The dangling conversation

While checking up a reference on an article I wanted to use for writing this editorial, I came across the page of ‘brainy quotes’ – you know, one of the pages that you’re bound to stumble on if you’re using search words or search terms in Google. It was very entertaining, actually – all these famous men and women who have said such witty things about women. Here are some of the quotes that struck me: ‘Women are made to be loved, not understood’ (Oscar Wilde); ‘A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water’ (Eleanor Roosevelt); ‘If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman’ (Margaret Thatcher); ‘Emancipation of women has made them lose their mystery’ (Grace Kelly); ‘You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy’ (Erica Jong); ‘Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men’(Joseph Conrad). There are hundreds of quotes on this particular site, the tones varying from admiring to condescending to mystic to skeptic to downright sexist

I was truly intrigued, because whatever the period of the different quotes, most of them actually applies to modern day women as well, each quotation bringing into focus particular qualities or characteristics of different types of women – homemakers, bread earners, clingers, fighters, workers, peace makers, climbers… the modern day woman is often a complex combination of all these different categories, playing different roles at different times. No wonder it is difficult to categorize women and draw universal conclusions.

The theme of this issue, ‘Women at home and in the world’ was chosen to bring into light all these different facets in women. We wanted to find out, in the light of personal experiences but also through the contributions of our authors, what, if any are the challenges the modern woman faces today to live in the modern day society. Are women more equal, more confident, more independent today compared to their mothers and grandmothers? Are they subject to discrimination, both at home and at work compared to men? What motivates them, what deters them, what hurdles they have to face not only to survive but also to progress in the society they live in? What according them should be done to make women equal to men in all spheres of life?

For the first time since the inception of our blog, we posted the questionnaire on our Facebook page and invited our readers to reply. Strangely, not one of our male readers has volunteered to reply to the questionnaire. True, the questions concern women, but we saw no reason why men could not share their points of view about the position of women from their own perspectives. So I ask myself – why this reticence? Do men actually feel either unqualified or unjustified in expressing their opinions about the status and condition of women? Are they embarrassed or threatened to reply to a series of questions that concern women? Or is it something only women are concerned with? Are they alone in trying to make their lives better and more equal?

We sincerely believe that unless men share the same concerns as women and take an active part in heralding changes, no lasting progress can be made in any society. And we do not need to stress the fact that there is a crying need for change in all spheres – economic, social, cultural, and religious. There is no war between the two sexes as far as Songsoptok is concerned – there is just the need for empathy and combined efforts.

Once again we thank our readers and contributors for their continued support.

Aparajita Sen



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