One is not born a woman, but becomes one…. Article by Mr. Ashim Tesra, DNS FRI (Teacher)

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Is it wrong for a woman to be born ?

Is it wrong for a woman to dream ?

Is it wrong for a woman to dare ?

Is it wrong for a woman to be alone ?

Is it wrong for a woman to have rights ?

Tell me the reason then……


Thus spake, in her recent published book “No More Silence”, Sr.Tresa Paul SCSC, a social worker as well as an advocate of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, New Delhi.


There are, and always have been, and probably always will be – male dominance making a woman feel an inferior entity to humankind. That the woman, in fact, compliments man’s existence by being at his side whenever he fumbles to stand firm. The saying “behind every success there is a hand of a woman” is still relevant today. Yet, time immemorial, women have been subjugated to men’s control, irrespective of their better ability to have, to a large extend, honesty, sincerity and dedication to any endeavour.


In this regard, going down to the purpose of the woman’s creation may not be a futile attempt since her present existence is in a great challenge. According to the Book of Genesis, the only cloud hanging over the Eden Garden was the man without the woman… “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper as a partner.” (Genesis – 2:18) What is the good or strong help has the woman offered to man ? Investigation of David Freedman assures that the Hebrew word used to describe a woman’s help is “ezer” which arises from two Hebrew roots that mean “to rescue or to save” and “to be strong” ! “Ezer” is found twenty-one times in the Old Testament. So, a woman’s entry to mankind was in the role of a ‘partner’ or a ‘helper’ !!!


The Genesis Story approves that God created the woman and that she hasn’t become one. In other words, she hasn’t gained her identity by means of any evolution. The woman was made just to give man a partner who befriended him or gave him company at the hour if his loneliness. Hence, a woman is supposed to enjoy a status that is similar to man as far as Genealogy is concerned.


Things aren’t always so as they appear to be. Adam and Eve are no more, neither is the Eden Garden. It is worthwhile to remind ourselves that Adam and Eve both were expelled from the worldly paradise The Eden Garden, but the tragedy is, Adam took over the lead to set the norms of survival alone suppressing the contribution of the woman who always stood by him.


The smoke of disaster of humankind, perhaps, began to flare up from here. Man mercilessly plunged into the manipulation treaty when he shamelessly equipped himself to exercise his superiority over woman accusing her to be the one who lured him to disobey the creator’s will – man ate the ‘wisdom fruit’ on his own accord but blamed the woman for his downfall though the woman just played the role of a catalyst. The devil on the other end kept on enjoying the fun as he designed the separation operation between God and humankind as well as the man and the woman. The blame game of man thus initiated making the woman to be at stake whom Simone de Beavour calls “The Second sex”. Paradoxically, the fact is, the woman was created by using the man’s ‘rib’ – it means that the woman came from the man having generically the same ‘flesh, blood, bones and veins’, originating from the same species ‘the homo sapiens’ ! So the present thought of discussion that “One is not born a woman, but becomes one” seems rather contemptuous and therefore a heresy in itself.


Womanhood is something attained by a woman rather than something innate. In this context Beavour’s claims is justified theoretically but pragmatically it is not free from any bias since she has depicted a woman’s image as a mere “passive, submissive, subjugated and dependent” being. This cannot be accepted universally. Today a woman’s life or status is no less than of a man as she, in every sphere, has proved herself to be equal, if not even better, an achiever or performer to a man.


There were situations when the woman had greater exposure to conditioning. She was told of the appetites of the men and the ways she should have behaved in front of them. She was compelled to obey a combination of rules and had her movements severely restricted. Even certain social classes protected their women by not letting them have an education in public schools with boys. The blessed ‘purdah system’ was a conventional creation of man’s gratification. However, the present scenario has drastically been changed and challenged as the human kind has realized the civilization as means of the driving force of present life. In other sense, the woman of this era has undergone changes that put her in a position where man just cannot determine her lifestyle. She is, hence, as free as a man, and as she dreams or wishes to be. And therefore, the notion of considering her to be a ‘becoming quo’ seeks relevant approval when Virginia Wolf’s argument for finding a space for developing a ‘room of one’s own’ may reveal an authentic uptrend.


There is no doubt that Beavour does appeal to all men, though indirectly, to be aware of the dialectic version of a master and a slave (Hegel’s Theory) situation in our society where she attempts to realize that man enforces her to be an absolute other, inessential whose entity entirely depends on the recognition granted by the men folks only !!! And in this passionate, awesomely erudite work, Beavour has examined the reasons that women have been forced to accept a place in the society which is secondary to men despite the fact that they are equally capable and constitute half the human race.


It is clear, the author of “The Second Sex” urges the contemporary woman to take her firm stance to preserve an effort to emancipate herself and not fall a prey to all sorts of patriarchal prejudices and bindings. Moreover, Roseanne Ban has rightly complimented that “the thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it” !!! Let, therefore, one be a woman as she is born, and as she lives, in accordance with her own wishes. The environment had, and will ever have, influence on one’s upbringing, as well as on well being, but one should hold the radar firmly to fulfill one’s dream. Let man learn to allow women to have their ways whereas let the women gather courage and grab means to reach their destiny free from man’s irrational dominance. Let the woman, as Gauri Lankesh would say, “learn to argue using words instead of threats”. Hail Women Emancipation ! Hail Womanhood !! Hail God’s finest creation – the Humankind !!!