My trip was quite educational for my mom-She discovered my thongs, my drinking more than “just wine”, my un–Hindu–un–brahmin meat-devouring relapse and my fondness for the occasional hookah. Talk about surpriiiiise!
My parents are closet anti-conservatives in that they are unorthodox even though they pretend not to be, if that makes any sense. I realised this only when my uncle interpreted this for me by pointing out that my folks had never forced me to do anything. ever.
Knowing that my parents were and always had been on my side (even when I made mistakes) felt really good. I guess some families grow up and evolve with their daughters. That’s a heartening thought.
So anyway, when I saw this tag from my favorite punkster and fellow-evil-feminist-ogre-Satan-worshipping-chalu–sistah, I was only too happy to be tagged! At the outset, let me just say that this is the Juice and not some sorry-ass apologetic pathetic space, that Jups enjoys male-bashing with a perverse pleasure because when it comes to male-bashing, Jups is right and the men never have anything worthwhile to say in their defence. Hence the perverse pleasure that can only come with unabashed arrogance.
Five things which feminism has done for me:-
1. Bullshit Radar/ Bullshit X-ray vision
Feminism has taught me to see through the terrific bullshit that men are so good at concocting. Men are not only capable of churning out the finest quality of terrific bullshit, but they are also adept at disguising it under the pretexts of care, love, help and other forms of patronising concerned emotions. Sometimes, you miss these cheap (and rapid) insults because they are sugar-coated to no end and even your friends can be guilty of this. You can identify these responses promptly- they (a) insult your intelligence, (b) offer you help in correcting your shortcomings and (c) usually end with a “dear”.
Example: “Oh noooo, ummm.. I don’t think you should do *insert beneficial action*, in my shitty dimwitted opinion perhaps you’re better off doing *some other shit* instead, dear”.
(Yeah I know, you’re welcome)
Well sorry darling, I know you love me but whatever you’re selling, I ain’t buying.
Because the Jups needs help only in two departments- reaching things that are higher than her head and crossing the road.
2. The removal of guilt/ the manifestation of power
Feminism tells me to feel guilty, apologetic and ashamed neither of being a woman nor of my achievements just because I am not a man. I am better than a lot of men I know and I know that threatens them no end. I know men can’t handle me because I challenge their definitions of what a woman should be like. Yeah I have fifty shoes and I’m into the arts and I do happen to be in the know about most things. Tough luck. Men don’t like women who don’t need them. I know where my next fix is coming from. Heck, I’ve been told by some men that I am too rich for their liking. So you like your girls dependent and poor so you can buy their “allegiance” or subservience. Tough luck again. This is also why I don’t take drinks from skeeves (note that I say skeeves, not friends) especially the lowlifes who have no idea that I can outdrink them ten times over. Fuck that shit, I’ll buy the next round.
3. Respect for women
Feminism has corrected my views on the flesh trade and porn-stitution. It has demonstrated how the men have convinced so many of us that it is the fault of the women involved. Andrea Dworkin’s writings have moved me to tears. Day after day for centuries, women and girl children are beaten, battered, bitten, tortured, sold and enslaved like they were cattle or even lesser priced commodities and somehow we’d like to think that they intended it to be so. Even women believe that the women are to be blamed. Don’t believe what the men tell you. Of course it’s easier to point a finger at the stripper or the prostitute. Of course it’s easier to claim that it is her will and her desire. But remember that there is no supply without demand and not vice versa. And did you actually bother to ask her before shamelessly qualifying her choices (or lack thereof) ? Excuses are for apologists- “it happens to men too”, “she chose to do it”,”she was asking for it” are examples of such retardation.
Maltreatment of women demands sympathy and resolution, not excuses. Feminism is about the former.
For the proverbial record, I am dead against prostitution and pornography of all sorts and severity, so don’t ever say to me “But I thought a girl like you would be cool with it”; not unless you want my handbag full in your face. It’s not “cool”- do you even know what cool means?
4. My Body, My clothes, My prerogative
This is probably self-explanatory but every dick on the planet would have you believe that the way you dress determines whether or not you are exploited. I blatantly disagree. Feminism has broadened my vision and my wardrobe and I refuse to be responsible for any fantasies that may be a perverse by-product of my presence. I also refuse to wear minimizers because “otherwise it’s too provocative”. (I call this existential provocation)
Society wants you to cover up because that is what makes society comfortable. Well too bad, because in the sweltering heat, shortshorts make me comfortable. Have you read the My Skirt poem from the Vagina Monologues? You should. Women with lower neck-lines don’t necessarily have low self-esteem. And I wear sexy clothes and go dancing because I like doing just that. I refuse to qualify my intentions. Whatchagonnadoaboutit?
5. My life and liberation
Feminism has taught me to understand the fear that comes from being a woman without being debilitated by it. It has given me the courage to leave my country and my family, dismiss my comfort zone and pursue my dreams; even if that dream is as minuscule as going to Amsterdam alone (yeah, even with Damrach okay?). With mild persuasion, it has kept me unmarried and childless up until now. The quality of my life is unaffected by the lifespan of my ovaries and I am thankful for that. Of course family has a part to play but social education is a slow process and feminism has played a big role in that process. So I am glad my parents were the not the retarded sort who say “NO PHONE CALLS FROM BOYS”. Open-mindedness begins at home.
In what still is predominantly a man’s world, feminism has liberated me in more ways than one. It’s easy to take it for granted, and it’s easy to diss feminists. If you didn’t know any better.
Does talking, hell even ranting about it help? We have come a long way and we’ve realised what we are capable of. Education and franchise were not privileges to women of the past but they are afforded to us now. So who knows? Maybe someday freedom from rape could be added to our list of liberties?
Over to Casablanca to spread the word.