feminism · Feminist Musings · Indian Woman's Musings · Opinionated · Opinionated

Why A Woman’s Reproductive Right Will Never Be Her Own (And It’s Annoying TBH)

US President Donald Trump’s decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood has brought out an important topic to the forum, AGAIN – Is a woman’s reproductive right her own? Who owns a woman’s womb? Rather, who should run it?

Motherhood is for sure a beautiful feeling, but for centuries, this debate has been propping up again and again – as to whether a woman has a right to kill the foetus developing inside her. Some countries, with their religious clout, have managed to kill women, who couldn’t be saved because of a pregnancy gone bad.

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Which brings me to a very important question.

Dear men, who owns your dick?

No one, right? We worship it, we are excited when our family is blessed with one. If a man has absolute right over his body, why should a woman be denied a very basic right?

[I am not getting into the debate about women supporting “pro-life” arguments – because the social conditioning is such that some women believe religion can have absolute primacy over their body and their rights.]

Motherhood slows down women, it made them “homemakers” since the time of the stone age because babies began to be born with smaller brains and needed more care. Women were seen as the caretakers, instead of the men, since they took immense pain to give birth to the babies in the first place. All pain, no gain?

Women are told numerous things – giving birth to a baby is a great feeling, you aren’t complete unless you become a mother. Women who can’t give birth are shunned by society, pitied; women who refuse to give birth are considered worse.

Why aren’t young women taught that they are complete even if they don’t give birth? A woman is born complete, her womb is just another organ, what’s the need to always make a hue and cry of it?

Let me bring the stark reality to you, about abortions and about childbirth.

  1. If a woman can decide to take birth, she can decide to not give birth. Even if the foetus has a “potential for life”, its her bloody problem, her womb, not YOUR matter.
  2. Stop making women feel that abortions are a ‘cardinal sin’ – many women don’t give birth because they don’t want to deprive a child a life where the mother won’t be able to give much time to the child as much as she wants to. And sometimes, the man doesn’t want to take responsibility for the kid either.
  3. A maternity leave is costly for an ambitious woman – as much as a mother loves her child, many times she can’t even her suckle her child as she has to head to work, or loses out on projects and promotions because she decided to give birth

As a child, I always considered women incredible. A woman juggles the responsibility of work and home, loves her job and child equally. But the society expects her to always smile through all her problems, take care of the child all by herself and at a convenient time, leave her job – because if she has a husband to pay the bills, why should she work?

I am scared for those thousands of young women across the world who are regular victims of moral policing on basic things such as their reproductive right.

It’s time this goddam discussion stops propping up. And those idiots with a stick up their arses need to understand that someone’s bedroom business isn’t theirs to pick.

 

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feminism · Indian Woman's Musings · Opinionated

The Curious Case Of “Sexual Harassment At The Workplace” – Featuring Arunabh Kumar

Don’t be baffled by the title. I agree it’s going to be another feminist rant about how men make women feel like they don’t belong in the workplace. But you know what?

IT’S TRUE.

Turns out it’s the 21st century and women still don’t feel safe at the workplace. A little birdie spread a rumour about sexual harassment at Uber’s office recently and that seems to have sparked off a series of news about this damning thing. I mean, how can literate men, fathers of little children, or even those in the corporate world for a sane number of years think of women as commodities who have to be cherry-picked for their preference at the workplace?

Turns out, it’s very much a thing of the present.

Before you get into a rant about how women are misusing their “privilege” to make innocent men fall into their trap, framing wrong allegations against them, let me get one point straight. Sexual harassment at the workplace – even if it’s a false allegation – has to be taken seriously. You can’t let a wrong-doer – male or female – pass by without giving justice to the one who has been affected.

Which brings me back to the topic again.

I wasn’t very horrified to read a particular Uber employee’s experience with her boss. He told her during a meeting when she disagreed with him – you’re here not because of your brains, but your looks. So shut up.

I don’t fail to understand anymore how a woman who looks pretty can even be considered worthwhile enough to work in an office space.

I mean, if she walks into the office in sneakers, you tell her to wear heels to accentuate her ass, right? She’s your property, isn’t she?

For the longest time, I have gone on feminist rants, talking about how women don’t deserve things, for it is their right as they are equal to men. But turns out I am just another feminist who’s banging her head against the wall. Writing blogs about topics instead of doing anything about it on ground.

Ahh, well. If chastising me gets your chauvinistic ass some peace, then so let be.

Lets talk about the day for a change. Today, I woke up like it was no other day. Accepting the fact that I was living in a patriarchal society. I opened the newspaper, hoping to read something decent about international politics to brighten up my day. Turns out, I, like many other privileged, literate, empowered women had to turn the pages of the newspaper only to read about TVF founder Arunabh Kumar’s attempt to sexually harass a female colleague.

Ahh, well. Another one bites the dust.

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Source: Indian Express

I am not saying he’s guilty, hell no. I don’t know what transpired between Arunabh and that particular lady in question (Indian Fowler, was she?). I was intrigued to see The Viral Fever’s response to the allegation. Take a look:

This is an official response from TVF on the anonymous article published on Medium by the Indian Fowler. The article is completely ludicrous and defamatory against TVF and its team.
 
All the allegations made against TVF and its team in the article are categorically false, baseless and unverified. We take a lot of pride in our team and in making TVF a safe workplace that is equally comfortable for women and men.
 
We will leave no stone unturned to find the author of the article and bring them to severe justice for making such false allegations.
 
It is our humble request that you do not to share an unsubstantiated, unverified and anonymous article such as this. We would like to thank all our fans and friends for their continued support.

Umm. Umm. WHAT?

I understand TVF is angry, but issue an open threat? How much desperate are you to save your founder rather than the brand?

As I understand, in the event of a sexual harassment allegation, the concerned company needs to immediately call a Vishakha committee to investigate the allegation. In fact, the company needs to have a sexual harassment redressal cell within the company so that these issues don’t come into the public forum and get resolved within the workplace.

Turns out that doesn’t happen and Indians still live in that archaic world where they believe that women have to sit at home, cook food for their husbands and be the prey of petty men who just feel entitled to prey on women. Because. It’s just so fucking normal. If women do come to work, they need to be stalked, harassed and asked for sexual favours for no woman should be doing a “man’s job”, I guess.

Again, I am digressing. Let us take a look at the allegations heaped on Arunabh –

He got drunk and tried to fall on the woman

Made ‘lewd’ advances

Told her he bought her from a red-light district

Even if these allegations are false, what we need to understand is that these things happen. Many women leave their jobs because of such people. They are forced to face these things on a daily basis on many occasions just because they want to earn their living. If they get too friendly with a man at the workplace or have a boyfriend, they are viewed as promiscuous. For which woman who has a brain and an opinion will not be “sleeping around” with everyone in sight?

If Arunabh is innocent, then the case of false sexual harassment will come to the surface. If he isn’t, then the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace needs to be tackled.

Indian companies like TVF are young, vibrant and attractive for young people. But today, if one company doesn’t take a stand, tomorrow thousands of women and men will stop/fear coming to the workplace for fear of injustice being meted out to them.

And like any other day, I have gone on a feminist rant, for my disillusion with the world around me has gone to the next level.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

feminism · Opinionated

Why Feminism Is Important For Men In India

The title of this essay is very important. For it conveys a message very few people in India (apart from “card-carrying” feminists) acknowledge – the need for men to be feminist in this country. It’s a natural assumption for us in India to assume that any word with the first three letters ‘fem’ is meant for a woman. But it’s important for our men to realize that it’s time for them to let the feminist within them rise, and let their ego take a backseat.

Lets discuss the fundamental problem with men in India. A couple of points guys don’t keep in mind are (I don’t mean this in an offensive manner, this is just to educate those who never looked in-depth into their nature):

  1. As a man you’re not entitled to anything (even if your mother or father made you believe so). You’re not “entitled” to harass a girl, her family, nor “entitled” to assume a larger status in society just because you’re a man
  2. This is a generation of equal opportunities. Just because a woman in a middle-class household received an education and made good use of it, and you didn’t, doesn’t mean you can show her her true status as a ‘woman’ with your physical power
  3. Physical prowess is not a sign of superiority

A very significant point that was missed in the India’s Daughter documentary that came out more than 2 years ago was the entire point of why the rapist raped Nirbhaya. He didn’t rape her in his need for sex, he didn’t rape her because he had a ‘rapist’ mentality or was disturbed. He raped her because she raised her voice, and offended him. How could a woman speak to a man like that? An education doesn’t entitle a woman or give her a right to insult a man?! She has to be shown her true place!

The fundamental problem with the framework of Indian society is our natural assumption as men that women have to be subservient to men and have to be shown their place at the opportune moment. If not in her office, then outside. ‘Aukaat’ dikha do.

Why don’t we evaluate each other as humans for a change? If women are willing to understand that men can make mistakes, then can’t men accept that the woman in front of them is a fellow human who has to be evaluated on her merit and not on the fact that she has been physically endowed with breasts and a womb?

It’s not uncommon for women in middle-class households who have degrees from good colleges to leave their jobs once they have a child. A womb is a woman’s biggest enemy in a society that treats child-bearing as solely a woman’s responsibility. The man’s responsibility isn’t in that one beautiful moment when he holds his wife’s hand as she’s in labour pain. A man’s responsibility also begins the day a child is born, and just carrying his surname doesn’t mean that he’s fulfilled his duty.

Be it lower income households or middle-income households or rich households, the men in each section of society have a fundamental responsibility – to evaluate women as humans who also have aspirations, dreams and expectations. A man’s feminism is more important than a woman’s – primarily because one voice of a dissent from a man will be viewed with logic in this system entrenched in patriarchy. It’s funny that when a woman speaks out, she’s viewed as a troublemaker, but when a man speaks out, he’s speaking from logic. Then where’s your logic guys?

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Are you scared of that one moment when your wife will earn more than you or be more successful than you? Are you scared of that moment when you will loose your “manhood”? Is your ego bruised when that little girl scored more marks than you in that one engineering exam? How could she? She’s a girl, girls are not good at math?!

Are you eagerly anticipating that one day when she will take her maternal leave in office and then fall back in her career so that you can move ahead on not merit but social stupidity?

Why is it so natural for us to assume that a woman and her family is entitled to receive our bullshit, just because we were born with an organ that is worshipped?

My plea to the male feminists out there is – don’t “protect” your woman, she doesn’t need your muscle power to survive. Don’t “protect” her from bullshit your father is pulling on your wedding – she doesn’t want that. What she wants is respect, and your ability to ensure that. Your feminism lies in making others around you realize that logic is the way to move forward, not society or its customs that hold someone back because of their gender.

I understand my words sound harsh. Most men wouldn’t even want to be feminist on reading my essay. After all, who wants to fight for a cause that’s not even their own?

But retrospect – why do you “not” like women? Why do you feel that they should be subservient to you? Is it because of your social conditioning or because it’s logical to you?

Think guys, think. Because we need you too in this struggle to create change. If you don’t stand by us, and if both genders aren’t united in this fight, then we can never expect our society to move towards an egalitarian future. Neither can we dream of a ‘shining’ or ‘developed’ India. Because whenever one woman leaves her job in this country, we lose out on a portion of our GDP. Never realized this? For a change, think logically?

All you are going to lose out on is your ‘male privilege’. And trust me, that’s not a bad thing at all. You weren’t entitled to one, in the first place.

feminism · Life in India

Hello Dowry-seeking (and giving) educated Indian parents, I welcome you to witness a 21st century female

(this article will be shifting from dowry seeking to dowry giving people, transgressing the thin line. But the context remains the same. Read below with caution)

Dear Dowry-seeking (and giving) Indian Parents,

Oh come on, don’t pretend you know taking dowry is a crime. Aren’t you proud of your son who is going to make you malamaal (super-rich)? Aww, you cute people, look at you all going red like a beetroot! Please don’t be so happy at my revelation, the fact that you can read this means you’re educated na? That’s a great thing! Because I am going to say things you don’t want to hear. I know you want to shut me up, what kind of upbringing have my parents given me- they haven’t taught me that being a girl I need to be submissive, quiet and accepting of everything that happens to me? Of course they have! My parents have given me all the sanskaars in the world to kick ass. Don’t worry.

Aren’t you the same people who educate their daughters (now that they are born you have to educate them right, if you don’t, people will think you’re conservative rural class people), and then don’t care about whether they are doing well or not? Aren’t you the same class of people who think that just getting a degree and getting a job suitable enough to find a good “match” for your daughter is the way to go? Oh yeah, and you also prepare your fixed deposits ever since your girl-child is born- akhir dahej ke paise hai (dowry money). You look at the news and curse those lower class people who take dowry and then negotiate with the boy’s family on how much the amount of the “gift” should be.

Oh dear educated people, why do you even distinguish yourselves from the lower-class, uneducated people? What’s the point? After all, you think the same way. Did I offend you? Oh, I am sorry, I am a woman, I should mind myself, shouldn’t I? I need to respect my elders? Plus why the hell am I bothered with what’s happening in your family, after all its your ghar ka maamla. What problem do I have in life, why the hell do I want to throw my brand of feminism on everyone.

Yeah, you’re right. I should really shut myself up. Because nothing is going to change you people. You all claim to be educated, in certain cases religious people, but can not fathom the fact that a woman’s primary function in life is to not be someone’s wife. That she is a human being who should be taught to have her own aspirations in life isn’t a choice. If she doesn’t study, you would rather let her be, because she anyways just needs to pass. Even if she studies, you don’t allow her to take tuitions far away from the house, because girls of good “households” don’t go out that often. You will try your best to compell your daughter to get an MBA if her bachelors degree is not that great, because if she isn’t working, then how will you find a good groom for her? Everything is about marriage, isn’t it? Everything around a woman is concerned around her primary reproductive function.

It is not uncommon for parents to start worrying about their daughter’s marriage as soon as she completes her education and secures a job. Why not? She is settled, isn’t she? Now you can find a nice little boy for her, and get rid of your responsibility. That she can turn around and exercise her decision to stay unmarried or pursue a career or marry someone isn’t an option.

Keep up the good work folks. The Indian government alleviated you all in the 70’s and 80’s into the middle class so that you can all do exactly what you saw in your generation. Then don’t educate your sons or daughters na. What’s the point? When there is no difference between you and an uneducated person.

You all will decry rape, but you will, because its something that concerns your daughter’s and families honour. It is not uncommon for people to say, “thank god she is married, I don’t need to bother about her anymore”. Why not, daughters are born out of thin air, not the womb, their importance is much lower anyways. A sperm is not needed to produce a daughter. All you need is some bad luck, and hola! you have a daughter.

My words hurt, don’t they? But what is more hurtful is the way you perceive women. Just because you don’t beat up your wives or forbid your daughters from going to school doesn’t mean you’re “progressive”. Just because women are different physically than men, doesn’t mean they should be treated differently. Oh well, what’s the point of telling you all, you anyways belong to the backward class brigade. Oh no, I am insulting the backward class. At least they are openly conservative.  You people are of the crowd who say, “We are very progressive”, and then inquire about a woman’s virginity in the marriage “arrangements”.

If your daughter isn’t motivated enough to study, the fathers don’t bother- they have a son, who has to DO WELL. Put all the pressure on the son, the daughter is anyways gonna get married and move away. Pressurise the son to do something for the family, because he has to support the family. (also qualifications + government job of son is directly proportional to dowry amount). Post the marriage of your son, you will seek solace in the arms of your daughter, but you will take help from your son. Your son will light your pyre, he is the reason for your ascent to “heaven”.

The hollowness of my society doesn’t fail to astound me. It is extremely saddening to see people like you. And you know its more hurtful when folks like you butt into the matters of your relatives and other people who have daughters and keep inquiring about their marriage. You even keep your eyes and ears open to find a good boy for your daughter, you keep asking others to look for good “boys”, to whom marriage will be a social status for the family. You even force your daughters to get in touch with these “eligible bachelors” so that they can catch a big fish in the net. So smart na. If not arranged marriage, then arrange a marriage.

The current conversion of dowry to “gift” is so convenient. Instead of cash, now parents ask for fridges, ACs, bikes, cars, etc. And its an accepted norm. Even if not specified, it is assumed by both ends that something will be provided on the day of the marriage. Some of you even conveniently time your request, asking for a “gift” right before the day of the wedding.   After all, it’s all for the girl itself!  Now which girl’s parent would want her marriage to break up a day before the wedding? If that happens, she will never find another match! Look at you blushing in glee. Of course, you know that. Smart asses you all have, don’t you. So, when I say you’re buying a legal prostitute for your son, does that anger you? Why shouldn’t it, this is a transaction for buying sex for your son, isn’t it?

Beloved parents, as much as your children love you, don’t think they are fooled by your “conservative” bent of thinking. And unfortunately for you, today women are becoming educated in the right way. And they talk. Much to your dismay. Leave your sons unmarried folks, because one day a woman like me might just become a victim of your machinations, but will not be put down by your daily nonsense. If you think your methods will carry on for generations to follow, then I am sorry to say uncles and aunties, this is the 21st century. We have better things to do. And your daughters obviously don’t want their daughters treated like garbage bags. But then, you all are caring, you will pressurise your daughter to produce a son after marriage to please her in-laws, won’t you? Ole le. And you think that’s so adorable ain’t it. You’re fulfilling your duties as a parent even after marriage.

Hoped you loved my letter and I am assuring you there will be more to follow 🙂

Jai Hind.

And please don’t watch the new All India Bakchod video on marriages and laugh your asses off if you can’t get the satire. Idiots.

feminism · Indian Woman's Musings

The irony of being a Feminist

I have been associated with many colourful people in my life, but the one’s who completely, totally piss me off (mind my language), are women who have absolutely no direction in life and are completely and totally obsessed with living off their husband’s money and identity.

Is this a new age feminism? I don’t know. Feminism is such a difficult term to define. I have seen women who claim to be feminists, but don’t think twice before abusing another woman. Is this what society has degenerated into?

Feminism is about liberation, not only from the shackles of stereotypification, but liberation from the thinking that women are the ‘inferior’ race. Feminism is not about you and me, its about humanity. What the irony of today’s day and age is that women are misusing the term feminism in every way possible.

There are women who call themselves feminists, and then state that they will change their surname, because their father asked them to. There are women who will call themselves feminists, but rush at the first opportunity of finding a nice, “well settled” guy and settle down – and use his identity for attributing her ‘success’. And there are also women who abuse men at every opportunity, even using her privileges as a woman to file wrong cases of sexual abuse against him and his family. There are women who sit at home doing absolutely nothing and then pressurize their husbands to earn more money to fulfil their ‘wishes’. There are women out there who create so much trouble at home that their husbands have to finally shut up to prevent further fights and finally the woman gets her way, all the time.

And sadly, I have seen such women in my own family, and in outside associations. There is a saying, ‘charity begins at home’, but I believe women are upholding the reins of patriarchy within the family. If they don’t change, nothing will.

I am fortunate to understand this distinction between the right form of feminism and the wrong one, and I completely attribute credit to my mother for enlightening me on this.

I believe women have been wronged – and are still wronged, in every way possible, but in urban households nowadays, women are empowered individuals. They are educated, liberated and free- thinking individuals. And with great power comes great responsibility. If we are enlightened, it is not for promoting “our” interests, it is for making the society a better place to live in. We don’t have to abuse men at every step or abuse their families, we need to learn to compromise and live together with everyone.

Sadly, every compromise is seen as a sacrifice by women nowadays. And I believe education at the grass root level is at blame for it.

A lot of us women are products of mothers who have left their jobs or careers to bring us up. A lot of us are also products of working mothers. But more or less, we have grown up seeing our mothers ‘sacrifice’ something for the family and regretting it later. Every girl wants a better life than her mother, but we need to understand that every man brought up in the world is not brought up to disrespect women or to subjugate them to violence, or to make them sacrifice everything for a career.

Men too have lives, they too have families. And yes, men do have emotions. And women should not play with it. There is always a thin line between compromise and sacrifice and couples can always talk their way through things, instead of fighting. And women don’t need to drag every thing to the court, or blame it on the boy’s family- sometimes, we need to grow up and take responsibility for ourselves. I believe feminism is getting lost in this vortex of confusion and it is extremely disheartening to see how it is being misused in this war against the male race.

I have had days in life when I cursed myself for being a woman. I know that there will come a point in my life when I will want children, and I will have to sacrifice some goals or dreams for those little bundles of joy. But being a woman is being fortunate- you get to be a mother and see your own children grow. No dream can eclipse this feeling. And yes, some amount of compromise is needed in life to become a complete person. We can’t go around blaming the men for it. Nowadays, even men want to help women with bringing up children, even men want to support women in their dreams. As women we get to be mothers – getting unconditional love from children. But it is sad to see some women attributing childbirth as a bane in their career. We need to get over this feeling of being a woman and move on to considering everyone a human.

That’s what feminism is.

I understand that a lot of people might get extremely offended by what I wrote in the earlier paragraphs, but I am just trying to state the cause of feminism. And feminism is not about the assertion of female superiority. Don’t make a man lose his job just because he touched your hand by mistake in office – understand that sexual harassment rules shouldn’t be bent for taking revenge. But yes, any man who touches a woman inappropriately without her permission should not be allowed to walk free. But what is this level of ‘inappropriation’ needs to be defined by women. And it should not be defined as a mere touch of the hand.

Women don’t have to commit the same mistakes men did centuries ago. Instead of asserting ‘female dominance’, women need to understand who they are, and love themselves for it. Don’t try and look for an ‘appropriate husband’, try and make your own identity and then look for a man who can share that identity with you.

Women who don’t study, or receive enlightenment, and then marry and threaten their husbands with Section blah blah blah of the Constitution are simply not feminists. One needs to understand that one is not the only one with a ‘family’ – the man on the other side also has a family and abusing him and making his mother, sister or father suffer isn’t going to lead to a better situation within the family. Yes, if a woman is abused by her mother in law, or sister in law, then definitely one needs to retaliate, but what in those situations where no one does anything and still a fuss is made out of a situation? Mother- in- laws and daughter- in- laws are perpetually considered enemies – can’t there be a happier way to resolve issues, rather than mentally harassing everyone every time?

Feminists don’t misuse freedom, they use it for their betterment and for the betterment of others. Start with the family. Maybe that might change things.