For most of us, our mornings begin with a cup of steaming hot tea/coffee and a newspaper. And after we are done updating ourselves about the events across the globe, the newspaper is put aside and forgotten. As regular as the sun, the newspaper never lets us down but we on the contrary take it for granted. All we see is a bunch of papers scrawling with black and white print, what we do not see is the immense amount of work that goes into the making of a newspaper day after day unfailingly every day. I didn’t either until I was asked to make one. As a part of the print course of our mass communication degree syllabus, we (the students) are required to make a ‘lab journal’, which in essence is similar to a newspaper minus the timeline and the number of pages and supplements. We are put into groups and given four months’ time to accomplish this task. And of course aided no end by teachers and friends. Despite this, it was a mammoth task.
From deciding positions of responsibility, brainstorming for ideas, name and logo for the paper, deciding what to write, who to assign it to, where to place which article, reading and rereading each article umpteen times and being appalled at the quality of some of them, editing the articles, running around for quotations, fixing up appointments for interviews, learning to design the layout and spending countless hours at the printers, sadly cutting down on articles to make it all fit, dealing with the team’s lack of care or corporation and then to FINALLY watching the paper take shape, it is a roller coaster ride. Through all of this I’ve been happy, sad, proud, dreadfully tired, contented, frustrated, driven and at the end of it all empathetic and wise. The learning and experience I gained during the production of this lab journal was invaluable and made me wonder numerous times how the makers of our dailies function. The newspaper ceased to be mere black and white print; it is the excruciating hard work, sweat, toil, and genius functioning of a competent workforce.
Here is a slightly modified piece from the editorial that I authored and due credit must be given to everybody who provided inspiration for this article.
NOT A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS
We live in a society which prescribes women to stay home, worship her husband and nurture kids. We spend most of our lives pleasing other people and catering to their needs. Debatable but true. Statistics show that girls are able to participate and excel in classroom activities until the sixth grade and from then onwards boys excel because of the girls inhibitions towards drawing attention to herself. Girls are brought up in a manner which forces them to be self-conscious and always be cautious about how they are perceived by others in society.
Something as simple as going out for a walk all by myself after twilight is not permitted. Who hinders me? The entire society! As soon as I decide to step out, my mother/father/brother will want to know why I wish to leave the safe confines of my home and venture out in the dark. Even if I manage to get past them I cannot the hungry glares and the comments of the roadside romeos and then if I see a dark road ahead I will take a diversion into a brighter road because I fear for my virtue.
History has exhibited this time and time again. The basis of the entire Western civilization rests on the fault of a single woman- Eve, princess Diana had to prove that she was a virgin before she could be lawfully wedded to prince Charles (we understand if the it’s the matter of pregnancy where the question of an heir arises but why the need to prove virginity?) and women writers had to take up male pen names for their works to be published or taken seriously. The word author signifies authority meant for the men in a male dominated society. If Madam Curie, who discovered radium and is the only woman to have won two Nobel prizes in multiple science fields achieved so much despite having children, imagine how much more she could have achieved if she had completely immersed herself in her scientific work. The psychologist Sigmund Freud said, “Libido is central to human existence”. He did not specify male or female existence then why does society differentiate? Why were women forced to wear ‘chastity belts’ during the middle ages?
What we face is not indifference but active hostility. Indifference can be overcome or ignored but hostility? What is even worse is the fact that it is put to us so subtly that it is almost impossible to rebel against; the rules of patriarchy have been around so long that we have gotten used to it. Even now a victimised woman is blamed as the provocation agent, most Indian movies only feature the women as arm candy, scantily clad women continue to be in the background of most music videos for no meaningful purpose and if a girl is caught involved in a romantic relationship she is almost immediately married off. Unfortunately these are every day scenarios. The path ahead seems dark and dreary but it is high time we took the matters into our own fair hands and dealt strongly with the consequences.