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Stockholm Syndrome among (Indian) Women (Page 5)

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return_to_hades

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 10 February 2014 at 11:58am | IP Logged

Beginning an argument with an attitude akin to "You are a stupid, ignorant git who propagates discriminatory gibberish" is not going to get anyone anywhere. Would we speak to someone who had that attitude towards us? Even if we did, would we ever take their words and arguments no matter how sound, seriously?

 

If we actually want to engage in a serious discussion to eliminate derogatory and discriminatory beliefs that prevail in society, we need to give serious thought and consideration to how do we approach people who adhere to such beliefs and how can we engage them in fruitful dialogue.

 

There are many aspects of religion, culture and tradition that are indeed harmful and are holding back society from progressing. At the same time there are many aspects that are positive and provide essential good to society as well. Irrespective of the positives and negatives, religion, culture and tradition are something dear to literally billions across the globe that would be quite a task to eliminate. In order to make an impact we have to work within the existing frameworks to bring about change, either through social reform or other means like behavioral genetics as Mister. K suggested. However, it would be foolish to ignore the existing framework.

 

We also have to remember to focus on the actual beliefs and practices, and not merely on written text. There is plenty of media that also glorifies, if not condones misogyny, violence and other positive aspects. Moreover, it isn't just the religious who are ignorant and gullible in our times. Literate, educated and highly informed people are also gullible to all sorts of misinformation. The goal should be to equip all humans to be able to think critically, rationally and ethically, to research, fact check all data and never blindly believe anything.

 

Contrary to popular belief the United States is not a highly educated ultra-modern society as people assume it to be. USA maybe functionally literate, but basic education levels and quality is abysmal. Actually, in math and science USA is one of the nations that lags seriously behind. Majority of the population lives in remote rural areas with limited digital connectivity. I come in contact people every day who don't use computers or simply don't like them, and some are in my age group. Most Americans may never leave the county they were born in for their entire lifetime and have the lowest exposure rates to new ideas, other cultures, and don't get to engage in discussion beyond people with similar attitudes in their hometown. USA too suffers from the inability of the aware and educated to get that information through their society.

 

And it truly is "lack of education & outreach" and not "religious faith" that is the problem. Most people in Nordic nations identify themselves as practicing Christians, but due to the excellent education system manage to be the most open minded libertarian nations. France, Spain and Italy are predominantly conservative Catholics but have far superior sex education and dialogue compared to USA. Turkey is also an Islamic nation, but the reforms of Ata Turk made them far more progressive in terms of women's rights, equality and openness to other people.

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Rehanism

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Posted: 11 February 2014 at 10:45am | IP Logged
One common defense of Indian culture that we get to hear these days is "Ours is the only culture that worships women as Goddess. Therefore we don't need West to teach us how to respect women". And here's my reply to that - The best way to imprison a person is to raise him/her to a pedestal. And that's precisely what Indian culture does with its women. Once you are up on a pedestal of a goddess you can no longer be yourself. You must now live up to the unrealistic and sexist 'virtues' like satitva, sexual purity, family honour, sacrifice etc, set by the society in the forms of these goddesses and 'ideal women' of mythology. And if you falter, you'll be seen as a demoness and punished. And you can't even complain, because apparently you are not being mistreated; you are being worshiped. This goddess culture is nothing but an extension of the Madonna-wh**e dichotomy and it does no real help to women but actually crystallizes the stereotypes of the patriarchal society. No oppressive system can survive for long merely on brute force. If it has to sustain itself it must do either or both of the following:

1. It must convince its subjects that they completely deserve to be in the position they are OR
2. It must convince them that the position society/religion offers them is of highest possible honour and any deviation would degrade them to positions of ignomininy.

And this sort of a system cannot be countered by mere education or empowerment. Why, we have elected female MPs and MLAs who openly endorse Sati. We have female CMs who blame westernization and increasing interaction among genders as a top cause for rape. We have head of National Women's Commission blaming the rape victim's dress and life style as a cause of her rape. We have female heads of schools and colleges who put the onus of preventing assault on the girls. We have right wing women's organizations like Durga Vahini that teaches martial arts to its members but also advices them to take domestic violence as 'parental admonition' and warns them against divorce or anything of the sort that brings 'dishonour' to family and Hindu religion. We have empowered women in TV industry who make the most retarded soaps where dumb, supersitious bimbos dressed up like Christmas tree swallowing regular insults of husband and in-laws are protagonists and self-made ambitious career-oriented women are almost always vamps and house breakers. These are all educated and empowered women holding positions of influence and yet resonate the mindset of the patriarchs of khaap panchayat.

The mother-in-laws and sister-in-laws who coerce a pregnant woman to abort her female child are not meek and submissive women. They are a product of a culture that has made them hate their own kind. Giving birth to a male heir is one of the first duties of a married woman according to the shastras and one of the 7 marriage vows. In a Hindu joint family the DIL who gives birth to a male child is far more loved and cared for and enjoys a greater status than the ones that bear a girl. Isn't it too much of a co-incidence that none of the major female characters of Indian mythology - Sati, Sita, Parvati, Aditi, Mandodari, Ahalya, Draupadi etc, ever bore a girl child?




Edited by Rehanism - 11 February 2014 at 12:44pm

Rehanism

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Posted: 11 February 2014 at 10:54am | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades

And it truly is "lack of education & outreach" and not "religious faith" that is the problem. Most people in Nordic nations identify themselves as practicing Christians, but due to the excellent education system manage to be the most open minded libertarian nations. France, Spain and Italy are predominantly conservative Catholics but have far superior sex education and dialogue compared to USA. Turkey is also an Islamic nation, but the reforms of Ata Turk made them far more progressive in terms of women's rights, equality and openness to other people.


That has little to do with education system and more with secularism. In these countries religion has been held at bay and has little real influence on public life and affairs of the state, regardless of how many call themselves religious in private lives. In fact I think even US has done a pretty good job when it comes to defining secular values, compared to countries like India. If religion is not the problem then show me one country where religion has considerable influence over public matters and DESPITE that women, sexual minorities, heretics and other social and cultural mavericks feel safe, respected and have their rights protected.


Edited by Rehanism - 12 February 2014 at 11:54am

K.Universe.

Goldie

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Posted: 11 February 2014 at 1:01pm | IP Logged
The issues are relatively easier to identify.

It is much harder to map the issues to their probable causes.

It is much much harder to come up with workable fixes.

If you look at the history of violence against women, you will realize that it existed across all regions, all countries and all cultures due to the unequal power relations between men and women, some of which disparity is forced upon humanity by nature and some of which is (presumably) social.

Now, we can go about identifying issues and assigning causes in a structured manner or pick random, nondescript stuff such as "Saubhagyavati bhava", "Maha Sati", "6000 year old earth", "Madonna-wh**e dichotomy",  "Sati, Sita, Parvati, Aditi, Mandodari, Ahalya, Draupadi" to discuss. For the record, you may count me in for the former and count me out for the latter.

return_to_hades

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Posted: 11 February 2014 at 1:34pm | IP Logged

@Rehanism -Education is essential for secularism. You cannot accomplish secularism without people understanding the importance of secularism. Education exposes people to diversity of ideas and critical thinking, which are necessary to have a secular outlook. The only way to achieve secularism is to get education to the masses. I don't mean merely formal school systems, but exposure to learning in general.  

 

I never said religion should control public life. Nations successful in secular outlook never tried to eliminate or prohibit religion, but introduced secularism in conjunction to existing people's beliefs. There are only two nations that tried to eliminate religion altogether and attacked it - communist Russia and communist China.

 

On a personal level, I abhor religion and do believe it is the cause of many problems. However, in the greater scheme of things, nothing good can ever be achieved by forcefully ripping the faith out of people.

 

@Mister.K - Suppose we are studying certain female issues in India - unfair expectations of chastity, taboo too divorced or unmarried women, frowning upon working women - wouldn't the myths of Sati, Sita and co as ideal women come into play as part of the causes? Or at least deserve some credence to see if they have any impact and how much?

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Goldie

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Posted: 11 February 2014 at 3:13pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades



Suppose we are studying certain female issues in India - unfair expectations of chastity, taboo too divorced or unmarried women, frowning upon working women - wouldn't the myths of Sati, Sita and co as ideal women come into play as part of the causes? Or at least deserve some credence to see if they have any impact and how much?



Both men and women are free to have expectations.

The basis of these expectations could be mythology, history or unadulterated imagination.

It's not that the expectations themsleves are wrong; it's that the men's demands on women and their attempts to make women meet those expectations are "winning".

The reason they are winning is because of unequal power relations that exist between sexes in nature (among humans and other animals)

_Angie_

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Posted: 11 February 2014 at 10:30pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by Rehanism

One common defense of Indian culture that we get to hear these days is "Ours is the only culture that worships women as Goddess. Therefore we don't need West to teach us how to respect women". 
 
True that our culture has been worshipping Godesses but women have not been worshipped as godesses. If that was the case there would not have been as many atrocities against women. There was only expectation and  pressure on women to behave like godesses with no such pressure on men to behave like Gods. It somehow seems to have escaped people that we cannot have Godesses without any gods amongst humans.
 
Originally posted by Rehanism

No oppressive system can survive for long merely on brute force. If it has to sustain itself it must do either or both of the following:

1. It must convince its subjects that they completely deserve to be in the position they are OR
2. It must convince them that the position society/religion offers them is of highest possible honour and any deviation would degrade them to positions of ignomininy.

And this sort of a system cannot be countered by mere education or empowerment.
 
[/QUOTE]
 

On the contrary education and empowerment is the only thing that can counter  outdated notions. Education does not merely mean getting formal degrees but building awareness and  the ability to think for oneself.  Empowerment means having the means to act on what one thinks. With clarity of thoughts  comes conviction. With empowerment comes courage. Conviction and courage together leads to implementation in face of opposition.

Those who became aware of  the unfairness of a system have rebelled against social norms. Success achieved varied according to empowerment enjoyed by them. Increase in awareness level across society creates demand for better empowerment through legislation and/or social acceptance.  People who stand to lose some of their own power feel shortchanged and offer stiff rersistance. Its basically a power struggle-  whether it be between genders, classes, religion, nations or across species.

 


Edited by _Angie_ - 11 February 2014 at 10:31pm

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zorrroreturn_to_hadesAngel-likeDevil

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Goldie

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Posted: 12 February 2014 at 11:01am | IP Logged
Education, empowerment, and then what? Live happily ever after?

The dice is loaded in favor of one gender. How do you balance what is innately an imbalanced equation? Does promoting gender equality actually achieve gender equality? Ultimately, is the "overall" plan when addressing violence against women, nothing but a hope that men remain kind, sympathetic and supportive to the needs of women?


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charminggenie

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