Went for a Women’s Quiz conducted for Women’s Day by KQA. It was held right after BizKashi – the Biz Quiz. There were only five teams, so there wasn’t even a need to conduct prelims.
I didn’t originally intend to attend the Women’s Quiz… the Biz Quiz was supposed to be the relaunch quiz of my quiz team from school… nope, I’m not going to lapse into memories here, don’t worry. Great quiz, though I must say I’m rusty… obviously didn’t make it to the finals. Enjoyed being part of the audience… it was a fun quiz to attend. A good set of questions, very well set.
And… I enjoyed it more than the tailored-for-women’s-day-and-women Women’s Quiz. Basically it was because of the sort of quizzing I like. I have a bad memory, and hence I don’t much like questions like ‘Identify [enter image of obscurish person/movie]’, but absolutely adore questions of the form [first para of wiki article with named entities replaced by random letters of the alphabet], or [obscure question common answer].
The quiz in itself was torn between being a Women’s Day Quiz and a Quiz for Women. I was half-expecting to be asked about the common term for Fuller’s Earth (Multani Mitti), or the history of the woman on who Miranda Priestly’s character was based on, now that would have been fun…. but no, it was about boring overachieving women who did inspiring but boring things like win the Nobel.
But frankly… I didn’t get the need for such a difference between the two quizzes. Was it set that way because of some research that proves women are better at recollecting stuff while men are better in working out and analyzing? Or is ‘identify’ seen as being easier than ‘work out’, and women being inferior in quizzing when compared to men need an easier time?
Which brings us to another point I wish to bring attention to… why do so few women quiz? As far as I’ve seen, it’s a matter of priorities and interest… at NITK, most girls were more focussed on a lot of activities which weren’t involved in quizzing and hence there was a low turnout… but why is that? In a population of 250-odd girls in B.Tech, only one or two at max would be interested? Wonder why?
And so it is Women’s Day. Lots of lip-service for women’s rights and all that yada… I’m frankly bored, but I acknowledge extreme-feminists should definitely exist for a healthy society…. just as extreme leftists and rightists should.
What I understand of feminism is this. Basically, for long, women weren’t supposed to think. And had very few choices to make. And as we know, people with fewer choices to make are happier people…. so this arrangement seemed to suit everyone. Then came feminism, suffragette movement and suchlike things. They wanted to get women to think. To not be afraid to think. They wanted women to be independent. Take their own decisions.
But well, they intentionally or unintentionally forgot one tiny detail. That you have to take responsibility for yourself and any decision you take. And there you go. Now you have a bunch who believe in power without responsibility. They forget that being an independent woman doesn’t entitle you to perks, apart from those that come out of sensitivity and common sense. They forget that misandry is equivalent to misogyny.
And then things like Mona Lisa Smile. The movie starring Julia Roberts. I don’t much have an issue with it, but with the people who idolize it. Why do ‘progressive’ women tend to look down upon those women who’ve chosen family over career? That’s what feminism was all about, right? To be able to choose as well as to increase the number of choices? And such a choice is something personal, like religion… you shouldn’t be judged on it… and like innerwear – it’s a matter of what’s most comfortable. And not everyone wants pink.
That said, when I ask “What do you do?’ and I receive an answer like ‘I’m bringing up the future of the world’, it does strike me very much as some sort of a consolationPrize answer. Or an excuse for being lazy. I don’t have an issue with others giving up career for family… just that I don’t like the phrasing.
I’ve met some teenaged girls whose aim in life is to “get married and settle down’ (No, they are not villagers, but from very well-off families where their parents want them to become lawyers and consultants, and are willing to foot the tuition for all of that)… I’m not an advocate of that, just to clarify. No matter what you’ll say about parenting being a fulltime job, if you find time hanging heavy on your hands while waiting for kids to come back from school…. you need a life. Just like I’ll say you need a life if you say you’re very busy and don’t have time to look at your kids’ faces.
A couple of months back, I was watching some of the Pan-IIT videos. One of them was about the low numbers of women in Sci-Tech. The problem is basically that most organizations aren’t women-friendly. More often than not, it’s ignorance and perspective that’s the trouble. Like take for example this situation. Woman’s on a critical project near the deadline. Work goes on till pretty late. Woman’s family doesn’t much like the whole staying late and nightouting. Woman feels work is such and asking for concessions would be un-feministic. Woman understands concern of family and gives in. Woman is seen as putting family over career. Woman given low priority during promotions and the like.
Now there’s definitely a holistic approach that’ll work for everyone, but the problem is no one’s going to begin thinking that way unless they are told to…. not coming across women in the workspace for long doesn’t much equip you well to be sensitive to women in your workplace.
And one lady brought it up that IITs are generally unfriendly places as far as women are concerned. Her point was that it brought in the worst of all evils of society in a closed location. At NITK, I’ve come across the lowest forms of MCPness, the saddest forms of prejudice, the worst perceptions of women…. I can empathize.
A good number of men seem to agree – some openly, some not so openly – that women aren’t as smart as men. They go on as far as to say it might probably be the result of having two X chromosomes…. some sort of genetic modification that might have happened…. or maybe women were just meant to be dumb. Oh, and their justification when attacked is “I have never met a woman as smart as a man’. And when you do give some examples where a woman is indeed smarter than most men around her, she is classified as a freak of nature, or her character and means of obtaining success is debated upon. These are not people from the Sri Rama Sene, but just regular engineering college students not necessarily from a feudal background.
Muthalik is just one of those men who shout out their opinion on women in public. There are tons who share the opinion, though silently. In that way, Muthalik is not the problem, but one of the symptoms of a much larger problem…. other symptoms include tame, yet dangerous private opinions like mentioned before.
Most of the issues are due to lack of communication and empathy and sensitivity. IMO, sensitization should be a mandatory part of syllabus (rhetoric… not to be taken literally), considering the backgrounds of most people who enter IITs and NITs. The problems that occur here occur less in places with more balanced gender ratios. And that’s why we need to improve the gender ratio in Sci-Tech. To prevent the objectification and stereotyping of women from festering.
We also need more women who are roleModel-material. Comments like the one above occur due to a dearth of these. If all the women you’ve grown up seeing are simpering nagging housewives, or chammak challo sorts, chances are high you’ll assume all women are either one of the two or freaks of nature. And that is irrespective of your gender.
But frankly, I’d not be giving the complete picture if I didn’t say that at NITK, I’ve also come across some of the nicest, most empathetic, most accomodating and most sensitive men I’ve ever met… and I’m a much better, happier person for it.