The Ivory Tower Comes To Haunt Us Again

Jaded16’s Note: Remember that awesome guest post on using Video Games as a training ground to speak up and call out on inane, insane, incredibly derogatory work? LogosKaiEros is back! See, this is a continuous series of proof for people who think I eat up all the guest posts. Or the guest-posters. But more on that later.

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What Is the Role of the Anti-Kyriarchy Scholar?

Jaded16’s post “Voicing the Voiceless Is Only the Concern of the Artist in the Ivory Tower” got me thinking about my own prospects as a White graduate student who wants to focus, at least partly if not completely, on anti-kyriarchy philosophy.  The “ivory tower” is a concept that haunts me; one of my greatest fears for my professional life will be to work my ass off on anti-kyriarchy philosophy only have it end up being some abstract musings bogged down in the back and forth between academicians with no significant traction in people’s everyday experiences.  As a White philosopher, this especially frightens me when I think about any future work I may do on race.  I don’t want my philosophy to be, as Jaded16 put it, a “speaking for the marginalized fetish.”

Whenever I start to freak out about failing at talking about an aspect of kyriarchy where I belong to the privileged class (which is pretty much everything but gender),  I use Lilla Watson’s words as a mantra:

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.   But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Sometimes I make fun of myself for clinging to this quote, but I find it helpful to regain the grounding point that, I am not writing about race to help “save” people of colour.  True, my privilege has granted me kinds of power and influence that  people of colour do not have and I consider it my responsibility to use that privilege and power to the best of my ability to undermine the oppression of people of colour.  But I am not helping to save them.  I am using my privilege as a stepping stone for them. I am providing what resources I have to give philosophers of colour and philosophy of race the floor.

I should not give a voice to the voiceless, but use my privilege to project their voices.

Am I Up There Too? Oh Noes!

Am I Up There Too? Oh Noes!

Okay…what the hell does that look like?

Well, let’s look at an example of a privileged scholar talking about kyriarchy.

One of the most well known scholars on race is Tim Wise, who is white.  When I first saw Wise on TV, talking about race and unconscious racism and privilege, I almost did a freaking back flip I was so excited.  But you know what he was talking about?  The Henry Louis Gates gate.  And you know who else is a prominent scholar on race?  Henry Louis Gates Jr. , who is Black.  And from watching a bunch of news programs, I learned a lot about Wise’s scholarship and almost zip about Gates’.

Renee on Womanist Musings explains,

Lets consider how many anti-racist allies study the works of Tim Wise and yet nothing he has said thus far is original.  People are listening because Wise is White, and yet all he is doing is regurgitating the thoughts that people of colour have had about Whiteness for centuries. POC have always been the ones with the experience to comment upon its perception and ability to act, due to the fact that Whiteness has always been detrimental to our lives. There are  people of colour that resent that Wise has made a living in this area; however, it cannot be denied that he is using his power to dismantle oppression. What category should we place Tim Wise in?

The question for me is, what should someone who finds themselves in Wise’s position do?  One answer could be to ensure that they spend their career making sure that the voices of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and other scholars of colour are heard.  However, how can a philosopher do this when the profession demands that one publishes reams of their own, original work?  Philosophers who devote their careers to studying other philosophers are pretty much relegated to history of philosophy, which at the moment acknowledges mostly only dead white men as being worthy of such a concentrated study.  I suppose someone could try to study W.E.B. Du Bois or an equally influential writer, but good freaking luck finding a job with that C.V.

Another answer could be to make sure that one’s bibliography is almost entirely made up of work from scholars of colour.  I once sat in on a talk given by a new professor in the music department who said “Every citation is an exercise of power.”  I was thinking about that sentence for the next two weeks.  As someone who is expecting to eventually find their way into a job as a philosophy professor who will presumably publish, I feel crushed by the weight of that sentence.  If I write about race, every citation I make (and you make a ridiculous number of citations in philosophy, sometimes to the point where footnotes take up more than half of a page) is an opportunity, and an obligation, to project the voice of someone that deserves projecting.

And all these brilliant scholars of colour I should be citing? Their work is going to be hidden under the piles and piles AND PILES of work done by white scholars.

No pressure.

Ok, so this will be hard.  Not like it will be as hard as trying to publish my work were I a scholar of colour.  So there’s some perspective.

But, even if I am able to work up the ranks, publish original pieces that still illuminate the work of scholars of colour, there’s still the core of my main worry: how do I ensure that my scholarship is more than just erudite musings?

When Jaded16 wrote in her post about talking to young women and experienced a reaction from them of apathy, I was reminded of hearing the philosopher Nancy Bauer talk at a workshop last year.  On a few occasions Bauer talked about teaching feminism to college students, and that when the students didn’t find academic feminism (or feminism in general) attractive, Bauer saw it as the responsibility of feminist philosophers to make their work relevant to their audience.  It’s not good enough for the feminist philosopher to talk about women; they need to talk with women. Jaded16 likewise concluded,

Speaking of someone is easy, being their ally is relatively better but talking to them takes the ultimate test of privilege.

OK, what does this look like?

Well, here’s what Bauer has said recently in an interview about her work:

“…for years now I’ve been fretting about how feminist philosophy can make itself pertinent in the real world I’m dead set against philosophers’ making pronouncements about how people should and shouldn’t live their lives. We shouldn’t be in the business of telling people whether the human race ought to condone cloning or eat meat or banish pornography. What we ought to aspire to do, I think, is interest people in the project of continually reflecting on their settled views on such subjects. (Any good philosopher knows from personal experience that reflection often reveals that one’s own views are horribly muddled or arrogant or self-contradictory.)”

I’m still mulling over the implications of this in my head, because this is a pretty radical thing for a philosopher to say.  Normative claims–saying what someone SHOULD do–are rampant in philosophy. Many philosophers consider philosophy to be precisely the discipline of figuring out what people should do in their lives.

If I combine the two projects I’ve discussed here, my answer to “What is the role of the anti-kyriarchy scholar?” is something like: to interest people in thinking about kyriarchy by projecting the voices of the people disadvantaged by kyriarchial customs and systems.

I should use my position in the ivory tower to get people interested in what’s happening far below on the ground.

I feel like a bullhorn may be necessary at some point, though whether a figurative or literal one I haven’t decided.

[See how awesome that was? Quickly hop on over to ESSENTIALIZE THIS to read some more of LogosKaiEros. If you don’t already follow her, you should. And I’m not saying this just because she quoted Moi! For anyone who wants to guest post on this blog, contact me here or on iamjadedsixteen [at] gmail [dot] com].

Voicing The Voiceless Is Only The Concern Of The Artist In The Ivory Tower

As a child of 11, I got my first Austen novel from my grandmum. I remember getting lost in the beautiful words, spending hours just reading, laughing and crying with Lizzie — the routine dance of any Austen fan. I’d lose hours while reading her and the Brontes and whenever anyone would wake me up from the trance their words wove around me, I’d take a few minutes to re-enter my “real world”. This world would seem blurred, the one I left in the book was much more interesting. Often mum would get annoyed with my obliviousness to reality, often worry that one day I’ll get locked in my head and just never come out. Generally, I’d laugh it off. Today, I see the truth — however dangerous it is — in her words.

 

If anyone passes even the slightest glazed eye, wise or otherwise, it’s rather easy to notice that speaking for the marginalised has become a sort of a fetish, a desirable thing even. Now don’t be so quick to put me in your HateBook, let me explain. The past two or three decades have seen a sudden boom in international academicians who have a keen interest in “uplifting” oppressed communities by giving them a voice and a platform. The idea of diaspora is extremely interesting (in addition to being lucrative), so is helping Dalit and Tribal or Women’s writing to get published. But just like the fact that changing a street’s name from it’s old Victorian name to the name of any Indian hero isn’t going to ever erase anything around two hundred years of apathy, this entry into academia doesn’t get any closer to “activism” or even “help” than  Shobha Dé to feminism. Call it the coloniser’s existential  guilt — just about two centuries two late — or zie’s UnSubtle effort at being politically correct (with the hopes of effacing history), this obsession with the “native” cultures is alive and thriving.

People today know Mahashveta Devi because of Gayatri Spivak, the ‘East’ at all because of Said, the political agenda behind the selective cannonised texts taught to colonised students because of Achebe and Gauri Vishwanathan, this list goes on. This is why today an Amitav Ghosh can talk about Indian boundaries, nationalities and bodies from sitting at his study in New York. Sometimes, this isn’t an extremely bad thing. For once, we don’t have the colonial perspective showing Natives to be “organic”, “in touch with nature”, “more bestial than human” and the rest gag-reflex-heightening stereotypes, I get that only too well. However, that Jaded part of my LadyBrain is only happy to point out how globalisation of authors and texts is the new fashion, where the author’s identity is more important that what zie has to offer. The more exotic Native zie is,  the better. Earlier this month, I figured out that I was about to get published in a literary journal only because I’m an IndianLady (Doubly Exotic, they exclaimed with joy!). Where the exercise of writing coming out of a colonised or an oppressed subject’s radical edge is blunted as zie walks lovingly into Co-Option’s arms. Sort of like that time when a professor I admired (once) said “Domination by men in the home sphere is okay”. Or when my dog barked at the BuildingCat from my balcony but couldn’t do anything but put his tail into his bumhole when he actually met that FelineQueen. I’m sure you get my drift. But I digress.

Co-option loosely masquerading as freedom is the punch of many writers favour and gladly drink. The artist gets to sit up high in the ivory tower — let the record show I haven’t taken Yeats name AT ALL — and judge all the little insignificant people down. Sometimes, the artist uses a telescope and then zie’s position is slightly more secular. This doesn’t negate the fact that someone from the outside is talking about the inside story, as my friend dearly puts it. And then when the artist really does descend the ivory tower, realise the world outside zie’s head is actually (gasp!) real and all the things zie fought against, thought zie was immune to actually exist. Sure as my aunt’s denial when accused of snobbery, the artist will, too quickly back pedal. “Oh, it was just a mistake”, “No, of course I don’t mean it” and many, many futile admissions do not change the privilege the WorldInYourHead holds. Or so I am learning.

I can passionately talk about equality, losing casteism from our vocabulary, launch indignant attacks at other people’s silencing but when placed on a pedestal, I tripped down too. Quite badly. Yesterday, I gave a talk (with a friend) about Dalit feminism to young Dalit women (as well as women of the lower echelons of society). These young girls were either first generation learners of English or they had difficulty comprehending the theory our paper was stooped in. We expected that, even simplified the terms. But while speaking to them, I realised how anthropological my words sounded. “US and THEM” or “You and I”. The binaries were drawn, albeit subconsciously. However unintended they were, they were THERE. For a moment I got a little frustrated at their apathy and the distance they felt from the Dalit feminists we were discussing. And then, taking a step back, examining my privilege led me to reason their ‘apathy’. Turns out, talking about yourself in third person isn’t fun. Pathetic attempt at humour aside, reflection revealed that some of these girls came from a very “post-caste” academic background where talking about caste was entirely irrelevant, where they identified more with the upper-castes (understand it as neo-colonisation, if you will) or this ‘distance’ was their way of coping with such a ruthless reality of being the ‘Other’ wherever they went. Speaking of someone is easy, being their ally is relatively better but talking to them takes the ultimate test of privilege, I seem to be bitterly failing here. This obsession with de-silencing the oppressed or “voicing the voiceless” is sometimes  a way of masking your own unease with “them”, I can see that today.

Today, I see what being locked in my head has done to me.  I can do little but offer my heartfelt apologies and promise to learn and TRULY see my privilege as it is, and work through it. This isn’t enough, but today this is all I can do.

 

 

 

 

The Housewife Disease: The Oh NOES Is It Contagious Edition Of CabbageBraining

Some of my best childhood memories include me swimming under water in my uncle’s pool, have the water squish all semblance of coherent thought out of my ears, feel the water everywhere and see my breath come out in bubbles. I would pretend that those bubbles were the language I invented, each articulating one particular thought. I’d get comfortable and then, predictably come up gasping for air, feeling bad that there were no bubbles to escape into above the water. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of those bubbles again; only these GrownUp bubbles of mine can whisk me away anywhere (Don’t judge. I can’t control what I dream. Ask Freud, he’d agree too). But it was only last week, I actually felt the need for such bubbles, out of pure “flight” response.

Last week, I went to another seminar — I should just stop attending seminars. The biggest pile of gunk seems to be churned out of them — this time it was the professors who made me want to hammer my ears shut. Generally, after seminars or any other event that asks post-event mingling, I switch my LadyBrain to autopilot, paste the obligatory subtle smile on and leave as soon as the hand hits ‘polite-mingling-over’ on the watch of ForcedEtiquette. Only this time, I wanted to speak to this one professor I liked, so I loitered around. While waiting for my turn to speak to him, I didn’t tune out of the conversation, but was actually listening. In retrospect, that was my first mistake. Someone he knew was asking about his wife and kids, when he said, “Oh, Sheila is still just a housewife” followed by a round of laughter. One one level, I felt horrified that I’d thought of him as somewhat sane, but mostly, all I could do was not burst a BloodVessel as I seethed. And to think he was a self-proclaimed FeministMan. Oh the jokes keep on coming!

Instead of walking away, I talked to him; pointing out (in my usual UnSubtle manner) that what he said was condescending, especially when it was implied that ‘Sheila’ was a housewife by choice. And then he managed to actually flaunt some more privilege by saying something along the lines of, “We’re both educated. People like us don’t waste our degrees. It’s silly to waste all that knowledge away. Can you believe she is a feminist?”. Cue my Medusa face here. I opened my mouth to ask him since when did feminism and motherhood or feminism and being a housewife become mutually exclusive. If so, my LadyBrain completely hazed over that period. I wanted to say so many things, but then, he just didn’t care. Clearly, valuing women’s choices isn’t something that occurs to this ‘FeministDude’ (where his version of feminism can be loosely defined as “On your knees, NOW). Sadly, other professors — most of them women — found that funny too.

It’s sickening that there are indeed many people in academia that think a housewife is devoid of all radicalism, is apolitical and a thoroughly static figure, crafted to eternally please. In fact, there is a long running slur joke against housewives in our culture. These housewives — who apparently choose to be ‘ignorant’ and ‘housewife-y’ are called as ‘Maniben’ (s). Politely translated, it stands for a bumbling, simple idiot who is more dedicated to material things in life (women need to SHOP more than they need to breathe!) rather than engaging in any form of activity that will require them to think of anything beyond what to cook for dinner. This ‘maniben’ is typically boxed as a “proud, privileged woman who wants nothing more than to just show off her money and ignorance”. There are many jokes about her putting on an ‘English’ accent while speaking incorrectly or perhaps she crumbles into pieces if she misses her daily soaps. Speaking of which, many Indian soaps use this ‘maniben’ as a character who provides comic relief. Of course watching a silly, ignorant woman fumble is funny. But I digress.

What really rankles this LadyBrain is how this ‘ignoramus housewife’ is a societal construct more than it is ‘natural’ as it is assumed to be. Let’s say if I wasn’t allowed to study, was told from the moment I could understand things that whatever I would do, I wouldn’t match up to a Dude, that my education was unnecessary, that I would find inherent joy in being a wife and a mother; I’d be one of those housewives too. In fact, what is wrong with that? Who can dictate that housewives are devoid of independent thought, of liberal thinking, of lacking any sort of intelligence, JUST BECAUSE YOU NEVER LET THEM BE ANYTHING ELSE! I’m not implying that being a housewife is a choice in India. It surely isn’t in more than 60% of the houses I know of. The point is, if a man stayed home, raised his children and perhaps accomplished the UnThinkable (gasp!) even cooked food, no one calls him effeminate. Instead every one will coo “Awww” and secretly hope that one day, even their husbands will fetch their own cups of tea. On one hand, the DudeCouncil raises an army of SubservientLadies every year — so that all the DudelyDudes get their quota of supposedly spineless servants wives — and on the other hand they berate “housewives” for being just that. Talk about re-channeling Marie Antoinette!

And when a ‘LiberatedWoman’ (Indian code for educated) chooses to remain home, the ‘EnlightenedOnes’ frown at her for not using her intelligence. Suddenly, all that she is and represents is the degrees hanging on the proverbial wall, devoid of the independent choice to do whatever she wants to do with her life. She is to be pitied, to be concerned for. “Poor thing, wasting her life away at home” or “Sometimes even education cannot break the mind’s iron walls of stupidity“, such words one hears before someone swiftly changes the conversation. A feminist — the freaking god to zie’s mind — can’t possibly waste zie’s time speaking about such a deplorable object, someone who will never see the light. Also, when the serious task of ‘spreading the seed of knowledge’ rests on us Radical beings, We the Great Freaking Feminists, we won’t stop to ponder that just maybe, her staying at home is a CHOICE, that she decided for herself and she is quite happy. Or the fact that she is sending out sensitive, smart, ‘liberated’ children out in the world completely passes us by. Just like Ayn Rand and common sense.

Can you blame me for wanting to escape into a bubble when I hear this? If anyone asks for me, I’ll be at the deep end of the pool, comfortable in a language where these slurs don’t exist.

Erasing Invisibility One Step At A Time

As a pure defense of the well-being of my lobes, I tend to interact with fellow feminists more than I do with UnFeminist people under the (misguided)  assumption that at least, Ze feminists won’t make me want to puncture my own eyeballs on an alarmingly regular basis. I can be such a half-turnip sometimes! This doesn’t mean any feminists haven’t been accused of  endorsing harmful tropes like classicism, trans-phobia, racism, ableism etc — from Margaret Sanger to Mary Daly. Even today we will find someone who will insist theirs is the “right” kind of feminism and anyone who deigns to disagree with zie needs brain transplant right away. All said and done, when I actually meet one of these Self-Proclaimed-Dispatchers-Of-Feminist-Privilege, I’m always shocked, then outraged and ultimately undergo too much chafing of my BrainCells.

This week at a conference on the Renaissance Women of Maharashtra, I came across these revolting lines — There has never been a ‘real‘ feminist movement in India. They further explained this conclusion because there have never been any “Waves”, just tiny “ripples” in the stream of women’s rights. While their facts seem to be correct, the conclusion they drew was hasty and contrived. If I were to put it delicately, they were WRONG. When I contradicted their statements, they managed to drown more in quicksand of their own doing. Apparently the reason it’s not a real movement because it’s “nothing like the Radical Wave of the 60’s in the U.S” —  the doctrine of gag reflexes? It fits in right here. Then the speakers said something else too along the lines of “the wave in Europe and U.S. can only be called a movement; as there is a collective desire and agenda of change”. I confess, I didn’t bother to listen to anything after that but it can’t have been anything good judging from my fellow speaker’s disgusted looks. Once again, in a conference — the most academic of its kind–  we forget the contribution of the so-called “lower caste” women as they don’t represent “the normal demographic“. I invoke the omnipresent gag reflex again.

It’s not unusual to see such conscious erasure of Dalit women’s involvement in academic discourse. Unless, of course one of them comes to represent their own clan, we pretty much ignore them. We proclaim loudly on LegalPaper that “untouchability” is a crime and is now completely absent from our culture while we continue to practice it, blatantly and ostentatiously (albeit craftily). People think Dalit feminists are being melodramatic when they claim triple oppression on grounds of Class, Caste and Gender. Many people rob them of speech because whenever they speak out, they highlight the suppression they face at the hands of the upper castes (read: who wants to read just how big arseholes they are being?). Many can’t stand “Dalit writing” because of how unaesthetic it is — considering how Dalit writing often closely mirrors their lived reality — or some just think they should just shut the hell up now that they have “reservations” or “protective discrimination”. Some have a problem with the way masculinity is constructed in Dalit writing, an almost hyper-masculine ideal, which again is a little too close to home. But the problem most people have with is the organic, cohesive bond Dalit women depict. There were  many critics at this conference that suggested that these Dalit feminists shouldn’t give so much importance to women, as “after a point, this whole pro-woman diatribe seems forced“. Never mind that Dalit women were the pioneers of the Ambedkarite movement, bore the brunt of educating their children and themselves by themselves, took unmitigated violence from their spouses and the society for simply being women. Never mind that their bodies bear the harshest wounds of oppression, as till date, they are seen as bodies literally to be possessed — by their own men and men of the upper castes. Let’s completely disregard their entry and sacrifice into the Nationalist movement; they have reserved seats in public transport now. IF they are ever mentioned with academic discourse, then their husband’s contribution gets special mention for being benevolent and kind while women are silenced again. People don’t even want to consider that Dalit women led and sustained a “movement” that would satisfy even Western standards (though questions why should our movement match up to other cultures are met with heavy silences) of the “feminist wave”.

Such is the precarious nature of Dalit feminism, their struggle becomes more immediate than most, as living life from the lowest and meanest position of the Subaltern makes them “outsiders”; chromatically so. Most people don’t regard their movement as feminist at all because they aren’t concerned with mainstream ‘feminist’ problems. Their struggle is “basic” as a large demographic of Dalits live below the poverty scale (to the sadist pleasure of the Landed Gentry). I don’t see how can these women ever worry over reproductive rights or sexual freedom if they don’t even have food to eat, aren’t educated, fighting sexism in the most personal way possible. But of course, because they don’t mimic Simone de Beauvoir’s tongue or her qualms, they can’t possibly be feminist, can they? Instead of judging the world with a Western lens, I’d prefer it if we saw how these RemarkableWomen — collectively, as they are, many hearts and bodies pulsating as one — negotiate their manufactured invisibility.

To think we celebrate each passing year of independence with pomp and pride but are dedicated to never divorcing this collective colonised persona is hilarious. Tragically hilarious, rather.

P.S. Another brilliant post on ‘Whiteness’  by Wallamazoo that I’m just too damn tired to cross-post. Read it here.

This Is Why I Gave Up On Newspapers — A Rant To Ad Nauseum

One of my many deviations from normalcy is my strong distaste for newspapers. For a Lady who has had many a wet dream about being a writer in the world outside just her head, it’s probably an impractical dream, I get that. Just like the time I wanted to be a doctor without actually touching anyone. Or that time I wanted to do my high school dissection without killing anything. Time and again, I’m forced to choose between puke or barf. Usually, I just drop my impracticalities and move on to the next fantastical thing. Then it’s Pause, Stop, Latch On, Rinse and then Repeat to infinity. Welcome to TumbleDry of this LadyBrain, I say. Of course, to live in Mumbai and to not be sure — right down to my retirement savings plan — is indeed blasphemous. After all, this is a country where some parents do, till date decide their children’s profession from about the time they are in their soggy diapers. Mum has now understood studying DeadDudes, DeadWomen and any other Alive-Or-Undead writer makes me happy, after protesting against anything remotely science-y or math-y for about 19 years or so. I will stop you before you say, “C’est La Vie!”.

It was a normal Sunday morning, last week. I got up at about 10 am, wiped all the drool off of my face as my dog stealthily shoved me off of the bed. I saw yet another zit on my face. Routine has been established and maintained my LadyBrain said as I heard the reassuring sounds of the couple across my apartment started their ritual verbal war. I dragged my arse to the kitchen, made a vat of coffee, proceeded to drink it all too. You know, routine stuff. And then, in post-caffeinated cloud of an esspressorgasm, I did something I never do. I read the Sunday Times. And then my world came tumbling down as I read the paper.

I somehow managed to scoop off my jaw from the floor as I read this dude douche open his flytrap so far wide that I couldn’t even begin to start smashing the words that came out of his mouth. Not even if I had Feminist Hulk by my side. You can imagine, BLOG! reading people, just how much manure this douchetruck spews. This Dude-ly Dude in question is Vibuti Narain Rai, ex-cop and Vice-Chancellor of some fancyarse university, who has very successfully faked being a somewhat sensible man all these years. Till about two weeks ago, anyway. Important tip for all people who don’t want to stick themselves in a huge mess, don’t call feminists prostitutes! Well, not in a media interview anyway. Turns out, saying “That recent autobiography can be very easily be called ‘How many times in How many beds” for a woman-writer’s autobiography can be very harmful. Who knew? Not him, for sure!

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen

I thought about writing to this Dude and explaining just why do women or any other marginalised community (in particular) will focus on The Body enough to completely gross you out and make you not-prong anyone for five minutes. I wanted to explain to him that talking about the anatomy is an old-tradition in politics of the oppressed because this is our way of re-claiming what was ours TO BEGIN WITH, the same land you went on and controlled, bound, used anyway. Sounds a wee bit familiar to Colonisation, doesn’t it? The only difference between the two was that Colonisation happened under the guise of OppressionTacticsForIgnoramuses Liberal Humanism and controlling bodies — especially marginalised bodies — is like chewing gum to Patriarchy. At least, colonisation “Set out to do good” (laughably) on paper. Interestingly, both — the omnipresent coloniser and the patriarch — could enjoy many a private ejaculation in our bodies. Generally, without consent. I wanted to explain to him, writing about sex  is radical, dangerous, tricky and ultimately rebellious. This is a culture where we are told and ritually taught to never explore our body or sexuality. While there are cinema halls for the menz to go and mass-jerk-off* to any B-flick, we are told to sit correctly, turn our heads inwards every time the conversation goes to sex. It seems incredible that there are still people who refuse to talk to their daughters about sex, menstruation, child-birth but will definitely give her plenty of dolls and kitchen sets to play with. I wanted to talk to him about the deeply negative and rife with religious taboos this space of feminine masturbation is, considering ours is a country that is one of the biggest consumer of women’s pornography — romance novels! I wanted to ask him the reason behind why do many men of our culture feel it’s okay to grope, touch and literally possess our bodies without a sliver of guilt; I wanted to ask him when did this shift from worshiping women — per our scriptures — to mishandling them take place? Was there anyone overseeing this? If so, could I have a good long talk with them?

By this time, I was ready to claw my way into the newspaper, reach into his office and give him one hard resounding smack with Butler’s “Bodies That Matter” till sense was instilled in him. Till he would understand that it’s stupid for his career as well his semblance to pass off as quasi-sensible to say something along the lines of ‘women are flaunting their bed-hopping skills in the name of feminism’. Till he would remember that (W)hordes of Dudes have been doing the exact same thing across cultures. In fact, as far as I know, the more Dudes mention the women they consensually or non-consensually prong or boink (take your pick), the more famous their Dudely memoir gets. And this is true across cultures!

But I digress. Don’t want to bleed to a mental death anymore as all these said Dude memoirs come flashing by this LadyBrain. I can do it on some other Sunday. Besides, there is a particular CanineMale who is salivating at my feet (literally) because I’ve ignored my Sunday tradition — Giving him the newspaper to tear to bits. Mission accomplished, his tail wags as I drown now in post-post-caffeinated-espressoragasmic stupor.

* Sigh. Women can go to these theatres too. Only if they are okay with horny men groaning (and doing much more) around them. And this is me not commenting on the flick being played at all.

P.S. Check out Wallamazoo’s post on supposed White Oppression that I am too lazy to cross-post. Hey! It IS Sunday after all.

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