On Tackling The DudeConcil: The Empire Writes Back

Dear DudeCouncil,

I know you are surprised I’m writing to you. We haven’t had the smoothest of relationships these past few years. Fine, I lied. We’ve never had a smooth relationship. You suppress and marginalize just about anyone-who- isn’t-a-Dude for kicks, make sure that everything done by anyone who doesn’t agree to your principles of Dude-ism is silenced. You might as well burn unicorns, kitties and pups in one large bonfire while you’re at it. Can you really blame me for badmouthing you from that day, many moons ago when I learnt to say ‘patriarchal misogyny’ and point directly towards you as you tried to explain to me just why is it wrong to read ‘The Second Sex‘ at 12? Methinks not. Also, good luck for dismissing any of my future rants like you did that time.

Over the years I learnt intimately all your conniving ways; much too closely than anyone would have ever wanted to learn. I’ll take a moment to congratulate you for  recruiting all those Ladies; those you could convince that you were indeed not speaking through your arse anyway.  Till date, you confuse many a FeministLady just how you managed to control so many lives without feeling even a bit of guilt. We’ve had this conversation before many times (with no visible change in you, except your haircut perhaps). Today I’m not ranting about that. Who knew I could actually generate new complaints in the short time we came face to face after our encounter last week ? Oh how much you’d learn if you let anyone-who-isn’t-a-Dude speak once in a while! That again is a rant destined for some other time.

Today, I’m fuming talking about how you’ve percolated in every part of my life. If you thought Narcissus was a wee bit self-obsessed, then all the examples I fish out of my past week might strike you as a little extreme. But then again, why do I care for your discomfort? You never did for mine. You do realise this doesn’t reflect too well on your progenitor, Capitalism. Then again, Capitalism is probably floating away on all our money, laughing at everyone, completely oblivious to anything but the sound of more money down its slimy throat. Be sure to send hir my (un)warm regards.

Error # 1:  You show me this on T.V. the first thing in the morning. Now I know you’ve laughed for the better part of eternity at how dumb and stupid womenfolk are for complying to standards you created, the extremes they go to be accepted by you. I get the joke. Seriously. If you put just enough venom in my coffee, I’d probably even laugh with you. But, just out of curiosity I’m wondering what it’ll take for you to not constantly degrade one gender anyone-who- isn’t-a-Dude. If tomorrow we magically acquire that dangly appendage between our legs, will these jokes stop? I didn’t think so either.

Error # 2:  No matter how earnestly I try to understand your need to constantly fetishize Oriental women as sex-objects, the only reason my LadyBrain comes up with is that you are a complete waste of GrayMatter. Showering me with e-mails that detail what part of my body you want to eat off of makes you smart, you think; in addition to illustrating the classic disease of Male Privilege. You think this further establishes the ‘master-slave’ didactic between us, because I’m a few shades darker than you. Truth is, I’ve never laughed harder at anything else. Also, this is a special shout-out to a special Dude-ly Dude Jasper who drowned me in the biggest number of disgusting pictures of his nether regions over the last week, this is my last reply to you – Be Gone! Also, maybe consult a head-doctor. A tip:  Soaps are pretty awesome. Use them!

Error # 3: You’ve managed to seep into the minds of little children with what the world calls the trickle-down effect. My students were convinced that all men are greater than all women because this is what they see in their homes. Suddenly, the little Dudes in the class start bossing over the little Doe’s. When I complained to the other teachers to stop encouraging such behaviour, they say, “We’re just preparing them for what’s to come” — A statement I’m sure you recognise. Didn’t you chant the very same sentence as you came out of Satan’s cooter? My LadyBrain blanks out on your history ever so often.

Error # 4: You even took the liberty of dispatching one of your PawnDudes to lecture my LadyFriends and I on the dangers of women drinking alcohol and consequently ruining the mood for the rest of the night. I saw that your face became as shoddy as a sour grape when we laughed at your inane theories. When you were almost about to assault us, I swear the drink just slipped out of my hand, almost accidentally on purpose. This should be a healthy lesson for you to shut your piehole when Ladies repeatedly ask you to. I still maintain you tripped on your own though.

And lastly,

Error # 5: You spend months hyping up the new logo and the new thought for Star Plus (which is the Indian version of Twihard for housewives) with the tag line, “Soch Nayi, Rishta Wahi” which means, “Old relationships, New thoughts“. Last time, this meant that the woman was generally given two dimensions, the Good Indian Housewife who was married and conveniently schackled grounded with 2+ kids, roamed about the house looking like a re-vamp  the 1940’s without ever even mentioning her stifled sexuality or the SingleWoman who is tough and ambitious, also the villain whose deepest fantasies include seducing men and becoming an ideal housewife. And this article tells me, what this ‘new thought’ encompasses,”Once again, the channel celebrates the family, with the woman at its core – the woman who keeps the family together and unceasingly supports its aspirations to move up the social ladder. In this family, there is a quest for fulfilment, and strong dreams of a better future. ” So it is actually re-cycled ‘new’ thought. I see.

So, dear DudeCouncil, one last message to you — can you keep yourself out of my life for just a week? I am going on a hiatus for about seven days where I’m going to abandon the Internetz leaving my friend to moderate my blog (read: there are just so many angry Indian housewives I can take a day. Today and the next seven days, I plan to stand none). When I come back, you may resume your DoucheBaggerey ways. Jeez even Beauvoir took breaks once in a while! Mine has come now.

Stay out of my life for a week. We’ll start the yelling match as soon as I return.

Regards,

Jaded16.

P.S. I’m going to be a huge stick up your butt but I need this done now. Can all the people who have read my blog on Google Reader or on any other RSS feed come forward? My blog is appraised for non-misogynist ads (you KNOW how rare that is) and I need the real number of all my readers. Please come forward and confess.

P.P.S. A huge shout out to all of you who e-mailed me last week. Trust me, all that kept me going was your support.

A Piece of Faith in an Envelope

(Hello BLOG! reading people. Welcome our guest blogger Crimpher of the ubernun glory! She has more wisdom than we had  previously imagined. Also, the following is one of her short fiction pieces. So I don’t want any e-mails like the last time demanding citations for what she wrote!)

Crimpher’s Note : There have been many instances in my life where I have seen and perceived things that I really wish I hadn’t. There have been times when I seethed with rage seeing injustice, abuse, humiliation. Such times, among others, include the way we treat the elders of our society. In a country like India (not that the west in any way serves to be a model), where we pride ourselves on respecting the elderly (customs and traditions that stem right from the Vedas), I see abuse. Mental torture. I see how their souls have been ripped out of their aging bodies, helpless and suffocating. I see how, yet again, we’ve succumbed to the frailties of nuclear families, leaving the wise of our society somewhere far behind.. Much too far behind. Behind those thick-rimmed glasses, I see their eyes filled with sadness. Tears that have been welled inside for longer than they can remember, but a familiar pain that throbs ceaselessly within.

A Piece Of Faith In An Envelope.

“And the leaves that are green, turn to brown..” This line from a song I heard on the radio, remained with me days after I had listened to it first. As I sat on my old, wooden armchair and slowly placed my large, black glasses on the little table nearby, I reflected upon the 82 years of my life. Not in any of these years had I felt so alone, so lost and so weary.

As I looked around at the dusty bookshelves and photo frames that lay in one part of the room, my eyes searched for the one single memory that mattered most to me; that lay folded and sealed in a dull yellow envelope. I pushed myself out of the chair with some effort and staggered forward, slowly making my way towards it. It lay on the shelf with dignity and pride, being perhaps the only item in the house that had not collected dust. It took a few minutes for me to reach the shelf, but I walked determinedly, as steady as my legs could carry me. My hands slowly touched the crumpled cover of the envelope, and I immediately felt a rush of relief to a heart so plagued by unhappiness. For those few moments, I felt inner strength, my being became whole. I smiled at the thought of what the letter signified; the life I had once had, the person I once was.

Suddenly, as I unfolded the letter to read it for perhaps the tenth time that day, I remembered I had left my glasses on the table beside the armchair, and so, carrying the letter in one hand like a trophy, and holding my cane stick in the other, I hobbled back to the chair. Sitting back and making myself comfortable, I proceeded to read the letter. For that moment, my lips broke into a weak, toothless smile and tears trickled down my cheeks, which I slowly wiped away with the clean, white handkerchief I made a point to always carry in my shirt’s side pocket.

In the distance, I heard the incessant honking of a car and some voices screaming out my name. Within minutes I heard the doorbell ring several times and the pounding of angry fists against the main door. But I had little incentive to open the door and let them in. Overwhelmed by emotions and exhausted by my afternoon’s little adventure to the bookshelf, I remained in the comfort of my chair, holding close to my heart, the yellow piece of paper. After much ado, I recall the door being forced open, my elder son storming in and on seeing me alive, and well, in reasonable health, badgering me verbally with questions on why I refused to answer the door. A small group of neighbours who had collected in the interim broke up and returned to their afternoon siesta, seeing that there was no tamasha, after all. Only my son and his wife remained, talking loudly in a language that I did not understand, but with aggression that I did. Oh how irresponsible and insensitive I had grown to other people’s needs, of late.

I remember looking at them look at me with angry glances, but not seeing them. I hardly felt related to them. No, they were certainly not my children. Not the ones I had fed with my own hands, given comfort to in their times of need, even as my wife and I slept many a hungry nights. But today, they were strangers to me. People I had lost contact with years back. People who had the dubious task of looking after me, now that my wife was no more. Slowly I got up from the armchair, holding tightly to my lease of life, my most prized possession in the world. Holding it close to my chest, I moved with some difficulty towards my bedroom, saying not a word to the man and woman standing in my living room. We no longer spoke the same language. I heard the doors slam shut and I heard car breaks screech before silence descended upon the house. But now, it no longer mattered to me. Today all that mattered was the little piece of faith I held onto between my fingers, lest it slip away with the harsh realities of life.

From the corner, I felt a fuzzy nose press against my arm and a small yap telling me I was not alone. I lifted my hand and gently stroked my most loyal friend, returning the gesture. What looked back at me with innocent eyes was the one thing that connected my past and present. The one thing for which I knew I had to hold on.

As the clock struck 6 pm, I got up and returned the envelope to its rightful place. Then, I slowly set off to prepare a meal for both of us, before I finally went to sleep. I heard the pitter patter of the animal’s paws behind me, and after several days I laughed, a full stomached laugh. A laugh that told the world that this man would fight, that this man would not give up so easily. A laugh that seemed to reflect what was scribbled in a woman’s handwriting in the faded letter.

Within an hour I was wrapping up our meal. As I did so, I thought I heard the winds laugh with us. I thought I heard them echo the words of my letter. In the distance I thought I heard my wife’s gentle voice whisper in my ears. In the haze of my vision, I thought I saw her face.

I laughed again, louder still. Next to me, the dog thumped his tail wildly against the floor, sensing perhaps whatever it was that I felt. I laughed again. He wagged again. We were happy. We were alive.

Re-defining Shakti Or Otherwise Known As Patriarchal Manipulation

Last week at a family dinner, my aunt was talking about a married couple in her neighbourhood who were considering divorce. Apparently, the man in question was a cheating on his wife of four years with his employee. Everyone was disgusted by his behaviour, felt horrible for his wife in the prescribed amount of pity (according to the guidance of the book on Expressing Correct Amounts Of  Privileged LadyEmotions  – the same one that makes us feel sorry for anyone below us in the social order with the correct proportion of well-intentioned condescension) secretly thanking their stars that it wasn’t them and wishing the wife strength to forgive him. When I asked why should she forgive him considering he didn’t ever respect her, was a wife-beating scumbag in addition to his adulterous nature, my aunt huffed, “We women have Shakti. It’s our responsibility to be the bigger person and keep our families together…”. She went on explaining the numerous womanly duties we should perform while my brain slammed shut. In all seriousness though, there are many stories weaved around this shakti, each twisted to suit patriarchy’s best need : To Keep Ladies In Their Place.

Literally speaking, Shakti means power. Of course when this Shakti is written by a Dude, it becomes yet another tool (no innuendo intended) that encourages women to internalise male supremacy.

The epic poem Ramayan is famous as one of India’s foremost religious texts among  Mahabharat, Bhagvad Gita, Manusmriti etc. Like any religious text, it instructs men and women how to live morally on the path of good karma. As A.K. Ramanujan argues, there are many versions of the Ramayan (as many as three hundred) but the most popular one is written by the ascetic Valmiki (a very well respected Dude). In this version, Sita’s femininity revolves around:

  1. Worshiping her husband Ram — She who is prosperous and husband-devout, will always abide by you like your own shadow…
  2. Being a dutiful wife who goes into exile with her husband  — Following my husband with loving devotion, I shall become sin-less; for husband is the supreme deity to me. In this world, which women were given away to whom by parents with water ( a Hindu rite) according to the moral code binding on them, that woman belongs to him alone even after death…
  3. Obeying her elder’s wishes — O, Sita! Surely, those evil women, who get into an improper act of authority over their husbands reap infamy and decline in righteousness. Thus devoted to your lord, loyal to your husband, following established rules, you become an honest wife to your husband and obtain merit and fame and lastly
  4. She decides to walk over a burning pyre to prove to her husband and the kingdom that she was faithful to her husband while the demon Ravan kept her captive O lord! It was not my wilfulness, when I came into contact with the person of Ravana. I was helpless. My adverse fate was to blame on that score… As I have never been unfaithful in act, thought and speech to Rama, who knows all the virtues, so let the fire-god protect me.

She is eventually exiled (some versions suggest Ram ordered to have her killed) while she was pregnant with his twins because there was the possibility of her having cheated on Ram. Granted, Ram didn’t know about the babies she is carrying and banishes her away. Years later, when he is re-united with his sons Luv and Kush, Sita refuses to see him; asks her mother Earth to open up and accept her whole. According to Valmiki’s version, she does this because she knows she wouldn’t be able to defy his wishes to return had she spoken to Ram. And this is one of the most important Hindu texts (Gags are in order here). Important to note these texts are favored by upper class women rather than other versions that show Sita as a subversive character, a sort of late-blooming heroine for the lower classes.

It’s an observable pattern that the most transgressive Goddesses are ostracised or in some way have to pay for rebelling against their husbands (remember all that talk of patriarchal writing of these texts?) or only specifically ‘designed’ for the lower classes to relieve them of their specific problems. Goddess Parvati who dared to have kept her husband Shiv from entering her bath had to sacrifice her son’s head; Ma Kali which is one avatar depicting the wrath of Parvati is accepted in society because her ‘original’ avatar is a more submissive woman. Her most extreme avatar Ma Tara is described as “almost naked with matted hair and a blood-red rolling tongue and sitting upon a tiger’s skin with four arms, wearing a garland of freshly severed heads; she wields a blood-smeared cleaver as she stood victorious, dripping with blood, over a dead corpse with an erect phallus” — you can see why she isn’t a mainstream icon. But ‘outcasts’, ‘lowlifes’ and ‘poor women’ can avail of Ma Tara‘s grace because they aren’t bound with the shackles of ‘purity’ and ‘chastity’ that are imbibed in Hindu girls and women as a step-up from those ‘lowly sluts’. It’s only when Mahashveta Devi uses to voice a woman of the lower classes, she can allow her Draupadi to transgress and save herself as opposed to the Mahabharata myth which is just an Indian spin-off on the Damsel-In-Distress syndrome.

This Shakti that we posses is as powerful as all the God’s together, only we aren’t supposed to use it. At least ‘Good Hindu Girls’ don’t use this Shakti to level with the world; we use it so we can stop ourselves from divorcing bullying husbands, committing adultery or doing anything remotely unconventional.

At this point you’re thinking, “Maybe she didn’t have any coffee today. That’s why her head has gone all woozy! NO ONE READS THESE TEXTS ANYMORE! People have computers! Now they just watch the T.V. adaptations or read the Facebook version! Maybe it’s time for her to put down the crack pipe”. The thing is, though we have the electronic printing press or the Internet, we can surmise the entire Ramayan or possibly any damaging text in a 160 characters Twitter version and create more e-debris than previously imaginable; it would be silly to underestimate the power of these written texts.  The T.V. version which is viewed by million people nationwide is based mainly on the Dude’s re-telling of these epics. My freaking aunt and many, many women who read ONLY these texts have taught some of these principles to their sons and daughters. As a child when I read the abridged version of these texts, I thought a woman’s duty is to be obedient and subservient to her Lord (her husband). Only when I read a feminist re-interpretation of these texts, I began to question these ideals.

If these tales are treated as stories, craftily designed to suit the needs of the DudeCouncil, we’d be better off. Otherwise we have campaigns under the name of the Hinduism and ‘preserving Indian womanhood’ that “drives us to assault women” for being Western a.k.a drinking (gasp! alcohol!) in pubs and bars.

Yes, that is a real thing in the world. By a group called the FREAKING Shri Ram Sena.

(This post is published in Womanist Musings)


Hark! I Hear Patriarchial Silencing Again

Most of this summer, I’ve been cut off from most of the human population — by choice. Sometimes there are just so many rape references and derogatory jokes a certain Lady can take before she storms off in fury, hoping to leave in her wake toxic ImaginaryChemicals hoping that some particular nincompoops would just disappear from the surface of the Earth. Alas, chances of that happening are as real as is her dream to attain the super-power to read three books at a time. Or the odds of her reading a Jack Kerouac without flinging the book across the room. Or her giving up veganism. Or finding the complete and un-edited journals of Sylvia Plath. I’m sure you get my drift.

This weekend my friend forced made manipulated asked me if I’d like to venture out of my cave my room has currently become. As much as I didn’t want to acknowledge that I’ve become the proverbial turtle seeking refuge in zie’s shell every time the world manifests its inane-ness, I knew she was right. I’ve noticed lately, even my dog has started giving me patronising looks. But the last straw was when I saw I’d finished every single thing on my ‘To Do’ list three weeks in advance. Let’s just say, when one gets mocked from the afore-mentioned one’s’ ‘To Do’ list, the said one should just get out of the freaking room, put on quasi-clean clothes and breathe in the exhaust fumes of the city for lung exercise. Also, my argument that I stayed in my room all the time as an existential rebellion to all the world’s problems didn’t impress my friend too much. What can I say? Intelligence isn’t everyone’s forté.

In the days I spent not talking to most of humanity, some interesting trends have sprouted. A very popular one is to silence any Lady each time the topic of conversation goes vaguely near to sex, sexuality, expression of sex and especially consent. Don’t believe it? The following is a real conversation between me and a Dude.

“Me: I actually pretty much disliked Sex and the City 2. All that extravagance, the big labels and absolute insensitivity to POC just got to me. Plus the whole idea that women can be ‘free’ and have sex without guilt was the raison d’être for the series. In the movie, the only person who does end up having sex is Samantha. Most of the characters have become complacent caricatures of their former fierce selves.

Dude : Why would you even watch it? Shrek is out too. Isn’t Sex and the City a little inappropriate? Our culture does not advocate women to become sluts. All that free sex everywhere, what messages are they giving women? This can’t be considered as ‘good’ surely.

Me : Our culture tells women not to be ‘sluts’ but men can whore around as much they want under the supremely annoying trope that ‘Men are like that’? Any reasonable person can see how ridiculous this is! Also, what is so wrong with free sex? Especially when it comes to women’s choice to have free sex, everyone puckers up like a soddy grape and when men are ‘sluts’ you applaud them, think of them as your heroes! Isn’t that a little unfair?  And it’s not like women don’t have/like sex. They are just expected to keep quiet about it, among many other problematic things.

Dude : That’s not unfair! It’s India! We don’t talk of sex or our sex lives. This isn’t the U.S!

Me: Correction – WOMEN can’t speak of sex. I can’t believe I’m having this conversation again! Also, this isn’t the 1900’s anymore. Jeez you belong in Victorian England.

Dude : You’re a man-hater! Of course you think this way. You’re nothing but Westernised trash.”

You can see why I chose to ignore this particular part of humanity. As much as I want to make-believe that it’s just this specific douche dude who has such hang-ups about women’s sexuality and The Olde Double Standarde; he behaves so because he has had a deeply troubled childhood where no one really loved him, that’s why he spews so much slander around; on an extremely real level, I know he’s not the only one (Note to self: Recovering Optimists Anonymous meeting tomorrow). There’s nothing shocking about this double standard — it’s older than the zit on my face, this I understand. What I refuse to understand is just why everything I say is used against my status as a Lady.

Last week we were sitting around a coffee table, speaking of another couple we know. This couple in question is supposedly having troubles in the ‘sex-department’ and all the Dudes were speculating who wasn’t performing according to their prescribed gender roles, questions regarding both of their sexuality and sexual prowess are tossed around, the Dudes settle in a conversation that’s quickly setting itself for an endless round of “If it were up to me, this is what I’d do…” and then plunge into excruciating detail to the technical aspects of positions, girth, speed and a million other things as the girls fiddle with their hair, try to see this monologue to a visible end.

When my friend and I suggested that just maybe it’s their business and we should keep out of it, we were rewarded with the labels of being ‘prude’ and ‘frigid’. When we tried to participate in the debate, we were accorded with laughs and guffaws, expressions like, “These two are going to tell US about sex! Let’s hear these women silly, infantile LadyBrains speak, might make for excellent mocking material later”. When I said that we’re just as likely to know and talk about sex, without guilt and shame (two words that are always used ad naseum when the issue of women’s sexual expression comes up here), immediately my status as a verifiable source was questioned. I had two options, admit that I do know about sex and let their creativity run amok imagining me in various accommodating positions or I keep quiet, decline that I know anything about sex. As tempted I was to tell them the truth, I couldn’t risk them knowing, my parents knowing, the world knowing. So, I shut the hell up. Mission accomplished said the Dudes expressions while I felt like bursting into tears.

As Indian women, we’re denied the right to public or private assertions of our sex-life, enjoying our body, taking control; even within the boundaries of marriage. We try to voice our opinions on sex and every other time the DudeCouncil interjects, telling us what we should do and like; always taking refuge in the horrendous standby that “Good Indian women shouldn’t talk of this (‘this’ is code for SEX in India). None of our Goddesses, role models etc sit around like those Western sluts talking about men like that. Yes, sex within marriage is good and desirable. It’s up to you and your husband to decide what you want in there. What’s the point of talking about it?”  — Patriarchal translation: “Your sexual expression depends on the mercy of your husband. If I were you, I’d start fasting for a compassionate husband instead of talking to us.”

The debate of women being homosexuals or trans-gendered is limited only to our heads as Indian lesbians and trans-gendered people are an extremely closeted community as opposed to the relatively more publicly visible Indian gay men. If I’ll ever dare to speak up on behalf of Indian lesbians or trans-gendered people, there is a good possibility that more unnecessary tags will be attached to my name which can possibly ‘destroy’ my reputation in the closed Hindu community I belong to, much to the embarrassment of my parents.

This is the exact reason I chose stay in my room for as long as I could help it. I promise myself that one day, I’ll speak up, set the record straight and talk about all the things I’ve been silent about; all the things I’m forced to be silent about everyday. Today, however, is not that day.

The Legacy Of Our Mothers : What Remains With Us If You Don’t Count All The Fights

As mothers and daughters, I think we’re programmed to disagree with each other (well most of us anyway). It’s set in stone — think of it as the Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall almost always disagree with thy LoinFruit. Especially in public”. My mum and I have been this duo numerous times; keeping true to the Eleventh Commandment, almost always in public. We can squabble about almost everything : my hair, her prejudice against homosexuality, my choice of books and clothes, her choice of books (Two words : Danielle Steel!), my writing, my blog (“Oh just why do you like to write about your life and let the whole world read it?”), her graying hair (read : when I don’t notice she’s just dyed them), my cooking (or lack thereof), her opinions on Indian Politics, my opinions on Indian Politics; even underwear isn’t “No Woman’s Land” in our verbal wars excited discussions. Most of our heated arguments discussions center around — “Oh just WHY can’t you be like other Indian girls? Would it kill you to learn to cook, care about marriage? What do you mean you boycott marriage? WHO WILL GIVE ME GRAND-CHILDREN THEN!?” and many rants in the same vein. The situation doesn’t get any better when her mother enters the diatribe too.

This is the one time dad can’t get away from her fast enough,  as soon, the focus shifts from us and lands on him, simply because he’s there. Frankly, I don’t blame the dude. When the two of us get ranting, within weapon throwing distance from each other, it’s just safer for the common populace to just leave us be.

Despite all the above hoo-ha, sooner than you can imagine, we fizzle out of arguments and then just head to the coffee pits in resigned defeat. She likes to steam off by cooking enough food to feed a small army, as for me, I like to pound the keyboard to get the just right BlogCake. Guess what happened moments before this post? Spoiler : Epic Mother and her LoinFruit War! I am told this happens everywhere, which is sadistically reassuring. Okay, not so much actually.

As Renee recently pointed out, whenever feminists talk of choice, we talk of the Choice To Abort; completely ignoring the choice to Keep The Tiny Human And Love It For The Rest Of Its Freaking Life. And I agree, enough crap has gone on under the carpet due to this misconception (no innuendo intended). This is a final reply to all the angry Indian housewives who send me e-mails daily detailing my life in hell for being “pro-abortion” as they call it. Dear AngryHousewifeLadies : NO one is pro-abortion. We’re all “pro-CHOICE” people (Message brought to you by feminism). Also another thing: what Nina897 wrote about me on her blog isn’t true! Just who lights babies on fire for kicks? If you’re that person, I’m sure some good head doctor will love to speak to you.

From completely verifiable facts, it seems my mum chose the second option, twice. It looks like a choice, walks like a choice and rants like a choice. Only, when we ask it to do the Olde Quacke, we realise, it’s more of an imposition, rule, mandatory code than it’s really choice. She didn’t have a choice to not have little humans tearing apart her LadyBits. If a woman doesn’t produce any LoinFruit, rumours start swirling about her being a hermaphrodite, cold, frigid or worse — a UnWoman.

Motherhood isn’t really a privilege here as much it is like the perpetual cold. Like my one-book-a-day habit, women here pop little humans out of their cooters everyday, get up and start cooking again. I don’t know a single Lady who chose not to have a little human. Either she popped too many or she couldn’t pop a single one out. Either  patriarchy dictates that she has x number of children to fully yield the ‘Complete Woman’ badge or anyone else who doesn’t conform is easily tagged as ‘barren’ and ‘frigid’.

It’s not just the rule that “If Thou has a cooter, little humans must come out of it” that gets me eye-rolling to eternity; it’s  the idea that someone else controls whether the little infant in the womb deserves to live or die, based on its sex that makes me want to give up all hopes on humanity and just go live in a cave. Or sometimes, the family of the Lady doesn’t feel ‘it’s right time‘ to have the little human, women are told to abort their children. Or their cooters are used to control them. I know a few Ladies who have been a part of this control game. It’s unfathomable to let someone else decide what should happen to your body, but these women, have given up control. If I have to look back at all the women I’ve met in my life, each one of them has conformed and earned the status as a Complete Woman. They are all strong women, independent, beautiful and smart; capable of supporting themselves and their family, then why do they settle for being patriarchal pawns? And then it hit me : This is what their mums told them to do. Much like Gloria Steinem’s statement about truth, “It’ll set you free. And then it’ll piss you off”. And it did.

When I am a wee bit older than I am now, when all my squabbles with mum will be a thing of the Truest Olde Time, I don’t want to remember that choice was completely absent from the rules I was brought up with. I don’t ever want to have to take my student for an abortion again either just because her mum didn’t tell her the things she needed to hear. I don’t ever want to hold my friend’s hand as she sits crying in the hospital after her second miscarriage in six months just because her CabbageBrain of a husband doesn’t understand the terms “immature uterus” and “don’t fornicate for at least six months” in DoctorSpeech. I never, ever, want to not have choice. Never again.

(Mum, if you’re reading this, sorry about the part about your LadyBits).

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