Morality and Indian woman’s mind
Posted by 498A_Crusader on January 26, 2008
Who is the Indian woman? What image does the nation have of her?
The CNN-IBN-CSDS-Indian Express State of the Nation Survey busts several myths about the Indian woman.
The Indian woman is either portrayed as a meek sati-savitri or as Durga, the irrepressible rebel. The truth is much more complex.
Women believe that their role should not be restricted to staying at home and looking after the family. As many as 77 of urban women and 69 of rural women support the proposition that there is nothing wrong in them going out and working, the survey found.
But the stereotype that men are generally more intelligent than women is accepted by a large number of women, says the survey.
When asked to react to the question that there is nothing wrong for women to have sexual desires, 50 percent were in favour. The ratio is of course higher among young metropolitan women, but no section displays a dominance of Victorian prudishness, says the survey. But 86 percent of women don’t support the idea of live-in relationship.
What do such views tell about the Indian woman? CNN-IBN’s Senior Editor Sagarika Ghose asked this to Poornima Advani, lawyer and former chairperson of the National Commission for Women, ad guru Prahlad Kakkar, Shefalee Vasudev, editor of Marie Claire India, and writer Abha Dawesar.
Does survey indicate that women consider marriage a ‘freeing mechanism’? The answer is yes but there is a catch to it, said Vasudev.
“This agenda of liberation that women have—which has come with financial freedom and changing roles—has made them prisoners of war in confines of morality. They want to free out of that. A prisoner of war is good only when he is free. I am not sure if the survey indicates that (women believe) marriage is a freer of women and live-in relationship enslaves them,” said Vasudev.
If marriage is ‘the’ institution for women, does it explain their views on sex?
Kakkar said India is a conservative society but women decide the country’s morality. “Society is very, very favoured toward men but (it’s morality) is implemented by women. It is not a male-dominated but a male-scripted society. People who actually implement moral issues very vociferously are women,” said Kakkar.
Advani disagreed that women set the moral agenda. “The finding that only 6 percent women approve of live-in relationship shows that we value our family system. This shows we think that very basis of our social fabric is the family unit,” she said.