Hypocrisy

Look at the clock – it’s almost nine!
What were you thinking staying out till this time?
What are you wearing?
Where had you gone?
And why are you so late?
Your skirt is too short –
cover up your legs!
I’m sure you’ve attracted all the wrong sorts of attention
People on the streets
lurking late at night
Don’t trust the cabbie
Don’t talk to strangers
Pull up your top-
Your cleavage shows!
Don’t buy tight tops
or tight jeans
tight clothes
tight tight – your body shows
And all the men will look at you
and they might come to rape you
But ofcourse
they won’t rape you or even look at you
If the shape of your body is all covered up
Because then they won’t know
You have what they want.
Live in fear.
Every time you step out, or talk to someone
Have that fear.
Home is where you are safest.
Because home is where you can trust.
Because we, elders, know it all.
Always listen to us,
Because we know
how the world works
We are always right because we are older
You do not know
the things that happen nowadays
You are young
and therefore unwise, foolish even.

– Oh, but what if I told you
I knew?
What if I told you
I knew that the devil
does not wear his name on his sleeve
He hides behind the mask of a trusted face
What if I told you
I have faced what you tell me to fear?
And I have known that fear
perhaps better than you?
And what if I told you that
sometimes strangers are not strange
but familiar
That home is not always
where I am safest
And that trust is a thing
so broken, battered, abused
it is on-existent almost?
But there are things I don’t know
for instance –
How can you look me in the eye,
flawed as you are,
wrongs that you have done,
lies that you’ve covered,
secrets that you’ve kept,
and judge ME
in a way that you would never dare judge yourself?
How do you pretend?
How do you live?
But I guess loyalty and courage
integrity and honesty
mean little in the “adult” world
where putting up a facade
of piety and purity
while practising all that you preach against
Is the only twisted truth there is.

And I will strive everyday of my life
as the years go by and I am myself an ‘elder’
to never, never, never become a hypocrite
Like you.

Post script: This is more like a stream of consciousness kind of thing, more than a proper poem. I don’t really write too much poetry. If the poem sounds bitter – it is.

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To all the Good Guys.

This is a letter.

To all the Good Guys,

Hi. ūüėÄ I hope you’re having a great day! I had a pretty okay day – and¬†there’s something that happened today that really got me thinking about you all. The Good Guys.

So I was out this morning, doing some quick shopping, and I was alone. Also, today was a festival day (Ganesh pooja) and so the streets were pretty empty – deserted almost. I had finished all my shopping, and I was standing by the side of the road, trying to flag down an auto to get back home when I noticed a white SUV stop a little ahead of me. I didn’t pay much attention to it.

That’s when the SUV started driving beside me, slowly, and then stopped right next to me. The driver was a man who was – well, I don’t know, in his forties? But definitely not younger. He had heard me quarelling with the one auto that was around there because I refused to¬†pay double the price to go¬†home. He was smiling at me, and then he said,” I’m going there too, I’ll drop you, get in.” I was pretty taken aback. I didn’t even know this guy at all, he was a total stranger. And I don’t know how it is in any other part of the world, but stuff like this isn’t really common¬†in Bangalore. It isn’t safe at all, in fact. I obviously refused his offer. Once, twice, three times. But he still persisted, saying it was completely alright, he was going the same way, he could drop me. Then he¬†leaned over and opened the door of the car. “It’s really alright, get in, I’ll drop you!”

I was alone on that road, there were hardly any autos, and it was getting really hot. I really wanted a free ride home. And the guy looked, well, genuine.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, it is to never ever¬†trust¬†anybody easily. Especially not some man I’ve never seen before in my life offering to drop me home in his dark-tinted SUV in a deserted road. So I shook my head for the thousandth time, smiling to be polite, and I shut the door he had opened, and said, “Thank you, but there’s no need, really.” He shook his head, smiled at me a bit and drove off finally.

As I walked down the road to the main road, hoping to find more autos there, I wondered – what if he was actually a nice man, offering to drop me home, because he knew it was pooja day, and I was alone and it’d be difficult for me to get an auto home? What if he was religious, and thought that it was an auspicious day and he should do something good for someone else for a change? What if I had accepted his offer? But as I was thinking these things, I could hear the voices in my head – of my aunt, my mom, my uncle everyone saying “How could you be so stupid?” “With what sense did you get into his car?” Because there was a very real chance that he could have had some not so noble motives in offering to drop me after all. What if he had tried to take advantage of me? Or taken me someplace else and done who knows what to me? Ugh, I hated to think that way, but I had to.

But then again, what if he was one of you¬†– the Good Guys. It isn’t fair¬†for¬†you all. And I’d like to apologize on behalf of all the other women who have done such things – very simple things¬†– just because they are too afraid to trust you. We’ve been conditioned that way – and it’s horrible. I hate it. I hate to have to think about your motives and question your morality and hear the voices of my whole family¬†in my head and fight an internal battle before responding to you. This isn’t the first time I’ve been offered to be dropped home by a stranger, but it was the first time the guy was so persistent. He realized why I was being so cautious and what I was thinking about him, and that’s why he went on repeating “It’s alright.” It was pretty awkward.

So that’s why I decided to write this letter – and it’s really long, so I’m sorry – to all you Good Guys, because it really isn’t fair to¬†you. You should be able to go up to a girl at the bar and tell her you think she’s good-looking, and ask for her number without her having to judge you and question your motives. And when you accidentally fall on/bump into a girl, you shouldn’t be given scathing looks -because hey, it was a genuine mistake! And when you decide to go out of your way and help out a girl because she’s alone, or it’s late, or she just needs help basically, you shouldn’t be denied, that too so obviously because of what she thinks you could be. But the day that happens, is the day we know that the Bad Guys are losing. And trust me, that’s a world I’ve been dreaming of since forever.

So here’s some love -from every girl who’s ever felt this way –

And I hope you had a nice day. ūüôā Bye then!

Sincerely,

A Girl who really Wanted that Free Ride.

Questions on Creation.

Forgive me, for I have been so embarrassingly inactive on WordPress for the last couple (or more) months. I can give no other excuses apart from the most used one of them all – I had no time. Well, ofcourse I had time to squeeze in a blog post – but about what? That’s what I didn’t have time for. My brain was already so cramped with all these things in there fighting for attention – my exams, applying for a master’s next year, what I should do in life, my internship, my credit courses, well, it would suffice to say my brain was so full of things there was hardly any space for a creative article idea to pop up, that was good enough to write about.

But excuses are excuses, and I apologize. Here’s a cute puppy gif to make up for it :

Today I realized that I owe it to myself to just let it all go for a while, and ¬†just blog a bit. So I’ve decided to write about a new revelation I’ve had – about myself.

Ever since I could remember – I’ve had questions about religion. I realized I never felt the same way about it as other¬†people. I grew up in a Hindu family, went to a largely Hindu populated school and am now in a Christian college and I have friends who practice many different religions. But I have always had my questions about God, and for the longest time, I even feared God. I would pray every day – I would actually start my day with a prayer. And every time I passed by a temple, I would raise my hands to my lips and then to my chest and mutter a small prayer. I wouldn’t go into the Prayer room or the kitchen when I had my periods, because I was told not to. Oh, there were a hundred other things I would do, that hundreds of other people also did – and I’m sure it made sense to them, but to me, it didn’t.

And one day, a few months back, I thought about why exactly I still practiced a religion if I didn’t believe in the customs and the rituals. I didn’t even believe in the God that my religion told me about. Now let me make myself clear – I do believe¬†that there could be a God, but just not the way my religion (or any other religion) described God. Firstly, I thought it mighty presumptuous of the Human race to think that God looks like us. That He has a gender and that that gender is a He mostly, not a She. And coming from a country like India – where you can see people¬†throwing out pumpkins and rice grains and coconuts that were perfectly edible out on the streets after using them for poojas and rituals and pouring down tonnes of milk on stone statues when there are thousands of people who go hungry and beg on the streets for food – I really couldn’t see the justice in it.

And so I have converted, officially, and I am a Hindu no more. Neither am I a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim – I just have too many bones to pick with religion as such. For something that preaches peace and love and equality, it is the main cause of one too many wars and deaths around the world for me to look up to it. I did my research, and I looked things up on the internet, and I realized that what I identified myself with the most was Agnosticism. I was an Agnostic all along, I was just too young to realize. I do believe that there could be a God¬†(although, if in the future strong scientific evidence is found that God does not exist, I would be okay with that too), but I do not think it is within our abilities to fully understand and know such a force (much less spend billions and billions on it and fight wars in it’s name and divide humanity into different groups that believe different things rather than unite them for one cause and for peace). I do not commit myself to any religion, because I do not believe in it.

I know there are lots of people who will have their issues with what I believe in – but they are entitled to have their opinion, as am I. But I also know of a few others who believe the same things I believe in, and this gives me comfort.

Well, I’m glad that’s out into the world now.

Independence is the Goal.

“I set my goal. And that goal was Independence.”

During one of her interviews that I watched years ago, Beyonce said this. And although I don’t remember which interview it was, and who was interviewing her, and what she was wearing and all of that, I will never forget those words. Not because they inspired me at that time- but quite frankly, they scared me. I thought to myself, did I have the courage to set a goal as… um, scary as independence? I didn’t.

Independence meant to be able to stand on your own two feet. It means being able to buy your own clothes, pay your own bills, cook your own food, do your own laundry, clean your own house. It also means being able to care for those who depend on you, to look out for your loved ones both financially and emotionally and physically. It means earning your right to have a say and have an opinion. It means work, work, work. Work – so that no one, no where can tell¬†you what to do. No one, no where is the boss of you.¬†You are the boss of you.¬†And that’s the prize, that’s the amazing silver lining to being independent.

That’s what independence means.

happy-quotes-1195-635x631

For most women in India, ‘independence” is not really an expected goal. Family and society expect their daughters to think more along the lines of – ‘You can study, and you can work, but if you don’t want to, it’s alright, we can find a nice boy for you, rich, well-settled, and we can get you married off.’ I personally have always wanted to study, I always saw myself working. But it didn’t hit me until I watched¬†that interview – that somewhere, back in my mind, this kind of thought hung around like a safety net. Oh my God, was I ashamed of myself. Not to mention supremely embarrassed – for someone who went around touting women’s equality and all of that.¬†These were the questions I asked myself:

If I was all alone – if I was just me, what was my worth? What could I do to survive?

Would I even be able to do that – to survive?

From that day it was a journey. I opened myself to the possibility of being all alone – and being completely self-sufficient. Setting your goal as independence needs a lot of strength and courage, it really does, because it literally means that you can’t depend on anyone else. It’s just you.

I have nothing against women¬†or men who decide to marry and stay at home while their partner earns. That’s their choice, and I respect that. But it’s not like that for me.

I know now, for a fact that I want to be independent.

And I’m still learning how hard that is to achieve, especially when you are nineteen years old like I am, and still have to depend on your parents to put you through college and pay for you and everything. But I tell myself now that I will get to it one day, and I hope I do.

And now here’s a Beyonce gif to thank you for reading through my philosophical rant. I’m done.

All The People

“All these young people nowadays, so arrogant and rebellious,” the elders disapprove.

“And all these old people, so narrow-minded and old-fashioned,” the youth shake their heads.

“All these women, so fragile and always dependent,” remark the men.

“All these men, nothing but perverts and rapists!” lament the women.

“All these South Indians – dark skinned with funny accents,” say all the people from the North.

“And all these North Indians, just crass and uneducated,” say the people¬†from the South.

“Oh, these black people- violent and criminal, every one of them,” declare the “white” people.

“Ah, these white people – pompous idiots, every one of them,” comment the “black” people.

“All these Christians are drinkers and sinners,” discuss the Muslim people.

“And all the Muslims are terrorists and killers.” ponder the Christian people.

But what all these people don’t really understand

Is that people are not

Just empty glass jars to be filled

With assumptions

And placed on different shelves judged by their shape, size and colour.

People, are people, and we should learn to accept, if not love, one another.

We are all not the same, but we are all equal.

The Bad Girls.

So I’ve been thinking. Why doesn’t Veronica (Deepika Padukone) from¬†Cocktail get the guy in the end? Did that have something to do with Veronica being bold, brash, modern and very independent and Meera being more timid, mild and traditional? Well, to those who don’t want to read into it so much, and just go with the obvious – maybe it was just that Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) was genuinely in love with Meera, not Veronica. Well, that’s what I thought too – until I got around to thinking about other two-women-one-man movies.

Salwaar clad Pooja, skirt wearing Nisha

Dil Toh Pagal Hai: Salwaar clad Pooja, skirt wearing Nisha

Let’s take¬†DIl Toh Pagal Hai. We have Nisha (Karishma Kapoor), who is very forward, energetic, modern, and drinks, and we have Pooja (Madhuri Dixit), who is a little more withdrawn but friendly nevertheless and very traditional. Nisha wears jeans and tight tops, and skirts (I don’t think she ever wears any salwaars or such) while Pooja wears mostly salwaars, sarees and ghagras than jeans and tops. Who does Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) fall for in the end? Pooja of course.

Meera

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Meera with Samar

Akira with Samar

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Akira with Samar

It’s almost like a hidden pattern I hadn’t noticed before. Take¬†Jab Tak Hai Jaan. God-fearing, rather sheltered, mature Meera (Katrina Kaif) and the extremely loud, dominating, devil-may-care Akira (Anushka Sharma). Who does the guy fall for? Meera.

Renuka on the left, Saro on the right

Ko: Renuka on the left, Saro on the right

And let’s not just make this Bollywood centeric. In the Tamil suspense thriller Ko, we have two different female characters – Saro (Piaa Bajpal) is again, very loud, wears mostly jeans and tees, is open with her feelings and frank while Renuka (Karthika Nair) is more traditional in her clothing most of the time and is more mature. No surprises as to whom the guy falls for. Renuka.

Tina, Rahul and pre-tranformation Anjali

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Tina, Rahul and pre-tranformation Anjali

Kuch Kuch Hota Hain¬†¬†is pretty much the biggest example of this. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) falls for Tina, the more held-together, mature, “womanly” one, and not Anjali, his tom-boyish, loud, effervescent best friend. You may argue, saying that the main focus of the movie was Rahul and Anjali’s love story – but you see, that’s the very thing that amuses me. Rahul only realizes his love for Anjali years later, when she has transformed into well, a long-haired, saree-wearing, bhajan-singing, woman of his dreams.

It’s funny how stereotypes creep into our everyday lives (especially in a country like ours), and in ways¬†we don’t even realize. I wonder what such a pattern indicates. The man always falls for the traditional woman, the “womanly” woman, the woman who is definitely¬†not loud and forward about her feelings. These are the chosen women. The “good girls”. Not Veronica or Nisha or Saro or the earlier version of Anjali. The bad girls?

Even the body language is different, and it's funny that there is an idea that one is "preferred" over the other

Even the body language is different, and it’s funny that there is an idea that one is “preferred” over the other

I’m sorry, but I don’t think having short hair, or being loud or frank or modern or any of those qualities make a woman less womanly or less attractive. I don’t think women should change who they are, and suppress a more vibrant and colourful side of themselves just to make themselves more attractive to a man (or to another woman, whichever way you swing). Be loud, be enthusiastic, rock that short hair – it doesn’t make you less of a woman. Having said that, if you’re genuinely soft-spoken, have long hair, and traditional – that’s great too! I think women and¬†men¬†everywhere should embrace whoever they are, and not try and squeeze themselves into stereotypical shapes.

For all of India’s Daughters.

Yesterday, the BBC released a documentary film recording the events of the gang rape of a young girl that happened on the 16th of December, 2012, in India’s national capital, Delhi. It included never-before-seen interviews with the victim’s parents as well as the rapists’ family and friends. It also included the mass protests that shook the country after the incident. They called this documentary ‘India’s Daughter’.

Today, the government of India banned the documentary, declaring it “a very sensitive issue” – only increasing the public attention it had been receiving.

 

As I watched the documentary, I went through a series of emotions – mostly anger, disgust and then finally, heart break (which I did not expect). Predominantly, I felt a rage – an explicit, murderous and infuriating rage – at the people who did those inhuman things to her and more so, the people who had the audacity and the sick mentality to actually support and justify such atrocities. It was a gang rape, a brutal, heinous crime against a young girl, a college student. It was so barbaric that the organs in her body were destroyed, never to recover again. Her intestines trailed out of her, she was beaten and bitten, and had an iron rod thrust into her. After this treatment, she was thrown out, naked and bleeding, along with her friend (who was also battered and bruised), on the roadside. Even the most dangerous criminals have not been subject to such barbaric acts for their crimes of murder, trafficking, robbery – but it is an absolutely fitting and deserving punishment for a girl who is out late in the night, to watch a movie with a male friend. How, I repeat –¬†HOW – and in which sick, twisted universe is this justified?¬†Why¬†would anyone try and justify something like this?

And no – do not bring in Indian “culture”. Like Chimamanda Adiche said, “Culture does not make people. People make culture.” It is people like these, who blame “culture” for obviously wrong things,¬†that defile our country’s culture. Culture is constantly changing. Going out at a certain time of the day or night, being able to wear what one wants, and being with members of the opposite sex is¬†not¬† a crime. Trying to curb that, or even something as atrocious as justifying¬†rape for something like that – it just boggles my mind, the immense and utter stupidity of it all.¬†Words cannot describe my infinite disgust and fury towards the narrow-minded mentality of the two lawyers who defended the rapists – who, in the first place, had admitted to their crimes. The two lawyers seem to be of a different, and what seems to be a more misogynous frame of mind – one of them even claiming that he would punish his sister or daughter if she ever had a pre-marital sexual relationship by burning them alive. The shocking truth is that such mentality does run through the minds of a scarily large number of people, and it is this that is the ultimate enemy. What’s more disturbing is that it runs through the minds of women as well!

View image on Twitter

I had decided, half-way through the documentary, that this would be an angry blog post, a rant, a vent for my anger. But I never thought I’d be left feeling so broken-hearted, so drained of all the fury, at the end. The last words Jyothi (the victim) said to her mother, before she succumbed to her brutal injuries in the hospital were – “Sorry Mummy. I gave you so much trouble. I am sorry.” More than anything else, this shattered me into a thousand pieces, because at that moment I realized that that would’ve been the exact same thing I would have wanted to tell my own mother, had I been in that position. And I knew this truth, deep in my heart, because I am an Indian girl, and it would take more than an education and the most amazing parents in the world to rid me of the guilt of feeling like a burden.

Jyothi felt guilty – even after watching an entire nation stand up for her, and fight for her and give¬†her the title “Nirbhaya” (which mean “the brave one” or “without fear” or “courageous”) – she felt guilty for all the trouble she had caused. Only except, it wasn’t she who caused all this trouble, it was the group of men who decided to rape her.

And this exactly is the ultimate enemy.

Rape is not the fault of the victim. It is the fault of the rapist. Even after the number of times this has been said, it still has not sunk into the mindsets of people yet. Only when that happens, will there be any semblance of change in the country. And right now, change is what this country desperately needs.

The Penis in Public.

One of my friends once said, “It’s funny how in India it’s okay¬†to piss in public, but not okay to kiss in public.” And that, I feel, is Indian mentality summed up in just one sentence. A movement like the Kiss of Love campaign (in which people gather on the streets and kiss each other) received a raging, vehement opposition from people claiming “it isn’t part of Indian culture” – while something like, oh I don’t know, whipping your dick out in public and urinating¬†is just considered normal – for both the people who do it, and the people who see it. For example, if you’re going someplace by an autorickshaw (or any vehicle for that matter) in almost any part of India, this would be your typical view – cars, buses, scooters, bikes, the occasional cycle, pedestrians, shops, trees, a man peeing, others not bothering, you know, that sort of thing.

So a couple of days ago, my cousin and uncle left me to wait in the car while they got¬†out to get something. The car was parked in front of a compound wall. In that short span of about ten minutes, five men –¬†five – stopped to urinate in front of that wall, one after the other. Yes, I counted, because it amused and shocked me – like there was some invisible sign that read “Public Toilet”, that only men could read, one after the other stopped there to urinate. ¬†And there I was, in my front row seat, trying to look anywhere but there, trying to think about¬†cupcakes and puppies¬†to distract myself from those utterly disgusting men with zero sense of self-respect (but to no avail). The feeling that completely engulfed me was revulsion – what have we come to? Isn’t it shameful?¬†How is it that a girl wearing shorts receives disapproving, judgemental glares for showing her legs in public, but a man doesn’t, for showing his¬†penis¬†(even if it was just for a couple of minutes – for those who want to argue about the time factor)? It is a public place, a main road, for screaming out loud!

As it got harder and harder to ignore the idiots who came to relieve themselves thus publicly, I wondered if I should get out and make my presence known – would they be too embarrassed to continue? Or maybe I could imitate the girl in that YouTube video and sit down and pretend to pee next to them – to give them a taste of their own medicine and see how they react to that. Or maybe I could roll down my window and yell at them to stop?

And I’m ashamed,¬†because¬†I did none of those things. I just sat there, repulsed, angry and frustrated¬†with myself, for not doing anything to stop it. I was alone, my cousin and uncle were nowhere in sight, and it wasn’t even a familiar place. There could be the positive reaction, the dream reaction, if you will – they would stop, be embarrassed, learn their lesson and be so consumed with shame that they would never pee in public again. And then there could be the negative reaction – this ranged from them ignoring me to eve teasing to flashing to maybe even rape, who knew? ¬†Which is why I thought a billion times about doing anything to stop it. And finally didn’t.

And so the problem persists, because the people who do it, do it. And the people who see it, just see it. Nobody stops it. I think its time we all woke up to this. Peeing in public is not only disrespectful to yourself and the others around you, it reflects poor character, self-control and a total lack of hygiene. If you are someone who does this Рbe ashamed of yourself, and never do it again. If you are someone who has seen it, but not raised your voice against it (like me) Рmake sure you try to next time.

Stop the Hate!

It has been ages since I posted, but that was because I had my end semester examinations going on. Now that I have my holidays, I had enough time to get around the internet, update myself on the the things that are trending now. You know, these really ground-breaking, intelligent things that are so important that almost everyone on the internet knows about them – like ALex from Target and About a week ago, and oh, this one is the best – ‘A potato flew around my room’. If you don’t know what these terms refer to, Google them.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I hate all of this, but it just amuses me as to how such things grab the attention of over a million people. The human race is really weird. But having said that, Alex from Target IS pretty cute – and he certainly doesn’t deserve all the hate he’s getting for “not earning his fame” or whatever. And Bobby Shmurda’s epic dance moves are definitely something, and personally, I think the song is super catchy. (I’m not going to comment on ‘A potato flew around my room’ I don’t even know why it’s popular).
So the past couple of days have been spent watching video after video on YouTube. And while waiting for the video to load (thanks to slow wifi), I made a habit of scrolling through the comments below. It was utterly shocking to see how much hate – and I mean the filthy, dirty, disrespectful kind of HATE – was out there, how much racism, how much sexism and how many rude things were said that were unwarranted and uncalled for. The other thing that hit me was how painfully IGNORANT many of these comments were.

There are people saying they hate black people because all black people are violent, there are people who say being homosexual is wrong and is a sin, then there are people saying they hate Americans because they just do¬†– and then there are people who say women are, and I quote – “literal sex toys and nothing else” and are just useful for reproducing. And how can one forget the endless arguments about how one religion is utter non-sense, and the other is better than the rest. And then, there are comments that oppose these of course, but there are also comments that defend these hate comments.

What irritates me the most is how ignorant most of these comments are, and how narrow-minded. I think people need to WAKE UP and see that all people are people, after all, that them being of different colours or races or sexualities or genders or religion does not change the fact that we’re all human, one and the same. No one is superior to the other. Which religion a person practices and what skin colour he or she has, or who he or she sleeps with or even how many people he or she sleeps with is NOBODY’S business. No one has the right to judge anybody else – unless they¬†have committed some heinous crime, like kill a person or rape someone.

There is a whole other set of people who just don’t even need a reason to hate. I really feel sorry for most YouTubers out there, and hats off to their courage to put up videos out there, but some comments are downright MEAN. For no reason, really.

And what lovely language.

Pretty much every hate comment has beautiful language, wonderful grammar and rich vocabulary, as seen above. And it is sad to say, some well-educated people too Рyou can make out by the way their comments read Рseem to be really really narrow-minded. Like, has education done nothing to you? Has it not opened your mind a little bit?

I understand when people may have certain (not necessarily positive) opinions about some things – which they can go ahead and express, so long as they understand that it isn’t always right according to everybody. To each his own. It surprises me why there is SO much, like immense, gigantic amounts of hate in the virtual world. Of course, there’s a lot of positive and friendly comments too, but the aggression in the negative ones is just over whelming. Internet hate is real, and the sad thing is, it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away – so all one can do is shake their head and ignore it.The change should begin within us – to make a conscious effort to at least be polite to each other, if not respect one another.

 

Am I a Feminist?

After twelve years in a co-education school, attending an all-girls’ college was a bit unusual for me initially. Having said that, there were so many things that I learned from being in an environment surrounded by women of all ages, and learning from each other. The thoughts of women as a collective voice, I found, was more distinctly felt here (obviously). Our syllabus is pumped with feminism (among other things) and works of feminist writers. Our discussions in class are quite free and open, and get quite personal sometimes,especially when it comes to speaking about the situation (both the good side and the bad) of women in the past and present.

It is a fact, that since ancient times, in almost all cultures, women were not treated as equals to men. They were always considered inferior and expected to be submissive and passive. Many centuries and women’s rights movements later, I find that although quite a lot of change has been brought about, there is still a long way to go. Women can vote, women can get an education, women can get jobs – and yet, in a country like mine, the problem has a much deeper root. It all lies in the mind. In many parts of India, women are still blamed for mothering daughters and not sons. Women are still expected to stop working after they get married. Women are still told¬†that being groped or receiving cat calls in public is because of what they were wearing. And this is why I strongly feel that we have more to do to bring about true “equality” between men and women. Those firm, orthodox and ancient mindsets have to be changed. Society must be willing to be open minded, it must be willing to accept the fact that it is not women who have to condition themselves to the society by carefully monitoring the way they walk and talk and what they say and don’t say and what they wear and don’t wear – but the society which has to condition¬†itself to accept women as individuals too, with individual thought and expression.¬†

I am a girl, and I have experienced situations wherein I was discriminated against just because I was a girl. I have personally felt the bite of sexist comments, roving eyes and hands and a hundred other things I could go on about – as have a billion other girls in this country, I’m sure. And this is primarily why I feel and fight for an equal society.

Am I a feminist then? I don’t know.

Feminism is still a concept I am a bit unsure of. According to me, feminism is a concept of furthering equality of women, fighting against cultural and societal and sexual injustices¬†that women face in their day to day life. Feminism, according to me (and also, I hope, according to the rest of the world), is most certainly not anti-men, it is not a “hate movement” against all men. Feminism, in my mind, does not – and should not – generalize all men and blame them for crimes committed by some of them.

 

But where do we draw the line? The line between dislike and hate? The line between anger and violence? The line between what should be considered appropriate behavior and what should be considered sexist and hurtful behavior? In a world full of different cultures, societies and mind sets, it is difficult, almost impossible to draw a clear line. And that is why I’m going to just put it out there and say – I’m not too clear on the idea of feminism, and so I cannot call myself a feminist, BUT I will voice my opinion and fight against injustices to women, for I am a woman, and I face these injustices, and it is something that should not be borne.¬†¬†

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