Surely, if dozens of centuries and just as many waves of women’s movements haven’t convinced you why we need feminism, I am bound to hope that a stroke of magic does the trick to make people see the light. My pleas were answered – a video of Hudson Taylor, an American performer who infuses magic in a deck of cards to explain to us why he adopted feminism and we should too, has been doing the rounds recently. And its pure genius is making me an even more ardent believer in the cause!
He earnestly starts narrating a story, while constantly shuffling his pack of cards. He begins with happy memories of him as a child, when he was first introduced to magic, at eight years old. As he utters the words, he magically pulls out an eight from the deck. He shares how he learned magic from his grandfather, “The King of Magic,” and sure enough – he produces a King from the stack. But throughout, his face wore a shadow of sadness and despair.
“Something had started to bother me. In all the books that I had read, and all the magicians that I looked up to, there were virtually no women in magic,” he states. “Although I had two sisters (a two of spades is brandished before he even finishes his sentence), they were never given magic tricks of their own. They were often times treated as my assistants, or sort of looked to, as props in to accompany my magic.”
“I learned that this isn’t a problem that existed only in magic; but in all sectors of society.” Right he was. By pulling out the cards bearing the exact numbers corresponding to the statistics he presented, he explains the gender-gap that existed in America in various social, economical and political fields. On social media – men are re-tweeted twice as often as women. A two and a queen pop out of the deck to illustrate that. Women earn 77 cents to the male dollar; and black women, 64. Women-owned businesses employ 35 per cent more than all the Fortune 500 companies combined, yet, only 4 out of every 10 global companies have women in senior management. 99 percent women have experienced street harassment, and 1 out of every six women has been a victim of attempted rape.
While these are statistics pertaining to America, closer home, the gaps only widen. Women are relentlessly trolled on social media, and even harassed with utterly personal attacks for being outspoken. The financing gap for women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) businesses in India is about Rs.6.37 lakh crore ($116 billion) or 73 per cent of their total demand, according to a study by World Bank Group member IFC. There are an estimated 3 million women-owned enterprises across industries, representing only about 10 per cent of all MSMEs in India. Men are thrice as likely as women to get promoted to senior roles in Indian companies.
“How can fathers, sons, husbands, and brothers – a flurry of a King and Jacks follows – not be doing more?” he questions us. “At what point does complacency become complicity?” A lone King remains in his hand at this point that represents all the men who must join the movement. “How can I take masculinity, break it down for all its errors, and restore it, for all its virtues, for the better?” he says, tearing the card into half, and magically patching it together, signalling that there is scope and hope to change.
This did the trick for me. Does it for you?