Sunday, August 19, 2007

If only women ruled the world...

The one line every feminist loves. Talk about anything that is wrong in the world, and whenever you have a feminist in the audience, this is a line you'll hear. If only women ruled the world, there would be no conflict. If only women ruled the world, disputes would be solved over shopping trips and not through wars. If only women ruled the world, there would be no global warming. And no endangered species. And no poverty. And no inequality. And no world hunger. And this world would be a happy, bubbly, green, lovely, peaceful place to be in.

Pointing out that the record of women rulers doesn't really justify this claim never helps. It only marks you out as a male chavunist, a wife (or girlfriend)-basher, a neanderthal, and in general, a jerk who doesn't deserve to be in the modern age. Pointing out that the only prime minister to impose the emergency in India was a woman, doesn't help. Pointing out that the most dictatorial leaders in the country are women - Jayalalitha, Mayawati - to name a few, doesn't help. All you get is the standard response - these women have to behave "like men" because there aren't enough women around. Oh, and the 33% reservation for women is going to fix this problem.

A recent report by CNN-IBN on ragging in colleges has shattered this myth. While the instances of ragging in boys were terrible, they were only as bad as those committed by women. See, for instance, the story of Indu Antos, who committed suicide after being ragged by her (female) seniors. Now, in a group where women are in a majority, why is a fellow woman being harrassed to the point of committing suicide?

Now, I'm not making the claim that men are all non-violent, and peace-loving. My only claim is that positions of power - whether it is obtained through politics, or by means of being a senior, or through other means - corrupts, and it corrupts people who are susceptible to it. Men and women are equally likely to be infected and this is entirely an individual's characteristic, not that of a gender. Having women in positions of power is no guarantee that either the lot of women will improve, or that the lot of the world will. What is guaranteed to happen is that the lot of the women in power will improve.

Maybe that is a cause worth fighting for.

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