Dear author

This is my response to a letter I got in response to my previous post about racism and marginalisation of the experiences and issues of women of colour in the feminist movement by the person who actually made the comments which I talk about there. The whole letter is shared here, part by part (and enclosed in quotation marks), and my response right below each part, with a note of my own at the end – not included in my response to the letter writer. I thought I should share since it deals with a few questions many might have. The letter started with “Dear author of [the name of my post]”

“I’m sorry that I made those claims that were so offensive to you about the image of the young woman of South East Asian decent being Islamophobic and later Orientalism, while also accusing you of white privilege. I’m truly sorry that I allowed my white privilege to get ahead of trying to understand your social location.”

Thank you for apologising. I appreciate it. I was apprehensive you would ignore it and jump in to defend yourself. I should’ve expected more than such a negative response, you being a feminist would know more than most others about different forms of privilege. However, I have met many feminist women who did not accept any privilege(s) they might have due to race, class, being cis, etc; I think it is not wholly unwise of me to be wary.

“My misinterpretations of your intentions has all to do with reading your imagine solely from my social location and set of beliefs. I strongly believe in questioning the dominant culture, but I try to be wary of colonialism in my own words and the words of others. I would never say one culture is better than another, never demand another culture end its cultural practice, and maybe that’s too politically correct of me, but I’ll take the risk.”

Yes, I can understand why you (and countless others) do that. You are entrenched in privilege; you are used to seeing things YOUR way, you and your problems being the default – be it on social networking sites, blogs, discussion forums, etc – with a token piece on Asian/African problems. Sometimes. And even then, can’t be too harsh, can it? I also appreciate that you try to question and be wary of your own privileges. That is good – and more than most do. Yes, all cultures are different. And of course you shouldn’t go about telling cultures to stop their practices (I sure wouldn’t go to a beach and tell people “dress how my culture dresses, you indecent people!”)
Not that they are, I don’t judge people on their clothes and I wish most people thought that way. However, there is a difference between a “cultural practice” and human rights violations. I won’t say “Hey, y’know what? That pro-life stand? It is totally American culture. Let me not condemn it or try to raise awareness of the horrible laws being passed.”

Perhaps it will not matter much, because online feminist spaces are largely monopolised by first world countries and you may say “OK, go on – do it. I won’t stop you”. See, it won’t matter much to you – you are privileged enough to know that even if I don’t speak out, there will be many more who will because (and I’m repeating myself) the online feminist spaces are largely monopolised by first world countries. And here is the basic difference. You can afford to have a few people not speak out. I can’t. I can’t afford to have every attempt of mine to talk about my issues silenced, I can’t afford to have my culture’s issues not talked about, I can’t afford to have people, even if they are not willing to talk, shut me up from talking and not giving me enough space to have my voice heard. I can’t afford any of that. I can’t afford to NOT have a voice when a woman in India is raped every 30 min, a crime against a woman is committed every 3 min, where a woman dies a dowry-related death every 70 min (approx) [and these were the statistics in 2006], apart from marital rape STILL not being criminalised because apparently Indian families would be shattered, foetuses are aborted everyday simply BECAUSE THEY ARE FEMALE, infants are killed right after their birth (or within a few days or weeks at the most) because they are female, the mortality rate for girl children (up to 5 yrs of age) in India is 40% higher than boy children, a vast majority of females are not sent to school because they are females, even in “privileged” classes, and of that small minority who are educated, few become qualified to the extent males are (“who would want such an educated girl?”), even poverty-stricken people somehow send the boy child to school, but not the girl (because, after all, the boy is going to look after and earn for the parents in their old age, and will also “bring a wife” to do all the housework, she will be a baby-making machine and a sex slave, with sexual exploitation by family members as well, and even if she DOES complain, which she probably won’t because it is a matter of her “honour”, the Indian judicial system will do bullshit to help her, i.e., IF it goes to the judicial system and does not remain stuck in the “I filed an F.I.R” stage and the consequent moral lecture by the police – the girl is the property of her husband and his family) and add to that the pay gap, constant objectification as a sex object, being thought of as lesser than human who needs her husband/brother/father/son/closest male relative to make her decision for her, her “honour” being associated with the family’s – more specifically the males in the family’s “honour”, stricter gender roles than you can ever imagine, more internalised misogyny than you have ever seen, forced to marry, conceive, abort if the foetus is female, conceive again, abort again, sold off if she turns out to be “useless” or killed, harassed constantly for dowry, forced to put her needs after everybody in the family (and the larger society’s ideas of propriety), and SO MANY OTHER THINGS. I don’t even know from where I should start addressing these issues. And unlike in first world countries, such restrictions are not mostly psychological restraints, these are REAL, material restraints where you can be KILLED for deviating from social norms, where most women do not even have the basic means for emancipation, do not even know they have human rights, that their life is valuable too. Add to those MRAs and Save Indian Family foundation, an “organisation of harassed husbands”, who wish to turn the clock back on WHATEVER LITTLE HAS BEEN ACHIEVED.
You would never demand that other cultures’ practices end even when they so grossly violate a human life’s integrity? Forget about the whole race issue for a while; do you not feel that you have an ethical duty to protest against this? Please don’t endorse these crimes, because that is what you’re doing under the guise of “culture”. This is what plenty of people in India do too, they endorse it in the name of “culture” and “tradition”. You have a voice, an elite minority here has a voice. They do not. Please do not inadvertently support the misogynists, patriarchs, and sexists here.
Now, I’m not asking you to be patronising to women of colour, or speak for them but at the very least you can support them? And by the way, protesting against human rights violations does not mean patronising. Protest against them, listen to us on how we protest, what ways we figure out to fight such practices (telling us how to fight The Patriarchy – unique in its manifestations in this part of the world – more violent than most other places, how to solve these issues is patronising), but fight we must, protest we must, not endorse it with “culture”.

“I posted on that image because I have seen numerous images like it held up by white people here at home, I have heard there meaning behind it and there is nothing subtle about it. I am a racist because I am white in a white-privileges society and could do so much more to speak out against racial oppression and discrimination when all to often I fall silent. I am sorry that the time I thought I could speak up, was the time I was absolutely wrong to do so.”

You know what? In India, we have Muslims and Hindus at each others’ throats all the time (“oh, look at the criminal’s name! Those Muslims/Hindus are all like that!”). I know how it feels when another community is targeted and it is implied (and sometimes said out loud) that whatever misogyny/sexism, etc is prevalent is due to some intrinsic vice the community has. Like no amount of laws, education, change can help the society be anything BUT misogynist/sexist/racist/casteist, like it is something inextricably moulded into the genes of the people from a particular community. It is wrong, and liberals realise it. What often happens after that is that we try to defend any/all actions done by the community in the name of “culture”, “traditions”, “who are you to say they can’t do that? Bigot!”. That is also wrong. The right way to approach it would be to recognise that there is nothing biologically wrong with the people of a particular community which influences them to act this way, but that currently, the community/nation/religion does act in a misogynist/sexist/bigoted manner, and the violation of human rights is socially sanctioned by the particular group, and it is our ethical duty to protest that, to fight that, to support our sisters in the fight.
Will you see me saying “oh, FGM is in their culture, I do not believe in telling other cultures to end their practices, I’m politically correct, I can’t help it!”?
Absolutely NOT. I also do not believe in telling other cultures what to do/wear, etc. I do not believe in saying “just stop wearing dresses, STOP IT”. You know what I also don’t believe in? Endorsing human rights violations in the name of “culture” and/or turning a blind eye towards it. It is not only you (unknowingly or not) who does that. Many people in this part of the world also do that. And that contributes much to the tolerance of such abominable violence.

“You are absolutely right to call me on my limited knowledge, and cultural biases — I know they exist. I am sorry for offending you, and by extension all women of colour who have fought to end there unique gender and racial oppressions. I’m truly sorry at how misdirected my comments were.

In future, how do you think I should react to such imagery?”

I hope you did not take anything as a personal insult (saying this feels weird, you should not be insulted by me expressing my views on how such violence is endorsed by first world feminists too [other than the usual people who simply do not care about a woman and her struggles], just like a man should not feel insulted when he learns about male privilege and how he knowingly or not, endorses the current social order).

I think you will find the answer to that question in previous paragraphs. Hopefully, we feminists can work together in the future, supporting each other and women of colour will stop being silenced, their issues will stop being marginalised, the misogyny they face will stop being endorsed.

A note:

I have often read about how “warm and welcoming” the “arms of feminism” are, but.. does that hold true for only white, cis women?
I used to feel joy and pride whenever I read such statements – when I didn’t speak about such issues. But, now? I don’t know… is this whole “feminism realises and includes the experience of women regardless of whether they are lesbian/trans/women of colour etc “ just a sick pretence where basically very few things have changed in practice from the time it was mainly a white, heteronormative, middle-class movement?
I’m starting to wonder.

This entry was posted on August 30, 2012. 2 Comments

RACISM IN THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT : IT TOTALLY EXISTS!

Hi, everyone. I uploaded a picture on my page the other day. Pretty normal, huh? I run a page on Facebook. Yep. Normal. Please check out the image I posted. I was accused of… wait for it… ISLAMOPHOBIA!!!!!
Yep, you heard that right. Apparently I was being Islamophobic when I posted that (because, duh, she is totally wearing a burqa… or wait… is that a hijab?!!).
When asked what made her think the post targeted Muslims or Islam, she said “I take back Islamophobia, on first glance the vale blended into her hair and I thought I saw a burqa. But I will not back down that this still is charged with a lot of ethnic imagery. Going out on a limb here but this image has a whole lot of white privilege. Furthermore, by displaying a woman of SE Asian decent you are perpetuating Orientalism — making Eastern cultures seem crude and barbaric.”
Ok, first of all – even if the vale blended into her hair, that would not be a burqa. That would be a HIJAB (protip: do your research). And yes of course this is charged with “ethnic” imagery! That is because in the countries where females are denied education due to institutionalised sexism, most of them dress this way. What would you prefer? Shorts? That is an option, obviously, if you want to exercise White Privilege by dictating how other cultures be represented in social media. Guess “ethnic imagery” is too sensitive for your tastes, huh? Are you unwilling to accept and/or recognise the brutal and violent sexism present in other countries? Scares you? Makes Eastern cultures seem “crude” and “barbaric”? How did you come to that conclusion from that picture? I do not think the picture in any way insinuated that. I think it insinuates the sexism present in Eastern cultures is crude and barbaric. Don’t you agree? You don’t? Why? Scared of being “politically incorrect”? Maybe a lot of people have jumped on you claiming ISLAMOPHOBIA when you were criticising Islam or “Eastern” cultures’ sexism. Maybe someone said you had White Privilege (therefore, you OBVIOUSLY can’t talk about it as well).
Here is the thing – I can speak out and it is really FRUSTRATING that I can’t speak out without all these allegations.
See, when they accuse me of “white privilege” it is really funny ’cause according to me they’re biased in thinking mostly white people run sites on FB and only first world feminist problems can be talked about without such criticism. Why don’t we see Christianophobia (is there a name for this?) as much as Islamophobia? Truth be told, I have seen people engage in virulent attacks against Christianity and they are encouraged (yay! Speak up! Someone needs to tell them the truth, whoopee!!) but whenever people criticise Islam, we see cries of ISLAMOPHOBIA, ORIENTALISM, WHITE PRIVILEGE.
I mean, yeah, I know, Islamophobia and stuff are problems – I’ve seen it a lot of times. BUT people just need to accept the truth about what happens in other parts of the world without tagging it as some form of hate. Like, most people do know the difference between hate propaganda and criticism, you know. This article, for instance.
There is also a difference between discriminating against someone because of their religion and criticising aspects of their religion.
I feel so angry when I see all this. Like, what’s the point of being active on the net if the problems in India and such can’t be spoken about without being “politically correct” when I DON’T WANT TO. INDIA IS WAY WORSE THAN FIRST WORLD COUNTRIES.
I have no interest in being “politically correct” if it means sugar-coating issues.
How can the problems be corrected if no one is even willing to acknowledge the true extent of the problems and most attempts to address such issues are silenced (almost)? STOP shaming people for speaking out against such issues. STOP marginalising women of colour and their lived experiences. I have LIVED this stuff. Yeah, I know I was born in a comparatively privileged class BUT it is only COMPARATIVELY.
For example, my father’s friend’s wife told my mum not to let me be educated much when they were talking about their children’s future plans regarding education (she has three daughters), or I might get “out of hand” and my mum was totally shocked (she’s a moderate feminist).
If even the so called privileged class think this way, think of the majority of the population living in such countries where virulent misogyny is acceptable, ironically under the guise of “culture”. Do you still say a “culture” which condones such sexism is not “crude” and “barbaric”?
If you’re not comfortable speaking about it (for whatever reasons), please DO NOT SHAME OTHER PEOPLE FOR DOING SO. It marginalises me because right now, my experiences are “othered”. People automatically assume pages on Facebook are run by white people and “we” shouldn’t talk about “their” issues. I’m a woman suffering under patriarchy too. This attitude does a disservice to me by saying my problems are too “complex” and “politically incorrect”.
Obviously, I don’t want anyone acting like a saviour, and I’m not asking for that. I just want you to recognise that my experiences are just as valid as yours, my problems are just as valid, and criticising the culture which promotes such misogyny IS JUST AS VALID. I never heard someone tell me I cannot criticise Republicans because I’m not white or not American.
We better fix this if we want people to rush into “the warm and welcoming arms of Feminism”.

Concluding this with a few comments from an awesome person I friended on Facebook.
“..This innocent photo is Islamophobia? As a woman of color, take your white privilege elsewhere and stop condescending to us women of color. How dare you deny patriarchal oppression of eastern religions under the guise of orientalist pretentions?”
“…among the top 10 places that are horrible for women–Islamic country figure far more prominently than others.

//Going out on a limb here but this image has a whole lot of white privilege. Furthermore, by displaying a woman of SE Asian decent you are perpetuating Orientalism — making Eastern cultures seem crude and barbaric.//

Ever thought that the admin here is actually a woman from a South Asian country who isn’t white? Stop imposing your shitty ideological hackery on us women of color. Don’t tell us how we protest patriarchy in our cultures”
“…so naive, uninformed, dripping with white privilege and ridiculous that they think any brown woman with a dupatta/chadar is automatically a Muslim.
Racist stereotyping much here btw? How do they know this isn’t a Sikh, Christian, Hindu or Bahai girl? I guess all us brown people are the same!
We shouldn’t be protesting the oppression of women of color in own culture even though the misogyny is far more prevalent than anywhere in the west, and comes in the most violent, virulent form that most westerners can’t even fathom?”

I’m really angry. And I don’t give a flying fuck if you think this post is “too angry” or I seem “too angry” because I am ANGRY at the marginalisation of my experiences and assertions that all oppression is the same – there are varying degrees of oppression! It is not going to hurt you to accept that. I’ve always considered Feminism as empowering and cool and beautiful. But I guess nothing is perfect.

This entry was posted on August 22, 2012. 9 Comments

What feminists fight against

What do feminists fight against? Teh menz? Teh wimminz who are straight? Teh natural ordrz?

If you’re like my mom, you’re a little confused. As a matter of fact, she was the inspiration for this post.

She told me “I know you’re going to be offended by what I have to say, but really, you’re not a man – nobody will cook and clean for you while you do your job”.

I admit, I was a little irritated – like, what was the point of saying that? She apparently meant well. The meaning was something like this “yeah, I know you want equal rights for everyone – but the world ain’t all that rosy. Men ARE in a position of social dominance – don’t think the world is equal yet”.

To which, my flabbergasted mind could only respond “I KNOW!”. Most feminists know that. Oopsie. Looks like my mamma didn’t get the hang of this whole feminism thing. She was scared I’d get angry because I had a royal fit when her sister told me once while my legs were dangling, “Stop doing that! It is still acceptable when boys do that, you’re a girl!”

Seems like she didn’t get the difference between these two things.

If you’re confused like my mum, this will be helpful for you. Disclaimer: when I use the term “feminist(s)”, please put [many] in front of that.

Ok.

Feminists do know that in patriarchal societies, men as a group are privileged. See? Even my mum knows this. If I was a man, my wife would automatically be expected to cook and clean for me while I go about doing my job (what? All men don’t want to do a job, you say? Blasphemy!)

Anyway, feminists know this. This is what we fight against. Patriarchy. [All] gender roles. Gendered expectations. Gender binary.

Also, you know what we hate? Obstacles. What are the obstacles we face while doing our bit to smash patriarchy? Sentences like these – “Stop doing that! It is still acceptable when boys do that, you’re a girl!”

Why? Because these sentences (and the attitudes which come with it) UPHOLD and PERPETUATE the essence of what we are against.

A century ago, most people would not accept the fact that the group of people termed “women” could have many individuals who would find fulfilment in jobs and would not find much satisfaction in raising children or marriage (in fact, many people have much difficulty now as well).  Likewise, is it so hard to imagine that the gender “men” has many individuals would live to stay at home and raise children? Who would love to cook and nurture a family? Is it? Why? Have you ever considered the fact that maybe so many men and women, girls and boys fit into this stereotype we have of both genders is more due to the fact that they are brought up to be this way rather than nature? That girls are brought up to love pink and boys blue? That girls and boys are taught their respective roles by the society, toys, films, books, comics, fairy-tales, actions, etc and are restricted from exploring their full potential due to the same? No? Then, why are so many people intent on creating this gendered environment? If it were really the work of nature, then why are so many people scared of bringing their children up in an androgynous environment where children would have a chance of honing their talents and finding what they are really interested in? Are they afraid “nature” will get screwed up?

It is easy. They KNOW it is not nature, that is simply an excuse, nature can’t be outwitted as easily as they would like us to be believe.

It is NOT nature. It is socialisation.

I have seen many posts and images disseminating the message that feminists hate masculine/feminine* qualities (depends on the website – some say masculine, some say feminine). Ok, here’s the thing – we DON’T hate masculine or feminine* qualities. We don’t. Really. We only hate this whole socialisation process we have right now which restricts us on the basis of our sex (which is associated with a gender) as to what we should wear, which movies/books/stories we should like, which colour(s) we should love, the way we should act, the emotions (or lack of the same) we should feel, etc etc etc.

Feminists are often very aware of how our choices might be affected by how WE were socialised as well. Like, I love a particular thing but how much of it is my own choice and how much of it is influenced by gendered socialisation? For example – I’m a woman and I absolutely LOVE (shades of) purple and I like pink as well. BUT I realise that my likes might have been affected by the expectations/environment in which I grew up in, by the media – the cartoons I watched, the stories I heard, etc. I also consciously make an effort to explore different colours and combinations of the same (and movies, and books and loads of other stuff). Why? Because I might miss out on a totally awesome (for me!) colour (and movies, and books and loads of other stuff)!!!

Yes, I realise, it may seem a little frightening to some. Like, you’ve spent most of your life liking/loving a particular thing/colour/etc and then you find out that if not for the conventional way of gendered socialisation, you may have liked different things??? Uhmmm…

Yes, you may not start luvinnn’ something you’re not so keen on (I still don’t like science or math much), BUT you may discover awesome stuff too!

Feminists also don’t like how people are judged on conventional norms and ideals of beauty which are socially constructed. I will elaborate on this in a different post. Also, Hygiene =/= conventional norms of beauty (many people have these two confused). And we don’t hate people who are conventionally attractive.

Feminists believe in the full humanity of people while acknowledging that there are certain social structures in place which prevent us from reaching our full potential, from being fully humane, from being US.

So, I hope you have a rough idea of what feminists dislike/fight against by now.

I had a great time ranting, hope you had a great time reading as well!

* qualities thought of as masculine/feminine [which change according to different cultures and time periods]

Denying Patriarchy Exists

“Dowry victim wants death for herself and daughter.”

Twenty nine year old Alpana Pandey, who hails from a poor family in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has written to the President of India, to allow euthanasia for her and her 5-year-old daughter. The reason – she and her daughter have been deserted by her husband because her family could not furnish the dowry he demanded.

Alpana married Alok Pandey in 2005 and at the time of the marriage, her family had given some gold and money as dowry. In 2006, a year after her marriage, Alpana’s husband and her father-in-law allegedly began pressurising her to give a dowry of Rs 10 lakh. When Alpana’s father said that he could not afford to give such a large amount, she was allegedly starved by her husband’s family. According to the social worker, it was at this time that they came to know of her pregnancy. Her father-in-law insisted that she go in for a sex-determination test and when they found out that the foetus was female, Alpana was thrown out of her marital home. She and her daughter have since been living with her parents.

Alpana and her family wanted the in-laws to take her and the child back, but these pleas were ignored. Alok married another woman without divorcing Alpana and moved to Lucknow. Though Alpana has filed a complaint with the police and even met with the District Magistrate and the district Police chief, they have allegedly ignored her petition and no case has yet been filed.

According to Alpana, she sent the letter to the President seeking permission for euthanasia so that she and her daughter can end their sufferings. “I have lost faith in the legal system,” she said. (read full report here)

 

“Assam: Congress MLA Rumi Nath beaten up for alleged bigamy”

Thirty-three-year-old Congress MLA from Barak Valley (Assam) Rumi Nath was on Friday night thrashed by a hundred-strong mob at a Karimganj hotel. Rumi has invited the wrath of various groups for allegedly leaving her first husband and 2-year-old daughter and eloping and marrying her Facebook friend, 28-year-old Zakir Hussain.

Rumi had gone to meet her father on Friday when the incident happened.

What is even worse is that there has been no police action in the case almost 12 hours since the mob attack on the woman and her second husband. Rumi’s bodyguards too were beaten up by the angry crowd. (from here)

 

To those who say patriarchy (and all the hypocrisy and “traditions” which go with it) does not exist in India, where do you live? 

Under a rock?

 

 

 

This entry was posted on August 10, 2012. 2 Comments

Women and Patriarchy

Once, while online on Facebook, I saw a status which went along the lines of – “My mother works so hard! This year, for her birthday, I’ll marry and gift her a bride to help her out.”

Shocked? Don’t be. In this post, I’m going to talk about women’s contribution in perpetuating patriarchy.

So, how do women, as a gender and a social group contribute towards upholding the poisonous social structure of patriarchy?

First things first, let me clear up some things – just because a person belongs to a particular gender (or sex), the person doesn’t have an intrinsic biological need to uphold a particular system. What, then?

The answer is socialisation.

Yes, women ARE being oppressed – far more than men (yes, men are restricted as well – I will talk about that later – that deserves a completely different post). HOWEVER, if women follow the rules, they are rewarded as well (positive reinforcement – that is why it is so hard for many women to let go of their patriarchal leanings).

We see a glaring example here –

RULE – Give birth to a son

REWARD – Get pampered and served by the wife of the son – your troubles will end! Just think! You can finally boss and suppress a woman like you were and free all of that bitter resentment you had in your heart. You will be respected and even better, you can boss the wife’s family as well!

Another example might be –

RULE – Stick with your husband no matter your feelings, your wants and/or needs.

REWARD – You are accepted socially! You won’t have to face those uncomfortable questions, you won’t face social stigma, your parents won’t be shamed, their social standing (as well as yours, of course!) will not decrease, you may even be exalted as “the perfect wife” or “the perfect daughter-in-law” (but only if you work hard enough, mind you!)

Another one –

RULE – Sex is not a womanly need (or want) so stop thinking about it. You do not have needs, only men do.

REWARD – You won’t be called a whore and humiliated and stigmatised (you’re really dumb if you think women want it too. That’s just feminist propaganda. Socialised to think of sex as bad? What? It IS dirty, duh).

OK, last one –

RULE – Don’t strive for equal status.

REWARD – You’ll always be attractive to men (everybody knows being equal is such a turn off!), you won’t be thought of as a butch lesbian (go, homophobia!), men will always treat you as their princess (forget the domestic violence stats! You’re special, doll!).

And now we see the effects of such positive reinforcement –
Female foeticides, female infanticides, institutionalised neglect, women going back to their torturers, dowry deaths, physical, mental and sexual abuse – suffering silently, bride trafficking, sexual repression, etc.

BTW have you noticed how anti-feminist propaganda targets mainly straight females (OMG butch lesbians!) and convincing everyone that the value a particular thing or ideology has can only be judged on the basis of its (men) attracting capacity?

Of course there are many other ways women, as a gender, are given incentives to perpetuate patriarchy as well. These are just some examples. Can you think of any other examples? Comment if you think of any!

Yes, being a woman in a patriarchy is hard. The hardest, one might argue. Except being a feminist. Perhaps.

This entry was posted on August 8, 2012. 4 Comments

The death of Feminism

Is it really the death of feminism gender equality in India? Assuming, of course, it was there to begin with in the first place. I am assured of the fact that YES, it WAS. Don’t you notice those nude sculptures celebrating the human (mostly female) form? The “linga”, which is a celebration of the heterosexual union (which had the power to create new life). And not only heterosexual, homosexuality and female sexuality were accepted too, in the era of the Kamasutra. Females (and their ability to create new life) were celebrated and worshipped in a society which needed human resources.

People say feminism gender equality was awlll the rage earlier. I’m taking the views of these accomplished people at face-value for this post.

OK, so let us assume India was this total feminist equal-rights-giving country before.

What has happened now?

Why are men locking up their wife’s genitals? Of course, the criminal gave his answer – because many women in his family have strayed before. So, he thought it was perfectly acceptable to drill a hole in his wife’s vagina and lock it to prevent her from straying.

Why are rape-victims being killed? Shushed up? Does our “honour” reside in our genitals? Sexuality?

Cinema halls which had shows of a film depicting lesbian sexuality were ransacked by mobs claiming to uphold the same feminist equality endorsing culture.

Why did the people screaming about cultural degradation molest, strip, beat and almost rape a girl on a busy street?

What made them attempt to rape, beat, strip and try to murder a pregnant female politician?

What makes rival clans rape, strip, beat and pour acid on females of the other clan? Why is it considered a victory?

Why are females thought of as less than human?

 

What is this culture they are protecting here? When people talk about the women deserved what they got because it is Indian Culture, what CULTURE are they talking about?

A culture which represses sexuality (mostly female)?

A hypocritical culture, as it has become now?

A culture which treats women as second-class citizens?

A culture which can’t let people grow out of the rigid roles ascertained by their caste, class and gender?

A culture which endorses punishment for those who dare to live otherwise?

A culture which dehumanizes women?

A rape culture?

A culture where (female) bodies and sex are equated with shame?

Then why are we even defending this CULTURE?

And yes, we are defending it, in varying degrees, if we don’t speak out.

Speak out, talk, and shout if needed – you may have the chance of changing (at the very least) the thought processes of a couple of people.

And oh, don’t forget to remind them to speak out either!

Now repeat the following with me –

1)        RAPE (OR ANY OTHER KIND OF VIOLENCE) IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT

2)        ALL GENDERS ARE EQUAL*

3)        CHILDREN HAVE THE SAME HUMAN RIGHTS AS A GROWN-UP

4)        NOBODY SHOULD BE RESRICTED BY WHAT THE SOCIETY THINKS YOU “SHOULD” BE**

5)      SEX IS NOT BAD  OR SHAMEFUL

Any other points? I know I might have missed out on some 🙂

But ya got the drift, didn’t ya?

*Yeah, shocker, there are more than two genders! Also, a particular sex =/= a particular gender

** What you “should” be restricts you from what you could be or want to be or both

 

Also, FEMINISM isn’t a dirty word. Trust me. More on that in the posts to come 🙂Image

OVER IT. Over rape, misogyny, patriarchy.

I haven’t been blogging regularly, I know. The misogyny rampant everywhere saps my strength. First, beating up a female politician in my home state. Then, stripping and molesting a girl on a busy street.
It took a great toll on me and both are gruesome. The video of a pregnant woman beaten and kicked stays with you a long time, just like the video of a girl molested on a busy road.

It sickens me to stay in my state, my country these days… But that is fodder for another post.

I want to share a poem by Eve Ensler in this particular post.

OVER IT

I am over rape.
I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.
I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real names without shame.
I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.
I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny.
We just don’t think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.
I am over how long it seems to take anyone to ever respond to rape.
I am over Facebook taking weeks to take down rape pages.
I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.
I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice.
I am over rape happening in broad daylight.
I am over the 207 clinics in Ecuador supported by the government that are capturing, raping, and torturing lesbians to make them straight.
I am over one in three women in the U.S military (Happy Veterans Day!) getting raped by their so-called “comrades.”
I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.
I am over the fact that after four women came forward with allegations that Herman Cain groped them and grabbed them and humiliated them, he is still running for the President of the United States.
And I’m over CNBC debate host Maria Bartiromo getting booed when she asked him about it.
She was booed, not Herman Cain.
Which reminds me, I am so over the students at Penn State who protested the justice system instead of the alleged rapist pedophile of at least 8 boys, or his boss Joe Paterno, who did nothing to protect those children after knowing what was happening to them.
I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public.
I am over starving Somalian women being raped at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, and I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth, as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.
I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it’s their fault or they did something to make it happen.
I am over violence against women not being a #1 international priority when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime — the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself.
No women, no future, duh.
I am over this rape culture where the privileged with political and physical and economic might, take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it.
I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual exploiters — film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, movie stars, athletes — while the lives of the women they violated are permanently destroyed, often forcing them to live in social and emotional exile.
I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you? You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?
I am over years and years of being over rape. And thinking about rape every day of my life since I was 5-years-old. And getting sick from rape, and depressed from rape, and enraged by rape. And reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour of every single day.
I am over being polite about rape.
It’s been too long now, we have been too understanding.
We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office.
We need people to truly try and imagine — once and for all — what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered.
We need to let our rage and our compassion connect us so we can change the paradigm of global rape.
There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been violated. ONE BILLION WOMEN.
The time is now. Prepare for the escalation.
Today it begins, moving toward February 14, 2013, when one billion women will rise to end rape.
Because we are over it.

And I second Eve Ensler.

I tweet @Archsmta

This entry was posted on July 20, 2012. 2 Comments