Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feminism or Lack Thereof

I just Googled the word feminism. Wiki states that feminism is movements aimed at establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Dan and I had a conversation about feminism today. I was using the term as if the definition was those crazy ladies (you all know what im talking about). Yes just those crazy ladies... and rest assure I am not one of them. But like everyone else in America, we are all now very adjusted to the fact that women are just as equal as men. Sadly that is not the case in India.

Just a few examples... Whenever we meet someone, Dan is the only one that is spoken to. When we are asked to fill out information at hotels, Dan is the only one who can fill it out. When we sit down at a restaurant, Dan is given him menu first and is asked what he'd like to eat first.

At first I didnt really notice it. I was relaxed and taking things slow. I was happy to have Dan in the drivers seat. However, yesterday we went to the very southern tip of India, Kanyakumari. This is where the Arabian Sea, Bengali Bay and the Indian Ocean all intersect.  There were beautiful sights all around us.  We had to take a ferry ride to reach one of the temples. As we got in line to get the tickets a man came rushing over to me and started yelling at me. I had no idea what he was saying. As I looked around, more for support than anything else, I noticed that there wasnt a single woman in line. They were all off to the side. Women were not allowed in line. I laughed and pushed aside while Danny did the dirty work.

Well well well... how the tables have turned. This morning we took a 4 hour train ride north to Kochi. We met a very nice man on the train. Let me rephrase that. Dan met a very nice man on the train today. He spoke very good English and was eager to talk to Dan. I sat there starring into space eavesdropping of course. He was trying to tell Dan about the pilgrims that migrated to Kerala. This was the last week they would be there but sadly, there was a stampede and 108 or so people have died.

Like the inteligent woman I am (yes tooting my own horn) I read the paper the day before and knew all about it. As i sat there watching Dan struggle to understand what this guys was saying. I didnt intervene. I just kept on staring. We said goodbye to our (Dan's) new friend and went to another ferry to get to the island that were staying on for the next few days.

We get to the ferry station and see an extremely long line. Oddly enough, this line was filled with only men. So Dan gets in line. I think for a second, let me just check to see if there is a ladies only line. JACKPOT. There is. As i was 10th in line, I grabbed our tickets and we were on the first ferry out. (Maybe this segregation isnt so bad after all) (KIDDING)

We get to our hotel and as I was speaking with the Hotel Manager about tours, after they were already described to Dan, Dan sat and read the paper. (Click) "Meg, this is what the guy on the train was talking about this morning. There was a stampede and all these people were killed." I responded, oh interesting.

I obviously explained all this to Dan. And that is where the conversation of feminism came into play... 

As I sit here writing today, I want to remind everyone back home that we should all be thankful for the simple freedoms a Democracy like America has. I can honestly say, that until this trip, I have taken them for granted. Cheers for the power of women.

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