone to psychological distress than women who identify with patriarchal values considering that the socio-cultural climate of India has historically been patriarchal?

Today as I was surfing the web, I chanced upon an article A Toxic Stew: Risks To Women Of Public Feminism. An anthropologist herself, the writer Barbara King analyses in this piece the recent phenomenon of deluge of misogynistic comments and psychological abuse hurled at feminists in the digital world and the harm such anti-feminist discourses do to women. When I read this article, I couldn't help but remember that what this article talks about is essentially what my first area of research interest was to explore in the Indian context! Not to say anything of my own experience of paying huge psychological costs for not being a demure creature and actually having a mind of my own (terrible things for a woman!). In India, considering that patriarchy is extremely deep rooted, and most of our population remains untouched by the liberating forces of education and modernization, I fear that the repercussions on women's psychological health would be still worse. 

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