Idol worship and ideal worship are somewhat analogous. Both involve an irrational desire for something that doesn’t exist and something that is a figment of imagination turned into a deep-rooted socio-cultural belief and construction.
Idol worship is still not as pernicious because it is only a metaphor, a symbol after all. But the ‘ideal’, a dangerous myth has inexorably hegemonized the human societies, creating a false consciousness of perfection, camouflaging the underlying dirt . The longing for the ideal is violent, oppressive and stifling, and in the context of gender, the imposition of idealism has created a toxic womanhood under which women grapple to meet the benchmark of excellence that is predicated upon sustaining the subservient position of the “second sex” ascribed to them.
It is indispensable to attack the idealism of the ideal, to demolish the utopia and embrace the ‘imperfections.’ While the pan-Indian, traditional “sanskari” image of an ideal woman is visibly sexist, misogynistic and patriarchal, the modern, westernized and ‘cosmopolitan’ femininity too is not spared from the patriarchal dominance. There is a culture of shame associated with body hair and fat in the mainstream cinema and fashion industries. The stigma around the expression of sexuality and nonchalant swearing by a woman (Mallika Dua) and the levels of cyber abuse and hatred in the form of masculinism that it instigates, are indicative of the insecurities of fragile masculinity over a woman trespassing the ‘masculine’ space and shaking the gender binary.
I strongly feel that we need more people who destabilize the gender binary and norms, trouble gender and bring an anarchy to the oppressive ‘ideal’ system.