The ‘Desi’ Feminism…!!

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If you are born and brought up in an Indian household, you must have witnessed the mixed vibes of the ‘Desi Feminism’ by now! I would more generally call it “Pseudo-feminism”.

Doesn’t ring a bell? Let me refresh your mind, with some of these “common” incidences of “Patriarchy in the name of women empowerment or feminism”

A mother talking to her friends at a party “We have modern thinking, we believe daughter’s education is of utmost importance, we won’t get her married until she graduates”.

Few minutes later, Same Mother talking in a raised voice to her daughter, “Stop reading that book! The food is ready, go and serve dinner to your brother, make sure he is fed well.

At a marriage meeting, Groom’s family to bride’s father “We have no objections to her working after marriage. We only wanted a working woman for our son! We believe an independent woman is an asset to the family. We will treat her like our daughter”.

Same family after few months of marriage, “She is too strong headed and vocal!  How she can take a decision without consulting us? An outsider will always remain an outsider! We should have never married our son to her

In another family, Parent threw a huge party to celebrate birthday of their twin children, a girl and a boy.  Two cakes were ordered, pink and blue! A relative “Your children are lucky to have you as parents!”  Parents were overjoyed to hear this!

They called the twins and said, “Here are your presents my children”.

The boy said in a thrilled voice, “Wow! Dad I knew you would get me the latest laptop for my birthday!”

The girl said in a disappointed voice, “Again a doll! I wanted a laptop! I have been asking for it since 2 years, brother got new one”.

Father, “What will you do with a laptop, there are bad content on internet these days, he is a boy, he can handle, you are a girl and should stay away from such things. Girls should be playing with dolls; I got you the most expensive doll from abroad”

There are endless ways that Indians satisfy the image of being pro-feminism but in reality they are still trapped in the ironies of patriarchy.

Once a rape case is highlighted, people end up on roads in protest and candle marches. Ironically, these are the same people who turn blind eyes and ears when a girl is being eve-teased.  These include women!

Feminism is not something to make hype about and become famous! Feminism isn’t about women who pose with sanitary pad or burn bras, or who slap men! 

Feminism is equality of mind, status and freedom to anyone including men. It’s about raising voices against inequality standard prevailing in the society. Raising voices against the patriarchal standards that make it okay for men to violate women but even more for women to see this and turn blind eyes. Because it is mostly their son, brother or father who is the violator!

Feminism is not about women tearing each other down to rise up but to lift each other up.

Feminism is having an unbiased, non-judgmental attitude towards everyone.

Obviously people do gossip, human nature; but problem is when those gossip session can clog your judgement about a fellow women! Feminism also mean having a strong and bold mindset.

Feminism embarks trust and respect in women, for women and by women!

Stop being the victims and propagators of pseudo-feminism!

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The Judgement…!

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We live in a judgmental world, do we not?

Judging others is a part of our daily lives today without knowing how bad and unworthy a trait it is to possess; we carry on doing it every instant. It is strange how we cherry-pick labels for each other. We decide that others aren’t quite the way they should be.

There is a lot of hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness here. We want to reject others as they are, but insist that others love and accept us the way we are.

We as a society are judgmental, because we lack acceptance and empathy!

I see people passing judgement every now and then; sometimes I am a part of the conversation and sometime, I just wonder, wish I could stop them.

Mr. X’s son failed in class 10th. “What a shame! Black spot to family” Someone remarked!

No one cared to know that, Mr. X’s son won in the National hockey team! No one cared to know that, Mr. X’s son was fighting cancer! No one cared to know, Mr. X’s son had music as his passion! No one cared to understand, it could be just a bad year!”

A forty-something women in a metro, braiding a doll’s hair, singing to herself. “She must be mentally retarded, what is she doing travelling alone like that, she is definitely not sane”. People made fun of her and mocked at her.

No one cared to know, she might be taking that doll for her kids as a gift. It could be her childhood doll, she found this morning, with thousand memories attached. She could be taking it for donation to an orphanage. No one knows her history but everyone had their ‘judgement sword’ on, ready to stigmatize, ready to disrespect something that is ‘not-normal’ as per the societal norms”

Women and men are praised for looking a certain way, but women and men are put down for not meeting a certain standard. Even in today’s world women are expected to run errands at home and those who don’t are labeled. They automatically become incompetent homemakers or wives.  Men are still looked down upon if they chose specific profession or chose to work around the house in specific parts of world.

In a lot of marriages, we will find great examples of our judgmental tendency. We marry, and then almost immediately, we stand in judgment of the person we promised to love, almost every action is judged upon, criticized and reasoned for. We want them to change to ours and our family likes. They are judged for their opinion and actions.  According to a survey, this is one of the main causes of failed marriages in today’s world.

I read somewhere:

 “The way you measure yourself is how you measure others and how you assume others measure you”

A tricky statement but absolutely true!

Here are few examples:

“If you measure your value through relationship with your family, then you will measure others by same standard: That is closeness to their family. If they don’t live with their family, or do not visit home often, you will judge them as being irresponsible or being bad son/daughter regardless of their lives or their family values. Even if they have a happy family, you will end up believing that it’s all a facade and they are bound to be unhappy.”

“If for you travel and partying are important to value life as worthwhile, then you will measure other by same standard: How many times in a year they travel or how many times in a week they party. If they don’t travel much or stay home all weekend, you will judge them as losers regardless of their needs.”

“If women have been taught that taking care of home and men in the house as her sole responsibility in a marriage, she will measure the other women in the same scale. If other women don’t fall in her expectations, or got out to work rather than take care of home, she will immediately judge them as bad homemakers regardless of their own ideologies.”

It is mostly are own insecurities that we judge in others. When we are insecure and/or unhappy with whom we are, we try to put other people down.

This is the reason an average looking women, always find fault in how the other people look or are dressed. Even good-looking women with deep-seated insecurities or complexes look for all the ways to tag people around them as ugly.

We judge because we have deep-seated learning from our society or homes and our mind reason that to be correct.

This is why Men from ‘male dominated homes’ or ‘abusive homes’ disregard the opinions from their partner and are quick to judge them as invaluable. They are the ones who are also perpetrators of domestic violence because they assume it is fine to do so.

We judge because we are scared or intimidated by others and hence we will put them down.

Quite often  daughter-in-law’s are judged for choices they make in running errands at home because quite often they are viewed as threats and are disrespected by other women to feel powerful.

What is worse is we not only judge but to make matters worse we believe in our judgement!

It is important to understand each individual is different and have their own set of needs, values and belief. What we may find as important, they may consider as a unnecessary and vice versa.

We might find family values as integral, but most people do not.

We may view the world based on our ambition and materialistic things we possess, but most people do not.

We may consider someone as happy with the number of friends they have or number of parties they attend but most people do not.

We need to remember when we judge others we do not define them but ourselves!

 

We need realism to deal with reality!

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I was recently going through some blog posts and I was amazed by a pattern that I could trace out in most of the posts! Each article that I read and the experiences shared by different authors were all so ‘idealistic’. I mean of course I have nothing against the concept of ‘idealism’ but how idealistic can one person be in real life?

Idealists, practically live in wonderland thinking that life is like a fairy tale. Well if that were the case then there would be no poverty, unemployment, wrong choices, heartbreaks but as we all know, that is not the case!

I usually prefer reality; it is all about portraying your real self and real emotions as regular folks—bored housewives struggling for some alone time, depressed teenagers, stressed working women longing for vacations, not-so-in –love couples trying hard to make the marriage work, poor spinsters, petty government officials & a successful entrepreneur struggling to meet work-life balance—living ordinary lives. Let’s face it: most of us don’t live crazy exciting lives, after all.

Realism is also not about trying to portray the real life characters as ideals, selfless, God fearing people always! As in real life it’s all a mix of selfishness, small fights, dilemmas, crises, hang-ups, love, hatred, dislikes, sadness, happiness but that is what makes ordinary life meaningful.

Thinking outside the box and writing what reader might consider ideal or perfect is NOT idealism! What remains important is knowing your limitations and being honest with yourself about what works within your story rather than trying to make yourself look serene and pure!

Strangers are fascinating. I always get curious about the lives of people I don’t know? We know that they’re like us, but we also know that they’re different from us.  What about that cute colleague in office, who never says a word to anyone? Does he have friends? What about that woman who left her husband? Why that guy ended up an alcoholic, or why that kid ran away from home?

Reading it is like peeping through a keyhole into the lives of others but as we all know nothing is perfect. In social media, all seems so wonderful – vacations, smiling faces, perfect relationships and also the best seller “quotes”. It makes me wonder, all those people who share such amazing quotes, do ever follow them in real life? Well, you know the answers!

Maybe this is where the fatigue is coming in. We always compete to prove ourselves right, perfect and ideal. Challenges arise and not all of them are resolved with a happy ending.  If I read about an author’s life or his beautifully drafted story, I would want to read something realistic not a ‘preaching’, though written exceptionally well, but has no meaning in real life as it is not heartfelt.

We need to get real. We need to understand. We need to feel.

Does Weight Really Matters?

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“She’s so fat, it’s disgusting”, “She’d be pretty if she was skinnier!”, “Keep eating like that and you’re going to be a butterball,”.  “Oh. Honey! You have such a pretty face, if only you were thin!” “You are too skinny for a girl!”

Have you ever heard, or said the above to yourself, then you have practiced what is known as body shaming, and you’re not alone. We have all been there, whether it’s us doing the body shaming or being body shamed or being the spectator of some else being body shamed.

People body shame for having curves or having none.  No matter how many empowerment conferences, TED talks, and blog posts are out there, men and women keep tearing one another down over physical appearance.

If someone is overweight, there may be numerous factors, meaning it’s not always due to poor discipline or willpower. The human body has a tremendous capacity for variation, which is why everyone looks different! There are people who are happy with the way they look and there who desire changes in body image, the point is whatever it may be, only opinion that matters is their own.

It’s not like our society is typically bad and criticize people based on everything. You must have heard people standing up for each other when someone is criticized for their skin colour, sex or height.

Then why not stand up for criticism against weight?

Criticizing someone for weight is ironically considered acceptable.

Can you see the logic in this? It’s for the fact that someone’s skin colour or height isn’t something reversible but they can always reduce weight through diet and exercise.

So we assume if someone is overweight or underweight our criticism is not inhuman. Is it really?

Well I believe, It is as in-human as the others!

Research say some people are more prone to gaining weight, there are genetics involved. I am not saying every obese person can use this as an excuse, what I am trying to Imply is it could be one of those factors. Sometimes hormones plays the role and even certain people are more inclined toward eating high calorific food due to certain factors in brain, research is still ongoing.

But, such people can always eat healthy or do regular exercise, right?

Well, again that is not always easy. According to research by Cambridge University, where they examined 100 popular food items under Government criteria as healthy or not and the findings showed that healthy food costs three times as much as unhealthy food!

It’s not just the price it is the availability as well that affects. Junk food outlets like McDonald’s, Pizza hut, Dominos, KFC etc. are invariably available but how many salad or green veggies outlet do we have in our city?

Think it from the perspective of someone working 12-14 hours a day, getting just ten minutes lunch break. Would you go around looking for healthier expensive options or grab a bite of something that’s across the street and cheap?

Fine, now you would say even if we agree so far, ‘you have fair chance of being obese’, ‘not getting healthier options to eat’ but what about exercise? That is something all can do, right?

It is a good point but not always applicable as exercise requires time! Someone might be commuting 3-4 hours a day after a 10-12 hours job; someone might be raising children or nursing a new-born; caring for sick parents or spouse; someone with physical limitation; lack of safe places to walk or exercise.  The reasons can be anything from challenging work life situation to psychological stress. Stress is also linked with binge eating.

What we need to understand and communicate is being ‘overweight’ is nothing to be ashamed of and likewise nothing to be mocked at. The reason to lose or gain weight should only come from your inner self, if that makes you happy and at your own pace. There can be times when you are too busy running to make both ends meet and you overlook your health and diet. But these are the times; you need to feel even more confident.

Find things you LIKE about your body.  Maybe, despite your body image struggles, you love a new hairstyle you discovered.

Find something physical or nonphysical that makes you YOU and celebrate it every day!

The Perfect Marriage

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Does happily ever after really exist or is that just some silly phrase out of a fairy tale?

The fact is at no point in life can you be perfect at anything, but you can prepare yourself for the adventures of life.

And one of life’s biggest challenges is marriage!

Marriage is considered to be one of the hardest aspects of life to control and requires preparation emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

The old notion of “soulmate” is just overrated; “True soulmates” are the one you are married to no matter how unreal you might find them in the moment of aggression.

This is especially true as it is said that “true soulmates are not born but made!” It isn’t something that will happen in the first month, or even in the first year. It will take time, and patience, and commitment. It is believed that with the right amount of love, happiness, and communication anything is possible and your dreams of being together forever may one day come true.

I was married on 25th December 2015 and I have learnt both the numerous ways to destroy and build a successful marriage through “live experiences”.

Few months into our marital bliss, we sobbed on our couch with our heads in our hands. We fought numerous times and we made up even more. Each fight taught something new about each other and led to the reality check of ‘being married’. We disagreed on finances, our ideas of running the household, family, friends, even sometimes on our views about current news! Sometimes our fight led to other person jumping to conclusion without other completing the sentences. I found some his views unreal as he was sometimes stubborn and annoying during such fights and he might have felt the same as we never knew these aspects while we were dating!

Isn’t it during such fight we feel that this is not what I bargained my freedom for? Isn’t it during those hard times we do feel, marriages sucks and most often we assume the other person has changed or maybe we never really knew who they really were!

This happens because we often fold inside of ourselves these lengthy lists of qualifications, standards, and traits we expect the “right person” to meet. But the reality is there is no such thing as “right person” and this is because no one is perfect. There are in-built flaws in all of us and you just have to learn to live with it.

Do you really think there is any such thing as “the right person will come and wipe of your tears and your life will become magical”? Well NO! No one has that kind of power. How can one expect another person to encompass all of the ideals he or she is so grossly incapable of encompassing?

There are thousands of articles available that tell you ‘Dos and Don’ts of a successful marriage.  But the fact is every marriage is different and the rules cannot be same for all.

What I learned and still am is:

 “Believe in your partner and their intentions like we believe in ourselves!”

This does not mean turning a blind eye but it only implies considering them as part of you and trusting their actions even at a point when you know you are on the verge of breaking.

I strongly believe after being married to the person I love the most now is “No matter how wonderful he is, he isn’t a knight-in-shining anything because I am certainly no princess either!” And it would be unfair for me to expect him to be.

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