There She Goes Again…

Dear humans of the world,
You’re probably tired of hearing this, of seeing it splashed across a t-shirt in bold colours, of hearing the echoes in every high school/college corridor, of seeing it painted on giant canvases, on the back of a car, on a make-up bag, graffiti-ed onto walls, declared on grand stages to a conflicted audience.

I am a feminist.

I have a brother, a father, uncles I love with all my heart, I have friends of the male species who I will never trade for anything in the world. But I am a feminist.

I do not think all men are monsters who deserve to be castrated. I do not think all men are over-privileged brats, I do not think men have never been the victims. But I am a feminist.

Because you see these things are not mutually exclusive. To be a feminist isn’t about hating on men, or pointing out their flaws. In fact, it has very little to do with them. And maybe that’s why its misunderstood so. Yes, it has the word ‘fem’ in it, yes it focuses mostly on women.  But you see, it was not a choice. The feminist movement didn’t arise because someone woke up one day and decided they’d like some controversy to spice up their lives, it came about because it was needed. You can tell me this is a new age for women. You can tell me we have come a long way from the days where a widow was burned alive at the pyre along with her dead husband.

2000px-woman-power_emblem-svg

But can you honestly look 12 year old me in the eye as she tugged at her shirt while walking down the street to her cousin’s, not daring to make eye contact with anybody on the road lest they see it as an invitation: to come closer, to jeer, to casually brush against her shoulder. Can you face the girls in Saudi Arabia who died in a school fire in 2002, because the policemen refused to let them run out to safety since their heads weren’t properly covered, even beating them to make sure they acquiesced and tell them the feminist movement has been rendered obsolete? Speaking of Saudi Arabia, how about the fact that a woman has to be over 45 years of age to be allowed to travel without the consent of her male guardian (father, brother, husband). Can you call me a feminazi for wanting that to change?

Ah, change.

Continue reading “There She Goes Again…”

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We’re Not Simply a Sum of the Certificates We Got Just For Showing Up

He was apologizing profusely. I must’ve looked furious because he kept doing it. In reality, I was simply wondering about the things people do ‘profusely’. Does anyone ever do anything profusely (other than apologise)?

We’re a disenchanted bunch, the ‘Millennials’ as we have been dubbed, even though our definition seems up for debate, IPhoneand that wasn’t meant to sound wise and mysterious (ha! like, do you know me?), it’s just no one can decide who falls into that category and who doesn’t. Unburdened of any real objective or purpose, condescendingly referred to as worthless by some who’ve been around for much longer –“I fought in a war, he’s whiny about his iPhone being the wrong colour”– No great war. No great struggle. That seems to have been our crime. I don’t agree with that, though. I believe we’re constantly at war with ourselves—I don’t mean that in a grand philosophical sense, but just…I don’t know. Where was I?

At the garden. With him still yapping my ear off. I would listen, I truly would, but he never had anything to say. For someone with nothing to say, he spoke a great deal. I think that’s another thing wrong with us. Generation Y. We question too much. Perhaps it’s an incessant need to stay relevant, engaged, so we talk and talk, afraid if we stay quiet for too long, our voices will be forgotten and eventually lost among all the neglect and indifference. Generation Y seems fitting (oh the possibilities with that pun—both auditory and visual, Y sounds like why and looks like a road branching off into tw—I care not how lame you think that is! It is wonderfully clever! It is.) Curiosity is never a bad thing. But I think we question to compartmentalize. To decide which checkboxes are being ticked off and which are still mysteriously vacant. Perhaps I think too much.

Does anyone do anything profusely besides apologize?

People sweat. They sweat profusely. I realized he was doing that too under the hot sun out in the garden. I smiled suddenly and waved him into the house. Perhaps lemonade could shut him up for a while. It hardly even mattered, it’s not like I cared enough to still be upset about it.

We’re a disenchanted bunch.

Yours Truly,

sign-off

A Priest, A Rabbi and a Feminist Walked Into a Bar

Feminism does not constitute man-haters

Feminists do not look down upon pretty people.

Feminism is not about superiority. It is not a power play. Or a political card to be thrown in the face of your male contenders

Feminism is the desire in all of us to be just as good as the other—to be considered just as good as the other. Feminism is not the embodiment of men’s worst fears.

Feminism is…

Actually you know what, there is absolutely no way I can make this post sound sophisticated or proper so I’m  just going to come out and say it.

To all the pseudo-feminist girls out there: Feminism Is Not a Fashion Trend. It is not something you call yourself, simply to appear “smart” or relevant. You can’t go around yelling for women’s rights while batting your eyelashes at men and appearing helpless in order for them to think of you as ‘cute’.

Feminism is not the new black.

Calling yourself a feminist does not mean you have to mention the fact that it is a “male-dominated society” (even though it is, unfortunately) and then rant about the latest conspiracy against women, every chance you get. Because you see, when all is said and done, more is said than done.

That “not-like-other-girls” girl in that chick-flick who kept spouting off intelligent-sounding gibberish (and finally landed that guy) and kept ranting and hating on men is not what a feminist is. So emulating her is not going to score you any girl-power points. And claiming to be a feminist just because that’s what is hot right now is you basically being a conformist. Feminism is about breaking out of the conventional and standing up for what is right.

Feminism is about equality. It is not a means for women the world over to establish their superiority over men. So guys, you ain’t got nothing to fear (yep. Double negative-ing like nobody’s business) Like another strong female, Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood”.

Now you have to understand, I hadn’t planned on writing about feminism, in fact, I had been under the impression that people knew what it was and were glorifying it. So you can imagine my surprise when I was watching an Ellen video featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he was expressing his views on feminism—not, mind you, in an overtly zealous manner, but simply talking about how his mother brought him up to be a feminist and to recognize injustice when he sees it, and this one shmuck absolutely has to make me lose all hope in humanity.

He wrote:

“What a traitor faggot. Men are stronger and smarter than women and feminism is an expression of their frustration about this fact. Women are good for sex and child bearing. That’s about it. Feminism has ruined the American family. 65% divorce rate and climbing. Numbers don’t lie. Maybe sharia law would be good for American sluts AKA women.”

Honest.

No, really. He actually wrote that.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Umm…excuse me, but WHAT?

I was all but willing to caps lock him to death (I mean, really, exactly how much damage can you do in an internet argument?) but instead of wasting my time on scum like him, I decided to just blog about it.

When I first saw that comment I thought he was being satirical or poking fun at all the male chauvinistic boors. He wasn’t.

My left eye started twitching then. I kid you not.

It’s not that everyone is not entitled to their opinion, I’m all for freedom of expression.  It’s just that– to reduce women’s lives to simply being a means for you to continue your miserable lineage…? What? Do we not live in a civilized world? Are we not meant to be the most advanced species?

First of all, he—or anyone for that matter—has absolutely no right whatsoever to comment on how anybody lives their life—regardless of their gender. Live and let live, people. It’s a simple enough policy. All of us walk around with this sense of entitlement. If a person is fat, then we have every right to comment on it and poke fun; if a person is very thin, then we have every right to comment and poke fun; if a person is a prude, then we have every right to comment and poke fun; if a person is promiscuous, then we have every right to comment and poke fun—but only if it’s a girl. A guy? Well, guys can’t get pregnant so let’s let them do whatever the hell they want.

Second, can you believe his French? I don’t see the need for that many expletives…we get it, you’re a jerk. Now run along and ruin somebody else’s day.

Third, if the divorce rates are climbing, it has to be the woman’s fault.

So basically all women are like Germany in the First World War: despite the fact that the war was the result of poor judgement on the part of all the countries involved, Germany was blamed simply because it couldn’t retaliate to the war guilt clause. It takes two to tango, my friend. But the deplorable state of the marriage institution is a rant for another day…

So yeah, I would not send that guy a Christmas card if I knew him.

But just because there are a few rotten eggs—few rotten, smelly, disgusting eggs—does not mean the whole batch is bad, for as I scrolled down, I found this hope-instilling comment by another guy—a guy who most definitely would be on my Christmas card list. (And Diwali. And Eid)

To me, Feminism means to respect a female’s choice to be whatever they want to be, and have control of their own bodies. It doesn’t mean that one cannot be a house wife; it means that they do not arbitrarily NEED to be necessarily. That if they choose to want that type of thing, then more power to them. If they want to strip, or be promiscuous, that is okay too because that is what they desire for themselves. I think that being a male feminist means that I recognize that a woman is a human being first, and needs to be treated as such. That respecting herself means doing what she feels is right, and not letting anyone, male, or female, or extreme feminist tell them what they should or should not do.

So, to all those hard-core “feminists” out there who have sworn off men: they ain’t all that bad! In fact, some of them are bloody fantastic people.

Now this incidence isn’t that big a deal, but it still shocked me: I’d been drooling over this pair of green sneakers and had finally convinced mum to buy me a pair, but when we walked into the shoe shop, the salesman refused to show me one my size. Why? Because the sneakers were designed for boys.

Gah.

I told him that’s alright, I’m sure I’ll manage except he was adamant and kept nudging us over to the women’s section and practically shoved me into the wall showcasing shoes of every shade of pink imaginable. Now, I have nothing against pink, but I wanted green dammit! Plus these shoes were feminine and didn’t really qualify as sneakers. But that didn’t matter to the Sexist Salesman.

He even tried to make me try on a pair of shiny, glittery sandals.

Five minutes later, mum and I walked out in a huff. But not before giving him the evil eye.

It was in the fifth grade that I first recognized the existence of this bias. And it was during this troubled, helpless year that I came across Little Women and met a wonderful girl called Jo who wrote wonderful stories and got them published on her own, was good friends with a boy who never refused to include her in one of his games just because she was a girl and was the boldest of the sisters. Jo and I became best friends faster than you could say ‘misogynist’.  Jo was my spirit animal.

In sixth grade I came across Lisa Simpson—the extremely vocal, smart middle school-er whose principal even sang a “Maria” parody about her, referring to her opinionated ways. Lisa met Jo, and we were the Three Musketeers.

Point is, through all this, suppressing men never once entered our minds. All that feminists want is equality. A chance to be able to read books about strong female characters without having to hear a comment about how it was a book about “strong female characters, and therefore a must read”—because that means they are still marveling over the fact that we can have female protagonists. No one ever exclaims over “strong male characters”, they’re taken for granted, but having a woman who speaks her mind? Now that is brave. The fact that she is doing the unthinkable makes her brave. But why is it the unthinkable?

Okay, not exactly the most softest of lights to paint feminism in, but this so funny.

Women are not going to take over the world (at least not yet anyway) they’re just going to make it better. Like Malala said, how can we move forward when half of us are held back?

Nowadays society dictates whether a woman should feel good about herself or not. And sure, there are women who say they wear makeup for themselves—but really, who enjoys slapping on gloop on your face, painting your eye lids and lips when you feel much better lounging about in your sweatshirt? There are women who say that they don’t wear makeup for men, they wear it to feel confident about themselves—but why do you need makeup to feel confident about yourself? Because society has drilled it into us that that is the only way that we can feel good about ourselves.

This is not meant offend anybody, so I’m sorry if it did. I’m just voicing out my thoughts here.

Basically, Feminists are not losers who still resent the fact that no guy asked them to prom and are now out for revenge. No, Feminists are just like you. And you. And you. Oh and yeah, you too, sir.

Honestly, we’re everywhere. We’re in your homes, offices, restaurants, book stores and swimming pools. So even if you do try and stop us, it’s too late.

(Whispers hoarsely) We’re everywhere.