Saturday, August 25, 2012

The (SMS) Silly Me Syndrome

I read this piece of article long back and it striked such a chord that I have not been able to forget it since then. The article as is evident from the title talked about the Silly Me Syndrome found amongst the fairer sex. It is the thing of acting silly and dumb in front of guys to impress them by inflating their already bursting male ego (JK!). My immediate reaction on reading this was of a strong disagreement. My mind was crowded with memories of all those fights in college and otherwise to prove the fact we girls are superior and better in every respect to boys. But then the more I thought about this article the more clearer it started to become.

In fact I recalled a few occasions where in even I have behaved in a similar way. But there is a difference, a girl will behave silly and dumb only in front of a guy she likes. Pretending not to notice a pronunciation mistake but cringing inside is an example. I don't know the reason behind it but they say that it has been programmed into our system since, well, old times. As a proof I present to you the following quotes penned down in old times and for that matter by foreign authors.

"A woman, especially, if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can."
Jane Austen

Another one by Magaret Atwood:

All you have to do, I tell myself, is keep your mouth shut and look stupid. It shouldn't be that hard.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Now the question is why would a self respecting, confident woman behave like a total idiot just because she is talking to a man who happens to look good. I have observed a change in many women when they talk to men. They will laugh even at the silliest of their jokes and listen attentively to any pieces of wisdom that they happen to share. Any man would love this trait in his girlfriend/wife.

Since time immemorial men have detested smart, intelligent and successful women. They always come across as a serious threat to the men folk. Now this is why the trend of marrying young girls came into practice. Sadly this brutal practice continues to carry on and has no chance of changing in near future. Men always prefer to marry younger girls, who are still unsure and clueless about what to do in life. Before they get any chance to think about things like future, career, job, bank balance they are married off. And before they realize it, the rosy honeymoon period is over and they are huge in both size and responsibilities. The problem with marrying girls of same age group is that they are mature, smart and in every respect as successful as their male counterparts. Hence it leaves a doubt on who will wear the pants in the marriage. And if by any chance the girl is in any way stronger than the guy professionally (read salary) that's the end of it all.

So lets take a realistic example and get to the RCA (root cause analysis) of this issue in question. The scenario is such that as soon as I reach the ripe old age of 23 (that’s my current age) my parents  relatives, neighbours and every distant persons starts fretting over my single status and leave no stone unturned to find a suitable guy for me. Now the interesting part is that all the candidates for my husband-to-be will be atleast 3-4 years older than me, because guys my age are busy setting down and taking time to built career.  Well, my career and choice do not matter as long I cut a pretty picture for the matrimonial sale. Now if by chance I rebel all this and refuse to be victimised I will again be standing at crossroads when after 4 years with 28 years of wisdom I will be an old meat in the matrimony market. Guys older to me will already be happily married and guys my age will be busy looking for the 22 & 23 years old.

So where does that leave me and thousands of girls whose aspirations and dreams get sacrificed because of this mad scenario. This whole thing has led to the SMS Syndrome thing. I refuse and detest being associated with a man who chooses to be with dimwits to boost his ego. Wouldn’t an ideal marriage be one in which two individuals are equal, where the guy respects not commands. Where decisions are taken together (we are not talking about “what-to-cook-for-dinner” type decisions here). And a world which does not ridicule and call names like sissy to the man who happens to love and respect his lady. *Sigh* So much for equally and some respect. I somehow feel that it will take another century to change the scenario we are living in.

I will end the post with some more disheartening quotes.

If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.
Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

A wife should always be few feet behind her husband. If he is an MA you should be a BA.If he is 5'4'tall you shouldn't be more than 5'3'tall. If he is earning five hundred rupees you should never earn more than four hundred and ninety nine rupees.That's the only rule to follow if you want a happy marriage...No partnership can ever be equal.It will always be unequal, but take care it is unequal in favor of the husband. If the scales tilt in your favor, God help you, both of you.
Shashi Deshpande

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Animal Unleashed

Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.
 Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women

Since the last few days my mind has been pre-occupied with the dark and gory crimes I seem to be reading everywhere. Few days back I read this article a friend had shared on facebook. It highlighted the plight of young Muslim girls’ victim to molestation by none other than their Quran teacher. When confronted the teacher called the poor girls "possessed by some demon" which further elevated their agony by hands of their parents.

Another story I read was of an uncle promising young school girls easy money and dragging them into sex trade. The uncle took counselling sessions and explained to the girls that what he wanted them to do was nothing but a game by means to which they will always earn. The children vulnerable at this age and in a condition to withstand the peer pressure are an easy prey and easily surrender to these type of demands.

The hattrick to this was the story of gruesome murder of Pallavi (a lawyer) by her guard. What is happening in the world around us? If you can't even sleep peacefully at your own home, then where else can you feel safe? The situation of living on a sharing basis does not allow you to lock the doors before you sleep. People will come at different times and it is not possible to keep ringing the bell and expecting someone to open it. So where does that leave people like us? I am startled by thinking of so many times I and my flatmates have slept without locking the door. The thought of what all could have happened gives me Goosebumps.

The shocking death of Pallavi has sent panic waves not just in Mumbai but across the whole country. Mumbai is supposed to be the safest city for women. Girls can roam on the streets of Mumbai as late as midnight. I have on many occasions travelled alone and with friends in wee hours of night without thinking twice. But now I will surely stop and think twice before taking any such step. The feeling of being vulnerable is not at all a good one. The fact that even though you are independent you still need a man by your side for your safety. The feeling of helplessness when someone touches you in an obscene way in a crowded place and you can't do a thing about it.

 Believe me I have also tried the other way and fell straight on my face. Once at a crowded station I made the mistake of shouting at a man who happened to grope me from behind. After a few unpleasant exchanges, the man came straight to abuses. Now while I may exchange some hardcore cuss words playfully with my buddies sometimes, I am not a public abuser. Hence I could do nothing but stare blankly at my well armed opponent. The best way to dodge an accusation from a girl - start shouting loud and obscene abuses.

I don't even want to get into the what-did-the-other-people-standing-there-do part. The spectators will always to what they have to. Watch with no participation, active or otherwise. I am sure that there is not even a single girl in India who has not been touched in an obscene way atleast once in her lifetime. And please it has got nothing to do with the way we dress and attract attention. I have a few questions for people who seem to think so. What makes you think that a girl will dress while thinking "Yes, let me wear that and get raped" or "Yea, this one is good to get raped". Also if we are dressing provocatively, does that automatically give you licence to rape? If that is the case the crime rate against women should be the highest in those exotic foreign locale beaches where women freely roam around wearing bikinis. I am not promoting provocative dressing here but all I am saying is that in a democratic country, a person should atleast be free to choose and wear the clothes that they want to. When men do not think twice before stepping out freely in boxers or proudly decorating the public walls with their urine why should a woman think about the whole society while doing a simple activity of choosing her clothes?

This debate can go on forever but the bottom line is, what is the solution of all this? What is the solution of the fact that my parents are freaking the hell out since they heard about the Pallvi case. What is the solution of their and thousand other parents’ anxiety who constantly worry about their daughters safety. Why doesn't a person fear the consequences of an act as gruesome as this? If it would have been upon me I would call for a capital punishment for this heinous crime (no I am not inspired by Gangs of Wasseypur).

While reading various links on this very topic I came across N number of reasons a person would commit the crime of raping. They ranged from anger to power and from revenge to sadistic pleasure. I was surprised to see that Lust did not feature in this list even though it is perceived to be one of the strongest reasons behind rape

The theory that really stuck with me was that still in some societies women are perceived as mere objects of pleasure. It is usually that the people from this background cannot stand women being successful and outgoing. Interesting stuff. So after 65 years of Independence and with all the big talk of women empowerment we come plunging back to history where women has no respect, no rights and no safety.