Answer to IHM’s question

How would you answer the question

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is perversion. Is a woman forever stuck between her desires and the moral healthiness or progress of a society?

I got this question in my mail from the one and only IHM. She has the knack of pushing all the combative buttons in my feminist psyche.

Deep deep breath, as I remind myself, I am not a feminist, I like men and love my two sons to bits.

See, this is the inherent problem here. If you protest against injustice and the skewed gender equality you are labeled a feminist/a lesbian/a dyke, a man hater and what not. If you don’t, you end up harming your own sense of self respect.

So what does one do?

Does one pick up a board like Shah Rukh Khan and march to meet the President and announce “I am a woman and I am not a terrorist erm feminist!”, eh?

And sadly our President is a woman ….

and young girls get shot by stalkers in broad daylight

6 year olds get raped and beaten up

The Delhi Chief Minister (again a woman) thinks citizens should police the capital while police men sit in the thanas and draw their salaries without doing anything. Shucks! O tempora, O mores ….

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I completely agree.

Perversion is in the mind of sick people, not in the eye.

A woman is a human being, first and foremost and she has the right to have desires and to fulfil them. Even if the desire is for a pair of stilettos, or a drink with friends in a pub. And yes, I long for the day when a woman can kiss her lover in public and not be labeled a slut. These are simple human desires. Not unnatural or kinky. They don’t harm any one.

Sadly the truth is that women do not even have the right to enjoy a portion of the money they earn and bring to the family coffer. If they do, they are made to feel guilty. I have seen homes where a woman who takes a nap in the afternoon or sleeps before the family goes to bed is labeled lazy. That is after she has catered to the family the whole damn day apart from working in an office.

A woman is not a piece of toilet paper to be employed to clean up shit. Neither is she single-handedly responsible for the moral healthiness of the society. She is responsible equally as a man.

Why does she have to be held responsible alone?

And does her wearing jeans, smoking and drinking, even wearing a sleeveless top or showing her cleavage harm any one? Is she shooting people? Raping people?

Women do not hold up the progress of the society any more than a man does. She alone can not make the society progress either.

Why do we put such burdens on one sex and leave the other to walk free?

Now a question from me …

Are we implicitly admitting that MAN is the WEAKER sex? Is that why women are to bear the burden of keeping society healthy, making it progress?

O C’mon men are strong, they are responsible. The men I have had the privilege to meet, interact with, love and nurture are good human beings. They are caring, they help out and they fulfill their part of the gender equation.

I think if our society has sickos like the stalker who is much in news these days, the society should treat the person like an aberration and not do men and women a disservice by stating directly or indirectly that women should be responsible for all that is good in the society and reduce ALL men to being the dregs of the society.

P.S. This is my blog, my personal property. People who are trying to muzzle blogs and citizen voice can go take a hike. Any one who can operate a computer and go on the net exercises his/her freedom to read and visit any blog. If I hurt anyone’s sensibility, the person can chose not to visit my blog. Of course I annoy people, I even disparage things I don’t like, my attitude may inconvenience people, they may accuse me of blaspheming against prevalent social norms. Grow up Government, every one does all the above from time to time. it is the human condition.

59 thoughts on “Answer to IHM’s question

  1. Loved this blasphemous post!!! It might inconvenience some street sexual harassers though after the way you disparaged them they are sure to be annoyed.

    “…and not do men and women a disservice by stating directly or indirectly that women should be responsible for all that is good in the society and reduce ALL men to being the dregs of the society.” Strongly agree.

  2. I did not understand this sentence of yours
    “I am not a feminist, I like men and love my two sons to bits.”

    Are feminists supposed to hate men and not love their sons??
    Let me get back to reading the rest. 🙂

      • This is exactly why I don’t call myself a feminist. To me, being a feminist only means standing up for a woman’s rights (against anybody who is oppressive – it could be a husband, sibling, parent or the much dreaded MIL!).
        Sadly though, over the years, feminism has come to mean ‘male bashing’! And that is so not right!!

      • @writerzblock,
        Feminsits are men haters and talk about only women’s rights is the biggest myth of lasy few centuries and you are adding to it by not challenging it.
        It was the feminists in 1910 who protested against war and oppressive labor conditions, that brought about labor reforms by introducing regulated work hours, day offs and safe working conditions for all children and men included not just women.

        It was feminist women who went protesting for protecting the forests be it in Chipko or in the Tarai because they knew destruction of forests will destroy families and livelihood for all not just women.

        It was feminist women who lead the anti arrack movement in Andhra because they could no longer stand and watch their husbands and sons dying of alcohol poisoning or if survived beating their women folk into pulp.

        It was feminist women who marched in the streets to protest Phokharan nuclear blasts because it destroyed ecology in the already arid zone. It was not just for the rights or protection of women.

        Anti women lobbies work over time to discredit women’s struggle and women’s claim to humanity by demonizing them as women centric and numerous women by into it. That is indeed the sad part…

        Feminists struglle against patriarchy not men. Patriarchy as a system oppresses even men who do not fall into the dictats of patriarchy. Collectively men may have more privileges than women but individually they too suffer at the hands of patriarchy.Like wise few individual women may gain in patriarchy but collectively they are oppressed. One Indira Nooyi can not represent all women likewise one oppressed man cannot represent all men who reap the benefits of patriarchy.
        Please be informed.
        Desi Girl

      • Hi Desi Girl,

        I normally call myself a humanist, a person who advocates gender equality. That way I manage to get my message across. If I call myself a feminist, I have noticed that I encounter a mental block. This is an inconvenient but unavoidable truth.

      • ‘People think.’ But the meaning of feminist hasn’t changed yet, isn’t it like some other words in english whose meanings have changed?? Just making sure.

      • The meaning may or may not have changed …. but just declare that you are a feminist and certain people think you are a male bashing, bra burning lesbian (to put it mildly)

      • And i thought that being a feminist meant that one advocated equal rights for females. hating men only comes in if they deny you your rights..

  3. Standing ovation for the post. I have always wondered aloud too if we
    ‘are implicitly admitting that MAN is the WEAKER sex? Is that why women are to bear the burden of keeping society healthy, making it progress?’
    This is THE question that should be answered by all who think everything rests on the shoulders of women.

    Loved the last bit too. I was writing much the same in a comment to a friend at FB. Disparage, annoy, inconvenience, blasphemy… The next thing we know we will be asked to not open our mouths and converse!

    • I know. Agreed we are strong, but then so are men. Why keep them out of it?

      The bill against blogger’s freedom is ridiculous! I wonder which department in the Government drafted it!

      • Oh I don’t mean we are stronger or something. Just that the way things stand, it appears everyone thinks so. And of course we should give men their chance to prove their dedication to society too.

  4. Hi Ritu.. i do not consider myself as feminist.I feel sad and sick in stomach when i think that our actions/ thoughts/ reasons differ based on the sex of the person. But i do feel that so called Indian culture is used as a lame excuse for deciding what women should do and should not do.
    my granny used to say zyada padhai kar lee hai dimaag sir pe chad gaya hai, i really dont want my brains in my knees. & i really would want to use my brain rather than following people around & i am happy its at the right place :D.
    i do feel this is an unsafe place for women, simply because we are told to ignore, its a sorry state of affairs as i have seen Delhi Policemen eyeing on girls( trust me the perversion shows in the eyes as well). worst is we are taught to IGNORE. I will hit a man at the right place and will ask him to ignore!!! lets see how easy that is..

    Recently there was an advertisement in tOI by Delhi govt for safety of women. it said- DO NOT GO FOR SHOPPING ALONE, ALWAYS TELL YOUR FAMILY/ SPOUSE WHERE YOU ARE GOING, DO NOT GO IN BASEMENT, DO NOT WORK LATE. i really did not know how to react at this. Does this stop me for doing what i want to do .. absolutely not. but i am sure some people would be affected by this. How many girls today talk to their parents and discuss the issues/ harassment they are facing. Instead of moving their asses these babus/ police is asking them to change their lifestyle.

    • The police is abdicating its responsibility. The politicians already did that long time back. So a bunch of sickos are taking advantage of this, just because they feel they can get away with it.

  5. Oh new blog look and all! Awesome, Ritu.
    Now coming to your post….to me, you hit the nail on the head with this sentence: ‘they are made to feel guilty.’ That is the crux of how our society operates. Whatever happens or one does, the woman is made to feel guilty. If she wants to surf the net instead of massaging her in-law’s legs, she is wayward girl. If she wants to wear spaghetti straps and shorts, she is of loose character. If she has a boyfriend, she is probably a prostitute, and nobody is going to marry her. And guess what? If she drinks her morning chai without first offering a cup to her husband, gosh,she is so arrogant!!!
    I don’t understand why women have to be scrutinised so deeply! And as I have often said earlier, the scrutiny is not done only by men, but more often than not, by the other women in the family. We simply have to change our mindset!!

    And coming to your question: Is man the weaker sex? Of course not! He can work like a donkey all year long, but hey, just don’t let him catch a common cold ok? Now THAT will bring the roof down 🙂

    • @Writerzblock:
      And coming to your question: Is man the weaker sex? Of course not! He can work like a donkey all year long, but hey, just don’t let him catch a common cold ok? Now THAT will bring the roof down
      I cannot agree any less with you here. 🙂

      @Ritu: I think it is the game men play to ‘feel’ stronger, to make the women guilty and responsible for something going wrong. If only, they channelise the energies in the right direction. I consider myself a non-man-hating-feminist, considering that I have a husband and son who seem to be sane, well-fed and laugh occassionally and seem to be enjoying my company too. I better stop it here, otherwise it will become a blog post here itself.
      The thoughts conveyed couldnt be written better.

      • Meenakshy the game men play … well they are human enough to resent any attempt to wrest away their easy leisurely ride through life. Otherwise … they would have to get up and slog LOL

        However once they know the ride is over, they do get down to sharing equally in the chores etc

    • Writerzblock, I agree about the guilt bit … but its nothing that a bit of self love and self confidence does not cure. Men do make the lousiest patients don’t they? 😀 😛

  6. Awesome post Ritu..I loved the sentence ‘are implicitly admitting that MAN is the WEAKER sex? Is that why women are to bear the burden of keeping society healthy, making it progress?’ and I agree when you say that being feminist is often equated to being a man hater..what nonsense! and I loved the last para…. 🙂

  7. A feminist by definition is someone who believes in the equality of the sexes. Someone who subscribes to the different but equal status. However, this has become a dirt word today because feminists are widely seen as man-haters and home-breakers with no nurture in them. This is why many women who subscribe to the essence of women and men being equal though different, distance themselves from the feminist movement. Now no one is ashamed of saying “I am tolerant” though that involves a certain amount of racist-bashing. Racism is widely seen as unacceptable but chauvinism is not. Feminism still has to get that sort of legitimacy that racial tolerance has. Sadly, a majority of men is our society do put the burden of running a proper society on women’s shoulders. A woman can make or break the home. A woman can split or unite the family. We all should stop thinking in cliches.

    • What we are fighting against is a mind set … and it changes, but the change is slow and hardly ever is it visible. One day perhaps, we shall look back and see that we have covered a lot of ground. But that is some time in the future

  8. Wonderful. Wonderful post. You, along with IHM, Careless and Shilpadesh are people who I would love to shake hands with/salute. I love the clarity and lucidity of your thoughts, your humour and your refusal to let indian society crush your fiesty spirit. I speak as someone who has more or less given up on Indian society and those of its member who possess an XY combination. I have begun to feel that its impossbile to fight against social systems and belief systems that are thousands of years old, that are bolstered by the Scriptures, and by economics, politics and cutlure. I look at women on the street these days, the ones who work 12 hour-days in factories, homes and offices and who return home only to start all over again. Many of these women return home to abusive, exploitative husbands and in-laws, but they still keep at it anyways. Then I look at the stray dogs who lie by the side of the road, soaking up the sun. And I often wonder, who has it better?

    • Preeti, we are the “indian society”. In fact we are its privileged members – we have education and we have the power to think. Many of us have our own financial abilities too (that gives a lot of confidence). The in-laws and husbands and sons are our people and we love them. We can’t give up on them. We are evolving and we have to take them along with us, even if they react, get uncooperative or do not understand. That is the truth.

  9. Lovely!
    Everytime I support anything on women’s cause people look at me and say arre she is a feminist almost equivalent to “arre she slept with her neighbour!” and mind you these are women. Am a feminist but I love the men in my life. My dad, the husband these are men who respect and support my views. So am not really a man-hater.
    Infact, this feminist thing has come to a level, when I say, I hate cooking, people say, its okay you are feminist. Aree bhai, how did feminism get connected to cooking, if it were then men who hate cooking come in the category do they?
    Uff, people and their myopic vision is so pissing offf!

    • That is exactly it. People, more often than not, its women – they make other women feel guilty for having the gumption to speak out against injustice against their own sex. I wonder why.

  10. First of all , a standing ovation !!!

    I loved this aggressive objection to the ogling , to the stalking and to the skewed minds … and as you have already answered to some of the comments , i feel the problems of women are more aggravated by those women who are so conditioned into thinking that women should be the servers of the ‘man’kind , bearers of the parampara and nurturers of the whole universe ( the brains should be in their knees and not in the head as Purba said ) .. only the fertile womb should be the identity of a woman , her body a utility…
    The energies of the feminist ‘intentions’ should be directed to those mindsets and not to a gender and in our country it needs a different course of action may be…. gender bias is enforced more by women and whenever oppressed women have got up and asserted their rights , they have achieved it.
    Difficulty levels have been there , so the time taken to achieve the goal may differ with every case.
    I would call myself a human rightist whose ‘intentions’ are feminist if and when it is needed .

    I was told about a man ( i see him as the most effective practicing feminist) who migrated from his native village to save his daughters form the ‘girl child killing parampara ‘ , he raised his daughter with pride and educated them . The man chose a difficult life ( with all the sarcastic comments from his own society added with general difficulty of raising girls in our country , the fear of safety n all) , and his act was not for the benevolence of the daughters , this was for his own principles ….. the most beautiful thing in his act….women do not need benevolence ….. a principled society is all that is needed, a few people with human values around will make a lot of difference.

    • See, that is it. My father was one of them – the man who wanted to push me far beyond my comfort zone. He said he saw “potential” in me – never elaborated on it though. He ensured that I got educated, and then when I wanted an easy and cushy job, he kicked me in my lazy butt. I owe a lot to him.

      • The point is …how do you assert the right kind of human values in the minds of those women whose minds are skewed . That is the bigger hurdle i believe. If a mother thinks the daughter should behave in a certain manner , how ‘the mother’ should be ‘educated’ ….. an educated thinking woman’s idea of feminism is quite different with a ‘society conditioned’ woman’s idea of feminism….do you agree ? And do you think the anomaly needs to be addressed ?
        You can come up with an answer and make the people understand …. with your bang on writing.

      • pl. ignore the typo… an educated thinking woman’s idea of feminism is quite different from ( and not ‘with’) a ‘society conditioned’ woman’s idea of feminism

  11. Completely agree.

    First and foremost a woman is a human being. If any man is allowed to do something, so should a woman. And no society can discriminate once they agree to a man doing any deed.

  12. Pingback: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is perversion. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  13. Pingback: Perversion lies in the mind of the pervert. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  14. Awesome post, ritu!
    I like to call myself a humanist.. gender inequality is just one of the inequalities that the human race is afflicted with. I do agree with “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is perversion”, but then I wonder, the way we see ourself, also depends on our “eye”. Then why do we (and the society in general) focus on the outward beauty so much?! Why so much emphasis on whether we wear western clothes or how revealing the clothes are..because if beauty truly lies in the the eye of the beholder, and if I am the beholder seeing myself, then I would find myself beautiful irrespective of the types of clothes, or whether I drink or not.

  15. I LOOOOOOOVEEE this post 😀

    And feminists are not male haters….I have given up explaining it to everyone….that is one reason I have often had to stick the tag of ‘liberal’ feminist to myself as it is some ‘fake’ feminists themselves who have spoiled the term.

    And yes if male are free to do anything….why not women…….we r humans after all

    And those perverts needs to be castrated …..then they will know

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