Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What really is this feminism we're all screaming from the top of buildings about?

I've denied being a feminist. To friends, strangers, lovers, et all. 

But through my own journey I've begun to question, think, map what might have given rise or even brought about the thoughts on the matter for people who declare or credit them selves as 'feminists'.. But that perspective needs a much more deeper understanding.

Let me begin to first explain how difficult and at times how convenient it is to dodge any responsibility. I can be rebellious and fight for equality in this 'mans world', forever more misunderstood than ever appreciated or i can simply choose to be submissive and leave it to others to be taken care of.

I'm not allowed to be rude or aggressive or hold my stand on issues and viewpoints and more often than not its taken for granted that i will eventually give up. 

That weakness is in built. 

That strength is a connotation of only physical endurance in opposition to being to my better understanding - empathetic, unbiased, understanding, vigilant, sensitive and forgiving nature which in a mans world are often traits marked by or connoted to great leaders.

I'm expected to know how to cook, clean, take care of the house, willing to bear children, maintain friendly relations and balance family dynamics before i express my needs and dreams as an individual in this world.

My persistence is usually labeled as a tantrum and my behavior classified as incompetent and unacceptable by people. I'm labelled psychotic, crazy, demented, slut and easy by those who refuse to peer deeper into my ambitions, what i want to stand for and values from the safety of their own environment and values they have been brought up with.

I have to battle being declared the 'weaker sex', eve teased, passed comments at, shown the glass ceiling at work, shown my place at home and even by those i chose to open up out of love...shown my place eventually if not gradually.

First appearances, looks, poise, manners even vocal pitch are put way before my achievements and personal strengths, character traits and individuality. Heck i should mention i have hooted right back on two occasions and once caught a guy by his collar for passing comments and making kissing noises at me. Only i can say how terrified i was inside to have tried something of that sorts in India and alone - where the onlookers do nothing more that stare back or look through depending on convenience.  

I admit, I've even told my should have been husbands mother once of his misconduct and been severely shot down for doing so. A woman cant even confide in another woman without her taking personal offense. Shouldn't she have simply scolded her son and empathized? I am not incompetent, I wouldn't dare ever question anyone's rearing abilities, but couldn't it have been considered that what the said boy was doing was so wrong that it drove me to complaint or reach out? Rather let me also tell you the outcome, i was accused for being disgraceful and burning the bridges. Even when i take into account that initial rage to my complaint might have caused a stir but a mother understands eventually, which also i assume is true. Or so i would like to believe. 

Human values do go for a toss really, i mean - would an 'ill-wisher' muster the courage to retaliate? 

Our actions are forever seen in different light. If i flirt easily or mix well with a large crowd I'm automatically declared 'border-line loose charactered' and then gossiped about or kept a keen eye on for any chances to reinforce the title with mistakes or events or instances. A boy or man in my position on the other hand might be called jovial or outgoing. If i pursue a love interest relentlessly i am called materialistic or greedy or delusional or crazy. If a boy does the same he always deserves a chance, because he is always suppose to be seen as going out of his way? 

No one takes into account that woman first focus on the smaller things, gestures, small adjustments, ritual's. We're far more practical even when romantically involved, somewhere adjusting and keeping our wishes second. But when and if a situation so arrises when we need support and it takes time to normalize   things, men are allowed to move on, give up, blame us for it all, not taking into account the smaller acts of love or kindness. 

Heck i say, if all the woman in the world took a week of from their PR jobs, the world would go to war. Social dynamics, eye for details, emotional intelligence are clearly not one of mans best virtues. 

And who says woman gossip the most? At least we do it in positive light or even just to close set of friend we would trust with our lives. We don't give away more intimate details till of course its something hilarious or something we don't have answers to. 

But men? Having experienced first hand, men will share everything from love life, money spent, sex life, even to the extend of showcasing how far a woman is ready to go, or fall or sacrifice without really understanding the underlying message - she's in love. She trusts you, ready to believe in you, she might have had a late realization even about how much. 

Of course that's unlike men, if they make mistakes they must be forgive immediately. Or a verdict must be passed with due consideration. When we make mistakes? The verdict and titles come immediately. (Ok, or maybe on the last 3 parra's I'm an Indian. And a mildly conservative one, but very sensitive to words and gestures and follow up actions.) 

I am a 'daughter' before i am an actress. A 'mother' before i am a CEO. And these titles don't just implicate the celebration of what i have simultaneously achieved, rather they have every now and then been used to show me my final position and role in society.

I have no personal choice when it comes to loving someone, be it our ethical tradition of arrange marriages where men chose their wives, or modern day love stories where the men feel so utterly flattered about being perused-ed that they will find all sort of ways and means to talk dirty about you, bring you up in conversation, keep you away, show anger, disgusts in acknowledged that its unacceptable. Alas, if i stand for a person i love and i'm shot down, how do i stand for things i love and still be accepted...?

If things go right in a marriage or relationships its his achievement, if something goes wrong its her fault. If a woman cries its a mood swing or drama, even manipulation! But if a man sheds tears its because he's been deeply hurt, done wrong to or been cut deep to his soul. If he did something wrong he was confused, if a woman did something wrong it was 'planned'. 

I am strong, i refuse to hurt myself to prove a point. To inflict self injury or pain. I refuse to sulk in sadness. Because i believe its not why someone fell in love with me, its not the woman who later in life would be able to bear the brunts of life along side her man, over bigger issues in life if she fails now. But more often than not - its easier to classify us as fast, heartless, emotionless than appreciate how we chose to project our internal struggles. 

Human values go for a toss when gauging our spirit in more humanitarian terms over issues closer to home. A mans feelings and efforts are kept way above a woman's. A taste of our struggles and feelings can send them running for the hills. Even when we constantly fight for equal rights for all, better living standards for all, equal treatment for all, in sense of greater issues and masses. This mindset starts at home, nurtured in everyday relationships, and far before they become dirty words and cause political up stir in a country. 

A minister might beat his wife everynight, or a boss sexually harass his secretary in the confined space of his office, a ex boyfriend might be relentless, even bringing down his entire wrath on to his ex-girl friend while proving an entirely different point or trying to project his greatness to his current love interest or larger audience. All becuase he moved on? And what a great struggle that must have been? (personally men who say things like 'my ex was psychotic, how much have they grown over years? Who is fueling their chuvanistic outlook? Its us, us woman, men and society at a much more basic level.) 

I am a woman, over history i have been labeled the cause of all problems somehow, somewhere, in someway or the other. We've made greater leaders, raised worriers, supported the ambitions of husbands and lovers, been the all knowing, all bearing wives of presidents, extra working hands on field's of landless farmers, supported entire famille in the absence of husbands serving in the military for decades at war. Silently, responsibly, but its overlooked. 

Acknowledgement often comes in much more shallow forms 'celebrating womanhood' through beauty pageants, ribbon cutting ceremonies, involvement with smaller matters of state, sidelined to the stands or magazine covers or used as hangers even.

What really is our stand? Where exactly do we stand? Where do we draw the line? 

No comments:

Post a Comment