BY Harsimran Kaur ON Oct 06 , 2022 IN BOOK REVIEW, SISTERHOOD ECONOMY OF, BY, FOR WO(MEN)BY SHAILI CHOPRA/NON FICTION
I, the woman, belong to a world
Where the patriarchal sacrum holds me tight
Crushes me of my spirit and determination,
I talk to myself
If the woman I am made to be
Is the woman I am?
The heart and the mind are eclipsed
By the male panjandrum
The scrutiny, the scrounging and the scurrility,
Time has come
I implore with a clarion call,
Subservience is no more my sheath
Connubial congestion is not my sheltering carapace
Reproductive bliss is not an emotional emulsification.
The creator created a man and a woman
To be an equal partaker
Not one given carte blanche of insipid discretions
And the other to befall in drudgery
Isn’t all this a true legacy for women; rich or poor, educated or illiterate, liberal or conservative, domesticated or working—the patriarchal condescension leaves us not. How hard we try, our entire life is sequenced by the paterfamilias of Father, Husband and then the Son; though the longevity of one denies the other to bridle the dynastic loop but the invidious noose around a woman’s neck is a subjective reality.
The brotherhood of men is a corrigendum which requires a cornucopia of sisterhood to end the patriarchal chicanery. Patriarchy is a mindset, which for centuries, with its puritanical rigidity has shredded women into flakes bereft of a distinct structural identity.
Shaili Chopra in her new book ‘Sisterhood Economy’ talks about the identity crisis women face. A woman is toxically bound to a reproductive cage incandescently ripping her off the ideological convictions that she succinctly weaves. Now the same threads stands loose for there is no time to give them shape and dexterity—education seems like a filler to pass on the years till matrimony holds the reign of life or the inflated ambitions form a stubble that would eventually burn to finally ingratiate the cultural prejudices connecting women to a walking womb. Shaili takes a candid and ‘fit into heels’ approach that has reduced women to a sacrificial goat.
The book is a woman’s clarion call to let not the sediments of dust sway in the direction where patriarchal dystopia gathers the particles in the palm to be churned and minced for pleasure. Our society has schismatic provisions for anything relating to women. Their wandering to fetch for their dreams is termed as ignominious and is desperately fitted into an insouciant deferring daub for leaving her kids with a nanny. Faking of orgasm to please her husband—a surreptious modesty she is proud of even if she if robbed off her own pleasure; cornering her emotions as a damp squib fallacy. Matters worse than this are the mandatory domesticity and the surrounding polemic of unpaid labor disparagingly handled by feminist and women NGO’s.
Shaili is articulate and witty, helping women voice their opinions—her dilemma reflects her sensitivity to problems women face. For the book, she travelled extensively to know women of different age groups bearing the colossal burden of womanhood. Her approach is roasted flat bread with no room for a plateau of pity or a mountain of masochism. She validates the progress of women in building an economy not only defined by ‘GDP’ but corroborated by the emotional and intellectual belonging. In our society, the capabilities of women have become a stiffened neck which must be fixed to give credibility they deserve and finally would be a contemporaneous de-facto in pushing up the economy blades.
The book is formidable journey of women who rose from the slumber to make a mark for themselves—ordinary women with extraordinary spirit—launching their own small scale business to unrecognized labor of beauty parlor economics. The acrimony of ‘mothers’ and ‘mother-in-laws’ to perfect their ‘daughters’ and ‘daughter-in-laws’ too acts as sharp edged knife bleeding them off their pertinent desires.
Let’s not label them as ‘marriage-material’ or put them in a reproductive cage. Scathing of ‘divorce’ and ‘single woman’ is a demonic attitude of the ‘cultural propagandist’ – notoriety that has blemished women a ‘money suckers.’
The value of women is not assessed through paid or unpaid labor or by the sacrificial spirit of domesticity but by treating her as a human who too has needs, is ambitious and can be opinionated.
The book is inspiring and thought-provoking. The author does not deem to influence mind-sets but makes an earnest attempt to create discipline where women of different strata can hold each other to make a difference. She wants to inform what makes a woman a disheveled entity and feel the stoicism and atrocities that keep them at the ripper’s edge.
Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople.TV, brings together conversations with women and their respective minds of how they wish to live and breathe.