Don’t wear that dress; Don’t go out now; Don’t talk to boys; Don’t take up that job; Don’t travel alone! Haven’t we women got tired of being dictated to all our lives in the guise of “safety?” They say it’s for our safety, but should our safety come at the cost of us losing even our basic rights?
The Delhi University hostel locked up its girl students on Wednesday, March 8 on account of Holi until 6 pm. The Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for Girls (RGHG) circulated a notice on Tuesday stating that the students will not be allowed to step out until 6 pm and no visitors will be allowed inside the hostel premises on March 8. Ironically, the girls were deprived of their basic rights on International Women’s Day. While many of us were happily celebrating the day, some of our sisters were locked up and had to protest for long hours until the gates were opened.
DU Girls Locked Inside Hostel On Holi
After the gates were opened, the girls marched out and celebrated International Women’s Day and Holi. Was it really the gates of the hostel that were opened, or was it the gates of freedom for those girls? It’s enraging that a group of girls had their rights curbed on the very day that commemorates the centuries of historic struggles by and for women.
Women had been locked inside by patriarchy, and it has taken centuries to get us where we are now. A well-known institution in the capital of our country locking up women on International Women’s Day is yet another proof of how deeply internalised patriarchy continues to rule our society. How long is society going to chop off our wings in the name of protecting us? When is society going to acknowledge that the actual problem lies with men who can’t keep their hands to themselves? Isn’t it high time society implemented rational solutions like teaching men to behave and respect women?
We post quotes such as “Don’t teach your daughters how to behave; teach your sons how to respect women,” but do we act on them? It is always easier for parents, authorities, and society to command women than regulate men because that has traditionally been the social norm.
Patriarchal societies believe that a woman’s role is to dedicate her entire life to taking care of the household. Public places are men’s domain, and women claiming an equal place at the table is a threat to patriarchy.
Today, girls are locked up during a festival under the pretence of protection. What next? Curtailing their right to education? Employment? Stepping out into public spaces because the rate of violence against women is shooting up? How is this any different from what the Taliban is doing in Afghanistan? Safety or control, at the end of the day, it comes down to oppressing women. Why can’t society focus on educating boys to behave and respect women right from childhood? Training children is nothing new to our society given that even girls as young as primary schoolers are taught to “behave like girls,” so it should not be difficult to start teaching boys to “respect women.”
How will unified empowerment of women happen in our country if a group of women are being inducted into command roles in the Army and another group is being stripped of their freedom and locked indoors? Society needs to stop giving men a free pass by saying, “Boys will be boys.” Until and unless society decides to address the actual problem, women must keep protesting, even for basic rights. We are now standing on the bloodied shoulders of millions of women who protested for centuries for everything that we have today. Shouldn’t we leave a much better society for the generations to come?
Suggested Reading: Delhi University Harassment Case: How Woke Generation Is Treating Women