What do women want?

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And how the widening gulf of trust between sexes will play out

Once upon a time, the lines were neither blurred nor ignored. They were clearly drawn, meticulously obeyed and upheld by those who drew and respected by those for whom they were drawn. The women knew their place in the scheme of things charted out by their male masters, in a male-dominated, male-run, male-serving, male worshipping universe. Then came the Awakening. Then came the Dissent. Then came the War Cry.

And the tables started to turn. The women demanded equality. At first they were denied and laughed at. They vied and succeeded. They wanted to go out from the confines of home and contribute like their male counterparts, they were ridiculed and snubbed. They went out and made their mark. They slowly and steadily won some semblance of emancipation. Yet their quest is far from over.

Of late, the warring sexes went on a fresh assault against each other, armed to teeth, and the eternal battle now rages anew every day. The Second Sex blames First Sex for denying them rights, stifling their existence, harassing them at work, enslaving them at home, objectifying them in media, degrading them in popular culture, denying them equal opportunities, stopping them from getting equal remuneration, condemning their lot to invisible glass ceilings, and relegating them to a corner.

No news here, dear reader, the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve had been ill at ease since forever. Presently, one can’t help but think how lucky Adam and Eve were; for they knew not what dilemmas, what dichotomies, what unnecessary tragedies, what deplorable lives their progeny would had to brave.

For our earliest Father and Mother, things and ‘stuff’ was plain and simple. They were in perpetual survival mode. Men hunted, women procreated. Everybody knew who was the master. Everybody respected and cowered in front of the Master.

Enter Civilization and for good many eons the fundamentals remained intact. Patriarchy reigned supreme sans challenge, without threat. Women remained subdued. Civilization promised to tame the savage within and lead us to a promised nirvana. That didn’t happen as civilization had long ago betrayed us, or rather we betrayed ourselves, as all that was spontaneous, all that was primal, all that was elemental, has been repressed, sublimated, deflected, buried and denied.

Then something big happened, We found that we can alter nature in most fundamental of ways, on a scale that even gods would have shivered at the mere thought.

Few among us haven’t experienced sleepless nights because we can’t stop thinking about someone.

Two centuries back we hailed the Dawn of Machines and there was an immense need for hands to ‘man’ the industries coupled with withering away of centuries-old traditions and societal norms. Women had an opening of vistas, and a world full of opportunity awaited them. That was the end of Man’s complete sovereignty over Women.

And as they say, the rest is history. They marvelled at all they surveyed. They reached the zenith in science, medicine, philosophy, literature, education and all fields that were considered sole domain of gentlemen. There were countless hands that launched a thousand ships from the Island of Isolation and burned the topless towers of many an Ilium.

The question, now, is how to balance the collective yearning for emancipation with the individual longing to belong and be madly in love with a ‘Special One’.

Few among us haven’t experienced sleepless nights because we can’t stop thinking about someone. We imagine them right next to us when they are hundreds of miles away, we envision futures with them even when our present is under a pall of uncertainty, we hold their hands with all our might in their absence, we talk like maniacs on adrenaline, we listen like stones, we suffer like stoics, we revel in silence, and we laugh at their jokes with wanton abandon.

It is impossible to delineate a lady in love better than Simone de Beauvoir who in her magnum opus The Second Sex has following to say. “There, savour it with all your senses.

“When she does not find love, she may find poetry. Because she does not act, she observes, she feels, she records; a color, a smile awakens profound echoes within her; her destiny is outside her, scattered in cities already built, on the faces of men already marked by life, she makes contact, she relishes with passion and yet in a manner more detached, more free, than that of a young man. Being poorly integrated in the universe of humanity and hardly able to adapt herself therein, she, like the child, is able to see it objectively; instead of being interested solely in her grasp on things, she looks for their significance; she catches their special outlines, their unexpected metamorphoses. She rarely feels a bold creativeness, and usually she lacks the technique of self-expression; but in her conversation, her letters, her literary essays, her sketches, she manifests an original sensitivity. The young girl throws herself into things with ardor, because she is not yet deprived of her transcendence; and the fact that she accomplishes nothing, that she is nothing, will make her impulses only the more passionate. Empty and unlimited, she seeks from within her nothingness to attain All.”

May all dames, damsels, and ladies find love in the times of #Metoo and savage feminism.