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Being a feminist

Alternatively titled To not think feminism means being entitled in the times of Sheila Ki Jawani/Pour It Up/Insert relevant pop culture song.

Feminism is a dirty word for women of my generation. We snigger and loathe it quietly. Recently my organisation took up the task of workplace gender balance correction with great gusto. The men made in appropriate jokes about recruiting large number of women. But the women themselves? Well some of us were ashamed.

We don’t need special treatment. We are as good as the men aren’t we ? Glass ceiling ? What glass ceiling- the only ceiling I see is made of this nice woodwork.

feminism

And to a great extent it’s true. The lucky few of us who walk down these corridors have had it relatively easy. We have supportive families who gave us whatever they would give their sons, we cleared the right exams, got the right jobs, married supportive husbands, work in bias free environments.

But it still says something if I am still the only woman in a meeting room of 15. And yes and that’s why feminism is not a dirty word. We as a generation reaped the benefits of fight someone else put in on behalf of us. They where separate bathroom for women, gender sensitization courses and paid maternity leaves.

And this is about the maybe 0.001% of us who occupy managerial position in corporate. For majority of the women life hasn’t had this dramatic shift within two generations. But I will reserve my comments about the uphill task of women’s equality for some other day.

I believe in my capacity I can make it easier for women working with me. I can make boss-woman less of a novelty. And most importantly just because I got the handles to compete in less unequal field doesn’t undermine the struggles most of my gender goes through.

From one of my favorite books “How To Be A Woman” by Caitlin Moran

“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies?What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”

Word.

I wrote this years ago. I still find it as relevant now as on that day.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in life, rant, Uncategorized

 

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When the bill comes are you still a feminist?

Belated women’s day readers. The men need not worry,I am not going to start on a spittle inducing frothing at the mouth post on women’s right. In case you still have misgivings there is always the bright red cross on right top of screen.

Some days ago during random bakar with a friend he asked me “Do you like being a woman?I mean do you wish you were a boy?” For some time I stared at his face like an idiot. 10 years ago the answer to that question was as plain as daylight. But of course I hate being a girl, the weaker sex, make me a boy please..but things have changed over tha last decade and am no longer so sure. Of course there are times I go “Drat, I wish were a boy” but I have increasingly realised those are moments when I wish I were 3 times my bulk and musceles and was wishing to reduce some roadside romeo or smart alec to pulp.

So what gives you ask.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. There are hundreds of women who may have never seen the light of day,killed in their mother’s womb.There are millions who must be waking up each day lamenting their sex. There must be millions of parents who look at the face of their girl child and instead of feeling love must be feeling the reinforcement of a burden.

And then you could be lucky. you could be born in a well to do household with liberal parents. Liberal is a figure of speech of course. Sometimes the distictions are so minute, so well ingrained in the way of life that only an outsider can notice them. Like the science loving daughter opting for conventional arts and getting ready for marriage market while the really-no-Einstein son is sent abroad for a poor ROI MBA. The daughter is a friend of mine from a wealthy-upmarket family. She has never complained to me and would never feel any resentment for her brother. But as a childhood friend I do. Another brilliant friend who wasted a couple of years trying to get into a home state medical college because her parents wouldnt agree to send her to do a medical degree outside. And if these discriminations at home werent enough, random strangers with political clout are always there to put you into place.

This subtle discrimination happens daily. As a women you generally walk with your head down, calling least attention to self,trying to blend into your surroundings. If a group of men walk towards you, you circumvent them. You bundle with other women at the front of a bus.In a train you look for the upper birth and keep yourself there for a 52 hour journey. No eye contacts.

Then there are the not so subtle ones.The arranged marriage market. The social stigma of divorce-never mind a loser husband. The casual ease with which someone can label you a slut for wearing jeans.I can make this a post that never ends but lets not do that.

My personal worst years of my life,something I have tried to wipe away from my memory are my engineering days. Deep recalled our shared nightmare in her post here. Of course, sooner than later I have realised the root of most acrinomy is the green eyed monster. What you cant have..sully it for others-the fox did that to the grapes and we have losers with no brains or personality doing it with our morality. Of course living their lives in tiny self built wells they can only aspire for the life me and my girls have gone on to build for themselves. But sympathies for the women whose life they will proceed to ruin through arranged marriages.

I wanted to write a hapy post about the strength of being a woman and like but I guess I can start feeling the froth slowly.

What I have learnt from my painful experiance is when you cant change the rules play by them and get really good at them. Become so good at walking the tightrope that you do not fall.  I was reading Draupadi’s mahabharata and the more I read the more impressed I became. Here was a woman-a queen no less who was humiliated in front of her five husbands-not one but five of the greatest warriors of the time. Did she have her revenge? She had much more. And she played within the rules.You hate the glass ceiling? Reach it by playing within the rules, and then make sure the rule makers and forced to break it for you.I am not asking the women to be manipulative b**** from an Ekta Kapoor serial. Raise your voice against what is not just but choose your fights. And perhaps most importantly raise it united. What happens at a far away pub in Mangalore can also happen in your city with you.

I know a lot of what I have written may sound obtuse, well you know how woman’s brain work 🙂

XKCD gets it bang on again.

how_it_works

Oh and as for the topic, that’s another interesting question I have faced. I am a feminist with all men except the dad and the boy.In fact I often end up footing the whole bill! Yeah I am also the loser!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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