Dominance and The Blue Pathway

Dominance. Subjugation. Oppression. These words are embedded in our society and our minds, consciously or subconsciously. The seeds of this phenomenon of domination are planted at a very early stage. Confirmation to our society might occur the second we are born, but the plantation of this social schema is confirmed before you are born.

Today, with modern technology, we have access to technology such as sonograms, which not only assure a baby is healthy but also help determine the gender. Before the baby is born, with the aid of ultrasound, we traditionally paint its room pink or blue.

Before I was born, my parents had transformed my plain, simple white room to a pink princess’ room.

Why pink?

Did I know what I was seeing when I was 1 day old? Do I remember how my room looked on day one of my journey on Earth, besides looking back on the ton-load of pictures in endless picture albums? Definitely not. Then why do we paint a pink pathway for girls and a blue pathway for boys?

In the modern age, the ultrasound is step one in deciding the fate of an unborn child.

In villages in India, on the determination of the sex of the fetus, decisions are made. If it is a boy, everyone rejoices and praises the father and everything is “just set” for the fetus.

In the book Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Blabbermouth mentions to Haroun,

“You think it’s easy for a girl to get a job? Don’t you know that girls have to fool people every day of their lives if they want to get anywhere? You probably had your whole life handed to you on a plate, probably got a mouth full of silver spoons, but some of us have to fight.”

Even though this is a fantasy novel, what it touches upon is very crucial and is a timeless theme. According to the PNDT Act passed by the Indian government and the anti-abortion sonogram law passed in USA, paediatricians are prohibited from revealing the gender of the fetus.

What right does one gender of the society have on dictating the fates of millions of fetuses?

What is so wrong about having a girl?

What’s even more surprising is that no matter what happens, in many societies men are praised for everything that goes right and the women are blamed for everything that goes wrong: According to biology, it has been proven that the determination of the gender of the baby is in the hands of the father, because the mother can pass on only her X chromosome because her genetic configuration is XX, unlike the father’s genetic configuration of XY. So, it is up to the father to pass on his Y chromosome (boy) or his X chromosome (girl).

What might seem an ethically subjective approach can be outweighed by the objectivity and common-sense of the issue. It’s not a slippery slope for me, because I am an Indian, raised by Indians, in India, yet I know that men dominate our society.

Both genders are aware of this issue; yet don’t do anything about it.

What pleasure do men get from dominating over women? In India we can rightfully say that men are sadists, who like to make the lives of women miserable to enjoy their shallow sad lives. What happened in Assam was both appalling and disappointing: a school girl was raped and harassed by a mob in complete public view and no one did anything to stop the menace.

The men took great pride in doing what they did as they believed they were subjugating the ‘modern’ woman and teaching everyone a cultural lesson: a ‘modern’ girl’s actions and choices are too harmful for our conservative Indian society.

What society are we living in, where raping someone to teach them a cultural lesson is acceptable? Little to no action was taken to punish these men. The most disappointing event of them all was that this news would have been hidden deep underneath the mud if we didn’t have YouTube, which made this event spread like fire across the entire world:

Connected to this was the action of the ‘culture police’ actions in Bangalore. A group of modern youths were having a private, quiet, decent party in a rented house and a group of ‘moral police’ raided their party and harassed both the men and the women. What right does one section of the society have to dictate what is right and harass another class of society? What happened to freedom of choice and freedom of expression? How can someone prove what is culturally right or wrong?

It seems as if the stronger population of a species will always have control over the weaker population. Or in other words, the majority of a population has the right to power to dominate over the minority. In the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, we saw how a white, conservative man thought that he had the right to subjugate and hence kill the minority of the population, the Sikhs.

What had the Sikhs done so wrong? Weren’t they peacefully praying on a Sunday morning? Sikhism of all religions with Buddhism is the most peaceful and free religion. Christians are a minority in Punjab, but do we see Sikhs shooting peaceful worshippers on a Sunday morning in the Church?

Is it only one section of the society dominating over the weaker section of the society?

Genetic modification proves that it does not necessarily have to be one section of the society, it can be one species dominating over the weaker species. In Xenotherapy, a pig is sacrificed to save a human life. Is a pig’s life not precious? Or is it that his dumbness makes us believe that we can command it’s life it for our benefit?

Isn’t this totalitarianism? When Hitler brutally murdered Jews in the Holocaust, the entire international society ran to the aid of the Jews. However, now we have the international society supporting genetic modification. The justification of dominating over the voiceless, powerless species is that it leads to human progress economically. Less land is used, more is produced. According to the preventionist theory and deductive reasoning this process is justified as beneficial. What about the ecological impact on society? And the economic concept of negative externality?  Aristotle said “Man is king of nature!” So does this justify the human species dominating over other species?

Why do we need to dominate? What happiness does domination give the dominator? Will this situation change in the future?

When discussing certain values that might change in the future, most social economics students list “caring” as the future value which will change. We can see this from the activities we have in our schools, such as Care Week installed at the school KIS.

In the future, our level of care and concern for others is touted to increase. However, will our care and concern increase only for humanity, or for everything in our biotic and abiotic environment? Maybe a small change in a small school like KIS can propagate into global change and global progress for all. Maybe, in the future, gender dominance and human dominance will change.

 

Submitted by: Sunakshi Wadhwa

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Gender issues, Multiculturalism

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4 Comments on “Dominance and The Blue Pathway”

  1. James Hill
    November 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m not sure what your over all point is here. In any complex society, a group of people will wind up leading that society and setting the norms for that group. I happen to believe in the tenets of a western democracy, which include freedom of association between the genders that would allow the sorts of parties the Bangalore morality police stamp out However, if I were to try and enforce that belief in Bangalore, I’d be accused of subjugating the Indian people by imposing my values upon them.

    The problem with moral relativism– which your piece indirectly advocates since all viewpoints are equally valid and no person has the right to “dominate” another with their views– is that it invalidates your own opinions. Why should anyone take your notion seriously when it’s equally as valid as totalitarianism? And make no mistake: totalitarianism is the end result of moral relativism. When all points are of equal intellectual merit, the viewpoint with the most “muscle” behind it wins out, for no other reason than the fact that it is the strongest.

    • Sunakshi Wadhwa
      November 14, 2012 at 2:09 am #

      Thanks for your comment. My essay does not talk about people leading in a society, but this essay ventures on how humans have the need to subjugate others, for various purposes. Your perception is misguided. You are right, the concept of ethnocentrism comes in,but at the end of the day, we are all humans and we all have rights. It is not right for one party to dominate over the other. Imagine yourself in the shoes of those bangalorites. We are a democratic nation after all, so everyone does have the freedom of expression. I wrote this piece as I worship freedom and I felt that as a citizen I had the right to comment on what was going on around me. I worship freedom of expression and this is why I wrote this piece. I did not mean to force the readers into believing my notion. I guess that tone just set in as I am a passionate advocate of freedom.

  2. Sunakshi Wadhwa
    November 14, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    Thanks for your comment. My essay does not talk about people leading in a society, but this essay ventures on how humans have the need to subjugate others, for various purposes. Your perception is misguided. You are right, the concept of ethnocentrism comes in,but at the end of the day, we are all humans and we all have rights. It is not right for one party to dominate over the other. Imagine yourself in the shoes of those bangalorites. We are a democratic nation after all, so everyone does have the freedom of expression. I wrote this piece as I worship freedom and I felt that as a citizen I had the right to comment on what was going on around me. I worship freedom of expression and this is why I wrote this piece. I did not mean to force the readers into believing my notion. I guess that tone just set in as I am a passionate advocate of freedom.

    • James Hill
      November 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      That’s the point I’m trying to make: merely railing against the notion of “subjugation” is a dead end. Your opponents see your freedoms as corruption and will fight tooth and nail to avoid being “subjugated” by the social changes you want to take place.

      The problem isn’t that communities have shared norms and moral standards and require others to adhere to them– that’s an unavoidable part of having a community. The problem lies in the norms and values that some societies choose to enforce.

      The idea that “we all have rights” or we are entitled to “freedom of expression” are not self evident and are themselves moral judgements that have to be enforced, sometimes at gunpoint. People have gone to war and killed over the notion that one person doesn’t have the right to enslave another. They’ve subjugated entire cities and states to enforce that norm. What would you be willing to do to protect freedom of expression?

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