Story of a lost journalist

November 11, 2008

An equalist, I am

Filed under: tag — Cris @ 23:59
Tags: ,

Since I have left blog barren for a few days I think I will finish my tag-tabs one by one. There is 2 pending, and in order, Seema’s feminism tag is the first. No rules to list, its just to write about my take on feminism. Now even before I start, I want to pass this tag to Amrutha. She has been talking about what is and what is not feminism in her blog in such well-written words that I keep commenting “exactly”.

Anyway what I have been saying ‘exactly’ to was that feminism is NOT a woman doing everything a man can – as seems to be the general impression among many. It is being able to do what one wants to. So cooking and cleaning is not demeaning work; doing it when a woman wants to do it is not being a victim of male chauvinism or male domination. Same way, if a woman wants to do bungee jumping or fly planes, she should be able to do that and not stopped because she was a woman. Wants to – are the keywords here.

Now I will tell how I, like the general mass had a misguided idea about feminism without even thinking that’s what it is. As a child when I saw only Mom or some other woman cooking in a house and the men gets to do nothing, when grown ups kept telling me I should start following that and learn to cook and clean I used to ask “Why is Dad not doing it” or “Why are you not telling this to bro?”. The answers came immediately “Cause he is a man and these are the works of women”. I hated it right away. Without meaning to, I found my wanting a sense of justice making me shrink away from the typical womanly qualities and duties. For years I was a tom boy, I tried to use and do everything my father and brother did – from handkerchiefs to kicking stones on my way to never using makeup and of course staying 10 miles away from kitchen. I never got to find out if I actually like to cook cause I strongly believed if I once set my foot in that arena, I should never be able to get out of the “woman tag” I have been so trying to run away from. And when Dad asked about this insensitivity to helping my Mom I used to get away with “I want to follow you and do what you do” or “If Nish learns, I will too”; and “I don’t like it” when I felt really rebelling.

I now know that was a completely wrong approach. I wasn’t trying to establish feminism, but I wanted to be treated like a human being and not as a woman who had to do things because she was a woman. Every small act of unjust treatment or lines from someone in that line, irks me to the core. It comes with any kind of unfair treatment; I mean its not just gender based; including ones that let me have a better place on some unfair ground.

I hate the dowry system and it always boils my blood when I hear of people (most of them women) talking about it like it’s a taken for granted arrangement, like it was part of marriage. I hate movies that come with the message- why should a girl have education or why she should be the first to sacrifice or why she neednt have a job. I hate it that when a marriage happens, it’s a taken for granted affair that women give up or transfer their jobs to be with husbands and it was not even a question with regards to the man. I am not saying men should always, I just don’t like it that its not even thought about or considered. A man or a woman gives up job to be with spouse is the kind of accepted rule I should like to see.

There is probably a lot more that I have a say on, as regards a woman’s place – that there is nothing like that. One thing I have learnt is trying to prove I can do something was not feminism. When you say prove, you are losing the entire essence. Not bothering to explain your actions and knowing exactly what and why you are doing is.
I have once debated with a friend who said reservations in a particular university for women had to be there, and I argued if a man and a woman with similar qualifications applied for the job, it was unfair that the woman was chosen solely because it was a woman. But his point was that qualification alone was not enough, you had to consider background as well – he said that given a man and a woman from India, chances are the man having studied all his way here was much easier done than a woman who probably had to go through a lot of turmoil being a woman. That could be true, exploitations on women in the past were not a new story. Finally I agreed he had a point and if background was pretty much the same as well, then there should be no preference (on the other hand same could go for man – if he had a difficult time coming there, then he should be given a chance.)

It all comes back to treating men and women as a single entity – humans. Where reservations were considered it had to be – where a human deserved it and not a man or a woman. Where jobs were concerned it must be as he/she wanted to. Where duties were considered, as humans could and should – and not a defined set, one each for men and women. Where behavior was concerned, it’s the character he or she grows up to, how can it in anyway depend on gender? Agreed there are certain qualities that can be concluded to attach with one gender at least as far as majority was concerned, but majority didn’t define all!

I guess what I am saying is, I am an equalist (not in dictionary, but I have been using it so much, its got to be there by now). Equal treatment to all humans and I am happy, no expectations cause it’s a he or a she or a lower caste or a different religion or a darker color or has a lower income, thank you very much (I shouldn’t have added that, that makes it dramatic, the thank you – oh what the heck!)

Tagging
1. Amrutha – I would perfectly understand if she doesn’t want to do this, she has already talked for eons about it.
2. Mathew – not tit for tat, but I wanted to hear what he has to say
3. KT – This is the second tag I am giving her, would like to hear hers as well
4. Nikhil – totally busy man, I hope he gets time to do this some time.
5. Nims – she should have a lot to say now!
6. Vids – I am not sure if she finally became a regular blogger, but would like to see what the new generation has to say about this. Eh Vids? 😉

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32 Comments »

  1. hi cris
    accept your tag, tho i hate theorising on feminism –

    Comment by kochuthresiamma p j — November 12, 2008 @ 00:53 | Reply

  2. Very nice indeed Cris. I totally adore the word equalist..I am adding it to my dictionary too :-). You are so right, we do have a general misconstrued meaning for the word feminism, probably we tend to take it historically. High time the thought changes.

    Comment by Seema — November 12, 2008 @ 01:10 | Reply

  3. Good lord Wally! I am a phenomenal cook. Check out my Orkut album for the most spectacular omelet anyone ever made. I was just distracted with so any other things that I never really got around to learning how to cook well.

    I remember some plans Kunjamma and I made to go for a fancy cooking class – though both of us kept pushing it off till it never happened.

    And while it’s not strictly cooking, I consider myself to be a quite proficient cocktail mixer today.

    So you can pour out all the feminist (or equalist!!!) thoughts you want to, but please do tell everyone that your brother is someone who might have turned out to be a super-cook if he didn’t spend his time chasing ridiculous alternatives for most of his teen and post-teen life *grin*

    Comment by Nish — November 12, 2008 @ 03:37 | Reply

  4. Hey!
    This takes the count to ten.
    Thanks for the effort.
    😀

    Iruttadi on ur way 😛
    Anyways, will take it up.
    -Nikhil

    Comment by Nikhil Narayanan — November 12, 2008 @ 09:41 | Reply

  5. I think feminism is such an overused word and no one really knows what it really means 😉 I liked your take here and most of the things I have also experienced and would totally agree with you..

    Comment by Dhanya — November 12, 2008 @ 14:13 | Reply

  6. @KT, thank you :-). I realize its no topic to be theorizing about, but your views will certainly make a great read.

    @Seema, yes, thank you for this tag again. It was nice doing it :-). And oh do popularize equalist! Lets turn the world into one big group of equalists 🙂

    @Nish, I still remember your attempt to carry a tray of cups and the disaster that followed in less than a minute! I dont know if I should be sad or happy that your cooking dreams never materialized :D. Oh but an attempt to make ice-cream once at home, ended up good, though there was only ice and no cream hehe. You mighta made a great cook, if you got it from Mom, like your singing talents 😀

    @NN, hehe I shall use a torch from now. Look forward to reading all 10!

    @Dhanya, yes that is so true, it is so over-used that it makes you sick hearing it and personally I dont want to be classified as one – cause the word has reached a meaning that makes it embarassing! And I knew you’d agree with most of this 🙂

    Comment by Cris — November 12, 2008 @ 14:30 | Reply

  7. good lord! I’m supposed to be doing this tag, too!
    and my comment for the post: “exactly”! 🙂

    Comment by usha — November 12, 2008 @ 16:55 | Reply

  8. Oh Dearo..you ahve tagged me this complicated topic..**faints*** I hope to do some reading..

    Yours is beautifully done..I don’t know what different to say..Will give a try..

    Good day dear…

    Comment by Bimmy — November 12, 2008 @ 17:22 | Reply

  9. lol…I just noticed that I mispelt my name as Bimmy..ROFL ..oh my God…Poor me..bimmy,bummy ..lol…

    Comment by Nimmy — November 12, 2008 @ 17:31 | Reply

  10. Done! Finally. Had so much to say, I did not know where to start. 🙂

    Comment by Amrutha — November 12, 2008 @ 20:33 | Reply

  11. @usha, hehe. Do the tag I would come to comment “exactly” 😀

    @Bimmy alias Nimmy, lol I like Bimmy better, I think I will start calling you that. And dear you handle too complicated stuff already this should be a piece of butter cake for you!

    @Amrutha, wow you are fast girl! Thanks for taking it up so fast :-). If you feel you arent done, you can come up with episodes, new rule allowed by tagger – me 🙂

    Comment by Cris — November 12, 2008 @ 21:24 | Reply

  12. Hey hey Bris,:)

    I have done the tag..I though i wouldn’t be able to write 2 paras..but sadly,it has ended up a 2 hour essay..lol..hope you read and comemnt on the loooooooooooooooooooong essay.. 🙂

    Comment by Nimmy — November 12, 2008 @ 21:44 | Reply

  13. Wally,

    See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7724505.stm

    15 school girls in Afghanistan suffered a facial acid attack – and it’s suspected that this atrocity has been carried out by those opposed to the education of girls.

    Unbelievable really!

    Comment by Nish — November 12, 2008 @ 22:16 | Reply

  14. Damn – my comment did not get auto-approved. Wally, you are going to have to approve that for me. I think it’s because it had an URL in it.

    Comment by Nish — November 12, 2008 @ 22:17 | Reply

  15. Equalist !! Well, thats a first time word ! Adding it to the vocabulary !! Will be used at appropriate places

    Comment by Kavi — November 12, 2008 @ 22:20 | Reply

  16. well written…i dont think I can do justice to the tag as much as you have done here..will take this up soon…i think i have very little say on this and i ll put it in the post..:-)

    Comment by mathew — November 12, 2008 @ 23:41 | Reply

  17. Cris,
    A good blog on an interesting topic. For me it is sad that women (or for that matter any race) have to fight to be treated like another human with equal rights. But a lot of women themselves believes in male superiority.
    ‘Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy’ – Henry Kissinger
    Cheers,
    Salil

    Comment by Salil — November 13, 2008 @ 04:59 | Reply

  18. @Nimmy, thanks dear I will be coming to read it 🙂

    @Nish I got one comment from you before this and its there above – about ahem your super cooking talents. Was there another?

    @Kavi, yes do do. And canvas everyone into using it too 🙂

    @mathew, thank you, I am sure you will have very good things to say.

    @Salil, that is too true I am afraid. Sad.

    Comment by Cris — November 13, 2008 @ 13:08 | Reply

  19. Yeah I had another comment (with an URL in it). It probably got marked as spam or something by WordPress. Damn, this sucks! WordPress is cool most of the time but once in a while it sucks bollocks!

    Comment by Nish — November 13, 2008 @ 19:30 | Reply

  20. “equalist ” I use that word often.. 😛 Not while the man-woman debates.. but on the caste / religion reservation talks..

    You are true! “Feminism” is a word which lost its meaning by usage..

    @ Nish : WordPress is gwaad! Worship it! 😛 Crissie may have configured it too tight to allow a url..

    Comment by Srijith — November 13, 2008 @ 21:44 | Reply

  21. @Nish, I went and recovered it from spam now :-). And WordPress has been sending me spam comments to approve! I just went to the site you gave! Unbelievable and its those veils that came to help! But this is depressing, now the few who tried to go to schools would have second thoughts – I mean what would one chose when the choice is between education and death!

    @Srijith, of course not! Poor Cris sis!

    Comment by Cris — November 14, 2008 @ 01:26 | Reply

  22. All are equal is a nice idea. But it will never work. How can a system in which all the components are equal can work ? May be, the world can remain in that unstable equlibrium for a while. The slightest disturbance (perturbation) would distroys it and the result can be much worse than that of inequality. The only possibility of such a society is, maybe, after some 35524878936993127894.14 years when human beings are actually wise ! Now we are not wise and we are just the components of a huge dynamical system. ‘All are equal’ will not offer a stable solution in such a system. I think so.

    Comment by manu — November 14, 2008 @ 10:04 | Reply

  23. @manu, thats a gigantically pessimistic outlook. I have more faith than that 🙂 If noone had faith thousands of years back, humans should still be walking around in 4 legs.

    Comment by Cris — November 15, 2008 @ 14:48 | Reply

  24. @ Cris, Thousand years back they had neither pessimissiom or optimism. They just lived. Eventually a social dynamics was formed which evolved to the present day society. Due to my experience with dynamical systems, I believe, an equation in which all the variables are equal is a fixed point from where there is no further dynamics. But a system has to evolve naturally to that point. One day it will, but not even a minute before.

    Onece a pastor was trying to convert me to Pentacostal belief. He told me, look, the world is getting worse day by day. I told him, you are worng. It is getting better day by day. He asked how ? I told; in the begning there were 4 people, Adam, Eve, Cane and Abel. Cane killed Abel. So the remaining is is just three. That means 33.33% of the people in the beigning were notorious sinners who even killed their own brothers ! Now, such people are not even 0.003333% in our society: the world is becoming better and better. This positive trend will continue and it will become even more better, so I dont have any worries and I am OK with my present beliefs.

    Let us hope for a better future. Then you wish will also be granded. Now, no way.

    Comment by manu — November 16, 2008 @ 14:27 | Reply

  25. Hi Cris,
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m glad your liked it. Looks like you’ve provoked a strong discussion with your post. I dont call myself an chauvanist .. but I am guilty of the occassional “stretch out on the sofa while my wife slogs” sin.. ok .. a little more often than occasional. Fortunately, my wife loves being a housewife. When we got married, both of us split the housework and both of us went to work. But she dint want to go to work, and I dint want to do housework. So we ended up here 🙂 . My philosophy is, life is a pursuit of happiness. Everything else is irrelavent. Equality, fairness in life .. all of that is a myth. We take the hand that is dealt to us by god, and we play it as best as we can. We shouldn’t expect fairness from everywhere or anything like that. Be fair because we like to think of ourselves as good people, that’s all, expect nothing in return. And as long as the expectations are low, we’ll be happy. There will always be people who have a more priviledged life than ours, and that’s ok. There are also a lot of people with a lot less than us and that’s ok too. Believe me, they are as happy as we are. Like I heard on a song on the radio

    Well its funny how it`s the little things in life that mean the most
    Not where you live or the car you drive or the price tag on your clothes
    There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I`ve come to know
    So if you agree have a drink with me
    Raise you glasses for a toast
    To a little bit of chicken fried
    Cold beer on a Friday night
    A pair of jeans that fit just right
    And the radio up
    Well I`ve seen the sunrise
    See the love in my woman`s eyes
    Feel the touch of a precious child
    And know a mother`s love

    … what more can I want!

    Comment by Nishant — November 18, 2008 @ 06:02 | Reply

  26. Why all this fuss? Why just not call it free will? 😀

    Comment by Nikhil — November 18, 2008 @ 16:18 | Reply

  27. @manu, glad to see you find solace with probability statistics. But it seems to me like a hugely limited world of possibilities that one puts oneself to. Since I am not tied up by any such restrictions, I have no boundaries in my thoughts or hopes and I am thankful about it. To each, his own! Peace.

    @Nishant, yes doing what one wants is the only thing that really matters. But I have a feeling you had it easy because what you wanted also fitted the roles you were expected to fill, both of you. If on the other hand, your wife too hated housework as did you, it might have been a tougher situation to think of, dont you think?

    @Nikhil, hehe it is, I mean thats the intended message here. Thanks for making it so crisp!

    Comment by Cris — November 19, 2008 @ 18:42 | Reply

  28. true .. true .. but all of us do have the option of choosing who we want to marry.

    Comment by Nishant — November 19, 2008 @ 22:59 | Reply

  29. Clearing my unread blog list 🙂 Been out of blogging universe for a month now

    Couldn’t agree more with your take. If you remember our discussion on the blog about friendship in Mars Vs Venus, I feel the same issues resurfaces. I have tried to be an “equalist” husband to my best effort – even though once in a while Indian husband comes jumping from inside me. Times are changing and atleast in the educated world, things are not as bad and one sided as it used to be.

    Comment by Aneesh — November 20, 2008 @ 03:21 | Reply

  30. @Nishant, that is entirely true 🙂

    @Aneesh, welcome back to BU. I am glad to hear these words from a married man, cause its after marriage that all idealistic policies seem to go for a toss. Yes times are changing :-).

    Comment by Cris — November 20, 2008 @ 19:36 | Reply

  31. Personally, I think that modern feminism has become far too aggressive in this day and age. Especially in places like Sweden. It’s come to the point where they’ve actually caused masculism to emerge. Can you imagine?
    An equalist is definitely a better option for today’s society. Androgyny is our true goal!

    Comment by Trish — January 30, 2009 @ 00:57 | Reply

  32. @Trish, really? Thats surprising! I must add Sweden to places-to-visit-urgently! But isnt Androgyny more like people having charactersitics of both genders. I think thats an entirely different topic! We are talking about attitude here 🙂

    Comment by Cris — February 3, 2009 @ 23:25 | Reply


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