Monday, July 23, 2007

A victory for Indian women?

Figurehead position or not, congratulations are in order for Pratibha Patil, the new president of India. Patil is India's first woman president (though the subconty is not unfamiliar with women leaders, such as Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi).

(And, of course, obligatory mention of how ironic it is that India is by and large perceived [in the U.S.] as oppressive to women, while we Americans struggle to wrap our heads around the potential election of Hilz and default to either calling her a bitch or a lesbian.)


LeftyProf said...

I agree, of course, about the hypocrisy in the West and all that. Think about how Islam, for instance, is presented as uniquely sexist, while the West's history of oppression is conveniently forgotten.

That said, can we call this a victory for Indian women? I'm not so sure. Think about Indira Gandhi's rule, for instance--how did it benefit ordinary women in India?

Similarly, I don't think that Hillary Clinton represents the interests of ordinary women in the U.S.

"There you go, bringing class into it again...!"

Zoey said...

Yeah, I'd call this more a "victory" for Patil, insofar as attaining high public office is a victory in any sense. But sometimes I get pragmatic, and think that anything that forces women into the public eye, anything that makes people (rich, poor, or otherwise) reconsider their views of gender and power, is a victory. Will this make any difference to the life of toddy farmer in Thiruvananthapuram? Probably not, but in certain circles, it has prompted discussion (and hey, even if it's a discussion about how Sonia Gandhi's playing politics, about the problems of a coalition and how that relates to how "candidates" are positioned, I'll take it).

LeftyProf said...

Sure, I can see that....