Wednesday, December 31, 2014

4

Current Issues on Female Sexuality




Happy Occasional Link Day! Here are some links if you are interested in learning more about female sexuality, specifically Indian female sexuality in a repressed culture.

http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/romanticizing-innocence-chastity-and-related-taboos-for-women/

http://www.desiblitz.com/content/sex-and-the-indian-woman

http://infochangeindia.org/agenda/claiming-sexual-rights-in-india/busting-the-myth-of-the-great-indian-sexual-revolution.html

http://kafila.org/2013/02/11/when-women-ask-for-it-veena-venugopal/

http://womensissues.about.com/od/feminismequalrights/a/FeminisminIndia_2.htm

http://www.womensweb.in/articles/talking-about-female-sexual-desire/

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?200392
0

On Sexualization of Indian Culture in America; How Non-Indian Men View Me



I know I have talked a lot about issues regarding India, but my blog is "Indian-AMERICAN Feminist" so I guess I should add some issues that are relevant to the average ABCD (American Born Confused Desi). 

Oftentimes I feel very conflicted when usually white people say they love something about my culture, especially men. I think that there is a stereotype that Asian women are very submissive and docile and I don't think that's true. I found this text and thought it would fit in well with this post: 




To start off, this is absolutely disgusting. If something like this happened to me, I would start feeling like a sex object every time I put on a "dimond". I think that there is a problem with sexualizing Indian culture and Indian women by non-Indian men. 
I feel conflicted because I do think I am mostly "white" on the inside, but having someone reiterate and call attention to my culture, and specifically in a sexual way, unnerves me and makes me uncomfortable. I hate that for some men, I am a fetish and what makes it worse is that I am the typical short Asian with a baby face and shy. They don't like me for me, they like me because they want me to embody the stereotype. 

And yet it is ironic that in my own home, I am desexualized. The Indian-American culture is remarkably similar to the Indian culture, perhaps even more regressive because parents are stuck in the mindset of what India was like 10,15,20 years ago. There is a post on FemWire about this, here is a specific part: 

The concepts of good and bad within Indian society, particularly when it comes to women and girls, are built around virtue. Ahem, chastity. This is widely known to be the case in India itself, where women’s lives and choices are largely restricted and controlled supposedly for their own safety. But in reality, these protections are meant to hinder their sexual freedom, not ensure their overall wellbeing. Similarly, the Indian American community and its values are not far off from this culture. The women are expected to be, and are viewed as, virginal and sexually submissive. The silence around female sexuality – everything from the onset of puberty to reproductive health to attitudes about sexual activity – is common in Indian American homes. And then young people take this with them into their personal and social lives, carrying stigmas about sex and judgment for those who break the rules. In this way, I was able to make the connection, even if only in the periphery of my adolescent mind, about what it was about me that was wrong. The curves of my face, my boisterous personality – versus many other Indian girls’ reserved studiousness – and my avid obsession with making mix tapes off of Hot 97: to other Indians, these things indicated something unrespectable and, indirectly, sexual about me. And it was like a stain that spread over the years.

Women of color were mostly unseen as partner options. And if we landed in the purview somehow, it was, at best, to be mentioned as perhaps pretty and then quickly dismissed (you know, the “Wow, you’re pretty for an Indian girl” line) or, at worst, to be ridiculed for our ugliness. This may sound extreme, but it’s the reality I lived. I undoubtedly stood out in this context – ashy knees in the winter, unruly mane of thick, black hair in a sea of pale midriffs and near-ubiquitous gold or platinum highlights – but I was also invisible. And that external gaze is powerful: the invisibility desexualized me.

After all these years, I’m single for the first time not in a collective setting of a school or university. I’ve finally come to see clearly the odd dichotomy I’ve been navigating of being seen as prudish and puerile and, alternately, overly sensual and almost dangerous because of the ways I step outside of that virtuous Indian woman trope, even if only in the way I speak, carry myself, and dress. I’ve found that I almost always worry that a guy is reading me in one of these two extreme ways. And I do an exhausting dance of guessing which one it is so I can counter it with the appropriate behavior. Only recently did it occur to me that this is not something I can control, that it’s not my fault. That realization in itself is helping me shut out the noise to slowly find the in-between – and with that, my authentic self.

Sexuality does not originate from your body, but the possibility of strange men’s sexuality is constantly in your mind, policing what you wear and how you perceive yourself.

What do you think about this topic? Any commentary or stories? Agree or disagree? Or how is it similar or different being a girl in India? 

Works Cited: 

Growing Up Brown: Desexualized and Hyper-sexualized by Zoya Haroon
(http://feminspire.com/growing-up-brown-desexualized-and-hyper-sexualized/)

Walking the Tightrope: Good Indian Girls, Race, and Bad Sexuality by Chaya Babu

(http://thefeministwire.com/2013/05/walking-the-tightrope-good-indian-girls-race-and-bad-sexuality/)



0

Update: Sexuality in Arranged Marriages



My last post was featured on the popular blog Indian Homemaker and I am so thankful I got a lot of responses! 

I realized a lot of it has to do with the collectivist mentality that is the default in Eastern cultures. Basically, the parents are so afraid that the child will get out of hand and marry someone totally different and then the lineage, traditions, and culture will be ruined! That is why they don't encourage girls to explore their sexuality because the girls are being bred for a certain type of marriage that is secure and stable in the family's and community's approval and blessing. 

One comment by wordssetmefree.wordpress.com really stood out to me, she mentioned her thoughts so eloquently that I cannot help but post her response here.She replied specifically to this part: 

“But in Indian arranged marriages, you have to decide in 1-3 meetings if you like each other or not (never mind getting to know each other-the elders think that can happen AFTER marriage!)
Never mind figuring out what TYPE of sexuality you have, how do you even know you HAVE a sex drive/sexuality if you are pushed into it like that after repressing it for that long? How many Indian couples are actually physically attracted to each other? There is no room for not being “sure” of your sexuality, it is assumed that you are straight and like men/or women even if you have never had a relationship before! Also what if you find out on your wedding night you are not attracted to your SO?”
And she replied: 


Well, the purpose of an arranged marriage is to bring in a woman who will fit into the man’s family and play her assigned role with gratitude – child bearer, cooks the family’s familiar meals, caregiver for the elders, satisfies the man’s sexual needs, accompanies him to social events, maintains the family’s traditions, does the family pujas and vrats, and has a proper transition plan for the incoming d-i-l who will take her place.
So, no one really cares if the husband and wife bond with each other. Because God forbid, if they did, they would start thinking about their own dreams and have their own vision for the kind of life they want to live together. Which doesn’t suit the clan one bit.
So all individual expression must be suppressed. Any laughter or friendship between husband and wife is frowned upon. Time spent together without others is disapproved of. If the husband is even a little bit romantic or caring (brings her a beautiful saree or tucks her hair behind her ear), he is labelled “hen-pecked” or a “joru ka gulaam”. How is sexual exploration even possible without laughter, without friendship, without romance, without bonding?
So the answer is no, they will not know what each other’s sexual desires or preferences are, or if they have compatible orientations. For the man, it is a hurried, hushed guilty pleasure that he will never explore fully. For the women, it can become a chore, a boring necessity, an obligation, due to socially conditioned repression and lack of sex education. For both, sex is an act that is required to produce kids. This is the absolute traditional Indian view of sex. Not Kama Sutra but how the everyday traditional Indian sees it.
It is possible that this is changing due to increasing awareness and experimentation and dating among young people, although we do not know the exact extent of this change. It might make an interesting study for social behaviorists.
What is your opinion? Any commentary or stories to add? Do you agree or disagree and why?


Friday, December 26, 2014

0

Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages




As someone who is still figuring myself out, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a country where I could explore my sexuality via the Internet *ahem* to see what I liked and disliked, even though I live in a VERY conservative family, I wonder how it would be for young adults living in India who have such repressed ideas about sexuality and a tremendous focus on studies and getting a job. When it comes time for arranged marriage, they are automatically expected to marry the opposite sex and then usually have intimate relations on the first night! Even in US fundamentalist circles, there is a year given to getting to know each other. But in Indian arranged marriages, you have to decide in 1-3 meetings if you like each other or not (never mind getting to know each other-the elders think that can happen AFTER marriage!)

Never mind figuring out what TYPE of sexuality you have, how do you even know you HAVE a sex drive/sexuality if you are pushed into it like that after repressing it for that long? How many Indian couples are actually physically attracted to each other? There is no room for not being "sure" of your sexuality, it is assumed that you are straight and like men/or women even if you have never had a relationship before! Also what if you find out on your wedding night you are not attracted to your SO?

I think this happens to women more than men, because men often place importance on a woman's beauty during the marriage search, but if a woman sees an unfortunate-looking man but with a high salary, her relatives will often try to downplay the importance of physical attractiveness because of the higher financial stability. I know that happened to my mom, when she was meeting a guy who had glasses and did not look very good but came from a rich house. Her aunt and uncle tried to convince her that you have to take everything into consideration, including education, good family values, etc, not just the face. Another trick is to say that good physical appearance is temporary and will go downhill with age.  Fortunately she did not end up marrying him or I wouldn't have been born!

I read a story about how a devout Muslim man, who had never watched a porn film in his life was married to a similar Muslim woman. On their wedding night, he had no idea what to do and had to call his parents for steps! I think that it is truly more sad than embarrassing. How can you get married with putting something as important as sexuality on the back burner and just hoping the problem will go away or resolve itself with time?


Thursday, December 25, 2014

0

The Plight of the Indian Woman- A Short Essay



I hate when girls are complimented for only their appearance. Their outside is just a shell. The real treasure is inside. Life should be about living, feeling, taking risks, falling in love, and discovering your passion. Sometimes I feel like there is so much of "me" that it cannot be contained. It is like opening a small shed and finding the universe inside. But girls are only complimented on the shed, whether it was repainted, what shape it is, etc.
That's why I think that women should make it a habit not to give extreme attention to their appearance. The reason men are ahead is because they are valued for what they have inside, not what they look like. Because society doesn't judge them based on their appearance, they have more time to cultivate their internal self.
Does that mean that women shouldn't care at all about their appearance? It would be helpful to the most obsessed women, who do unnecessary surgeries to get themselves to a perfect "ideal" image (which doesn't exist because everyone's idea of beauty is subjective, not what popular culture is shoving down our throats.)
But it is also important to take care of our bodies, because they give us life. The body should get proper exercise, nourishment, sunshine, and water. These things will keep the body healthy. So do I think it's a sin if some people are vain and exercise solely to make their body look good?
Of course not. Each person has the right to freely express and be proud of their own body. The only thing is...they should be able to do in their limits. If women want to expose some cleavage, then that is totally fine. She can do that, but she needs to be comfortable in her own sexuality. There is a difference between being sexy for men, and being sexual for yourself. She should be able to define what she is. As long as the woman knows that her appearance is only a small part of who she is, not everything.
Actually, the inability to see women beyond their physical form is what is limiting them from achieving equality with men. They are not treated as "real" human beings. Human beings have complexity, feelings, intelligence and ideas. If men ignore all that, and focus only on the appearance, women will understandably be upset.
The message that is sent, is that women's ideas are not important, and even somehow inferior. The fact that religious places also support this idea makes it official. In the Bible, women are referred to as "helpmates" of men, never their own wholes. In the Quran, women who are "disobedient" are raped and beaten.  Women's ideas are not heard. The word male will always be before female. The history she learns is not hers.
 Women are depicted as smaller, although there is not much of a difference. If there are equal male and females in an environment, the public will think there are more women than men because historically there has only been 1 or 2 places for women, and sometimes not at all. From the moment they are born, they are assigned a specific personality and way to behave. Their parents are more careful of them, not letting them take risks and explore. Pink is shoved down their throat, even though it is obvious that not EVERY SINGLE GIRL will like pink. They are told not to scream, to sit properly, to be quiet, to shrink and make themselves small. Essentially they are taught that they are ornamental property to men around them. First their father, then their husband, then their son.
What's worse is that girls who are fortunate enough not to be forced into gender roles are considered strange. When they climb trees, play in dirt, scream loudly with happiness, and are aggressive  they are seen as "tomboys" and similar to boys. Actually, this kind of freedom is not gender specific. Children need natural stimulation to develop their brains and know the limits of their bodies. It should be a right given to all children, for curiosity and adventure are human qualities, not relegated to sex.
Instead, these "tomboys" are scolded for not behaving like a "lady". There is enormous pressure from society and parents to see their child as normal, not an anomaly. Gradually, the girl is desensitized. She is forced to behave in an acceptable way, being quiet and small and pretty. She learns she has to be pretty for a prince to come save her, and that is her life's goal. Indeed, it is a lobotomy of her mind and freedom. She goes into the construction belt that produces identical girls who speak demurely and are shy.
Her menstruation is seen as dirty, therefore she is seen as dirty. Her breasts are seen as immoral and sexual, and she is told to hide them. She is seen as a bearer for children-she was checked in ancient times if she had big hips to help her with childbirth.  Her sexuality is non-existent, she is only told to be a virgin for her husband--her "purity" is constrained and controlled. Sometimes, she will go to balls with her father where she wears a ring and promises her father to be pure for her husband. She is not an individual. She is property to be passed around. That is if she behaves--if she is sexually active, she is labelled as a slut and repulsive.

All throughout her life, she sees representations of men, but never her own sex. When they do come up, they are ornamental objects that are sidekicks, but never the main hero. She finds out that women are mistreated all over the world. In some countries, they have to wear long cloths in over 100 degree heat, only so men don't rape them. In others, they are not allowed to read or write, or sing and dance.  Those women are not allowed to drive, either. In some places, a man's three words can mean divorce for her. In others, she is not supposed to be "over-educated" when she marries, so her in-laws can have a meek and obedient daughter in law that doesn't know her own rights. In some places she is not educated at all, forcing her to stay with her husband even if he is abusive, because she needs him financially. In other countries, she is an eight year old who dies from being raped by her forty year old husband. Sometimes her husband will have other wives also, but she is not allowed to have many husbands.
She learns that even in her own country, "pussy" and "girl" are insults to men-except she is required to behave in this inferior role. She is told she is required to cook, even if she has never seen a pan in her life. She is told she should be nurturing, before she even knows what a uterus is. Tolerance, sacrifice, endurance. Those are the highest virtues.
She steps on eggshells around men, and is careful to behave the way they expect out of a woman. She is afraid to point out controversial opinions for there will be an immediate backlash, if she is the only one. A rage different from if a man decided to voice his opinion. Indeed, the phrase to put a woman "in her place" did not appear out of nowhere.  And if she is right, the credit goes to men.
She is blamed for her clothes if she gets raped, even if she was wearing nothing provocative. And she is blamed more if she was, because the man's inability to control himself is HER fault. Never mind the fact that rape is about power, not lust. And men are told not to rape because she could be somebody's "sister, mother, or daughter". Not the fact that she is a human.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

0

Sum Total Poem



I found a poem on Tumblr that I just LOVE. It is called Sum Total. The original is here.

Sum Total


One Indian woman
Plus
a feminist
Minus
a fair, homely, beautiful eligible girl
Plus
determined and strong opinionated
Minus
tall, slim and a slender figure
Plus
independent and a critical-thinker
Minus
traditional, cultured, well-mannered and modest
Plus
anti-patriarchal and anti-misogyny
Minus
submissive, docile, adjusting home-maker
Plus
fearless and honest
Minus
faithful and God-fearing
Plus
rational and practical
Minus
a “abla naari”
Divided by
nothing
Multiplied by
a strong desire to fight back and live
sums me up.
Disclaimer: This post has been inspired from a film by Sonali. Original title of the film is Sum Total. A Matrimonial. Sonali is an activist and filmmaker who has made several films including Sum Total and Barefeet.


0

Satyamev Jayate and "Mardangini"


It is important that issues of masculinity are talked about in India.
And one important platform (if not the only) for that is the new TV show Satyamev Jayate (new in the sense that I just found out about it).

Usually in India, the culture is so deeply ingrained in its normal routine, that it does not even realize it is steeped in patriarchy. One exemplary analogy for this is a fish that does not realize it is surrounded by water, because it has never seen a complement. I think a show like Satyamev Jayate was desperately needed to make Indians aware of this "water" that they are swimming in, if you will. I think that Indians in India do have a sense that in other countries, women are treated more equally, or are more "westernized", but unfortunately that is seen as a direct threat to Indian "tradition" and "culture". I know from personal experience, that especially older Indians, get defensive about this topic and puff out their chest in pseudo-nationalistic pride. I say pseudo because if they were really nationalistic, they would be open to constructive change on how to make their country better. But what they are doing instead is just trying to keep a old system alive for fear of change, which is not related to its citizens' benefit at all.

Arguably though, there is still a lot of change that needs to be done. It reminds me of something The Indian Male Feminist said on the controversial Youtube video "Will you Marry a Raped Girl?" Ignoring the crass title, the fact that they found some "heroes" who were willing to. Bullshit. You don't get brownie points for that, just as you don't get brownie points for not raping someone when you have the opportunity to get away with it. That is just the baseline for being a decent human being. You don't get a reward for meeting the minimum. Which makes the people of the opposite opinion even more sad, because they don't even meet that baseline. It is true that the majority of people think this way, though that is no excuse for rewarding the ones that don't. You can't stoop to such low expectations, because then India will be fucked. How messed up is it that we would be grateful for such kindness (*sarcasm intended*). The truth is, there will always be people that go above and beyond without any praise or incentives, simply because they are capable of understanding empathy, and capable of thinking that just because they are nice also doesn't mean they are doing a great "sacrifice" and it also doesn't mean that the bestowed is to be pitied or victimized.

The same thing is seen in Satyamev Jayate, where at the end of the "Mardangini" episode, they have examples of men who have changed. A few examples are of men who admitted that they used to beat their wives and then they finally realized that it was WRONG and EVIL and now they don't anymore and then the audience claps and gives them an ovation while the men look proud at their achievement. Again, bullshit.If you need to have an epiphany that beating others is wrong, there is seriously something wrong with you and ideally, you need to go back in the womb again and start life all over again. After all, women have known this all along and they don't get recognized for not hurting anyone.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they *do* deserve this praise, after realizing this life lesson in a profoundly patriarchal society. I guess my standard for humanity is so high that I just cannot relate or sympathize at all. I don't know. Tell me what you think? Is this an achievement or not or simply part of being a decent person?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

0

Ghar Jamai Raja


It amazes me, that even in 2014 we still have outdated notions that just will not quit! 
One example of this happened the day before yesterday. My family and I were relaxing on the couch and the topic of the Hindi serial "Ghar Jamai Raja" (Loose Translation: King of the House, Son-In-Law) came up. It is a serial where basically the guy moves in with the girl's family and rules the roost, being lazy and not doing anything, and generally being expected to be treated as a king.
 Now, as my age gets closer and closer to marriageable age, my parents used me as an example to explain what the name of the serial meant. "For example, IAF, if your husband moved in with us, how funny would that be!". I got the sense that it was supposed to be emasculating if a guy moved into a girl's parent's home. But in situations where I detect sexism, I usually just pretend I don't understand and get them to explain thoroughly so hopefully they hear just how stupid they sound. "So why did mom move into dad's house then? Wouldn't that be funny too?" My mom gave an uncomfortable laugh and said, "no beta, that's the tradition, the way it's supposed to be". 

They thought it was despicable if a guy moved into a girl's parent's home and they had to take care of him, as a burden, but if the opposite happened it was a "tradition"? I suppose in exchange of the boy's family taking the girl in, she was expected to do household work, almost as a new maid. Finally, after I kept asking why it was so different between both the sexes,  my grandma laughed helplessly and said, "It's because you are a daughter, and your "husband" is a son. That's why it's different". 

Ohhh. Now I get it. NOT. My parents have never treated me less than, especially since we live in the US and also because I won't let them, but I can't believe that in things like this, I am still discriminated against. I said my grandma laughed helplessly because it sounded like there was nothing she could do about it, that that's just the way things are. I hate it when people think like that and I admit even I think like that sometimes, but all those traditions then become a box that is imprisoning and restricting us. I wish I could explain to my grandma that the customs do not control us, we control the customs. If we don't like the way something is done, we should make our own history. And damn the old "lekin log kya kahenge?" (Translation: But what will people say?

Anyways, my parents agreed that I am not ready for "marriage" yet because I have not acquired all the virtues of being a good wife, and those virtues are necessary for making a marriage last b/c *gasp* it is up to the woman to adjust and in the words of Tim Gunn, "make it work tm" Some of those virtues they mentioned are being tolerant (sahansil), and hardworking. I tried explaining to them that I didn't think being tolerant was going to win brownie points, especially since it is very easy for that tolerance to turn into tolerance of abuse and insults, just for the sake of *preserving* the marriage. I think the concept is still foreign to them. But I think they really are afraid of getting me "married" because to them I am unpredictable and unstable and it would be better for me not to get married at all than to get married and come home to them and say "I am back! It didn't work out!".

 Because don't you know, I'm supposed to make the marriage work AT ALL COSTS. Even if I am not happy I should make a facade and pretend to be happy and that everything is perfect because a marriage is supposed to be FOREVER and DIVORCE is not an option. It will bring shame upon the family. SHAME, I tell you. SHAME. /end sarcasm

I don't think my family is ready to be that liberal yet, but with two feminists in the house (me and my apprentice sister), they will be forced to broaden their horizon, whether they like it or not. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

0

*Graphic Warning* Picture



This is a picture of a woman who was lacerated with a razor for not paying dowry. I wanted to honor her and put it as my main blog photo, but then again it might be too graphic for some. But really, THIS is why we need feminism.

0

Girl Child Poem



This poem really stood out to me, especially the "brown is too fucking majestic" part.

When I was born my grandmother cried because I wasn’t a boy
"My son’s life is ruined. He’s ruined."
"To top it off she’s so dark."
My cries were louder than hers. I was too eager to live.
An unwelcome troublemaker from birth
But that’s not where my story starts
A few hundred years ago, some men sailing on blue waters wound up on brown land
And they decided they’d walk on anything that wasn’t white
I remember scrubbing my face with a “formula” at age 12
3 tubes Fair and Lovely
2 tablespoon bleach
Countless years of colonialism shoved into my DNA
An old ancestral recipe
I’ve seen light-skinned become default beauty
I’ve seen makrani and bengali become an insult
Dad told me to wear a dupatta
Dad let me wear shorts on a different continent
Dad controls the length of my kameez
I remember being pushed around
My chachoo pinching all the fat he could find on me
"You’re so ugly"
Joke’s on him
I pissed on his bed when he was abusing the maid
I may not have a penis
But boy can I aim
My story started before ‘47
Even before the start of that century
I was born in rebellion
They called it mutinous
But we bathed in the independence of our own blood
I was born in that revolution
I hear the sword clashes every day
I have been denounced for colour
sex
and country
One time I flew a kite in New York
When it reached as high as I could take it
I let it go
I will not hold on to limits
I will let my hair remain dark
I will not buy lenses of a lighter shade
I will not paint my skin white
Brown is too fucking majestic to erase
I was born on the land of the poor
And I will not fool myself with the luxury of diaspora
I was born on the Earth of men
And I will not die with the gates of misogyny open
my name is Sana
and if you wept when I was a child
you will quiver when I am a woman
0

Shaadi.com Experiment



I am really curious about the Indian male mentality and how egalitarian it has actually become, especially with educated men who have access to the Internet. There is a poem about the Ideal Indian Woman, and I have built a profile based around it.
" Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri,
  Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha,
  Roopeshu Lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri,
  Satkarma Nari, Kuladharma Patni "


 Line for line, it means : 
"Works hard (as a slave) , Gives smart advice (like a minister),
Feeds and cares (like a mother) , Is a sex-goddess in bed (like the apsara Rambha) ,
Is beautiful (like goddess lakshmi), Is forgiving (like mother earth),
These are the ideal qualities (and duties) of a wife "


Here is my profile:



    • I am a model. Grew up in the US, loves fashion and beauty. Independent and modern but simple homely indian girl on inside. I also believe in husband as head of household (or pati parmeshvar hai) and I am pro-men, anti-feminist. I am a party girl now but willing to quit, and also quit eating non veg and drinking. I am a virgin, never even kissed a boy so I am innocent. Also I am religious and do fastings. Prefer to stay at in law's home and be housewife after marriage.I know how to cook well. Looking for indian gentlemen who knows how to treat a lady and is also dominant and strong enough to be the leader in relationship and so I have respect for him. Need to have "aankhon ki sharam" for him. I will work hard to be a good wife and will keep looking beautiful. I will also support and advise you in troubles and am very patient and forgiving. Looks/Height/Caste no bar...tell me why you think you are good for me.
       and obligatory profile picture: (not of me obviously)
        Let's see how many men actually want an equal.....and how many are just paying lip service.
          I'd like to think that most people would be able to say that this is a fake post, but sadly most people
            will think that a person like this actually exists in our patriarchal society.

            tumblr_n35693XANP1sfg941o1_500.jpg (483×725)
  • 0

    Occasional Link Day



    Today's topic: Indian Female Sexuality
    Here are some links to learn more about the topic. Some bloggers have "Link Friday" or "Link Sunday", basically a day of the week where they put links to relevant topics. I myself would never remember to do such a thing so I have called this post "Occasional Link Day", or whenever I manage to remember. 

    http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/romanticizing-innocence-chastity-and-related-taboos-for-women/

    http://www.desiblitz.com/content/sex-and-the-indian-woman

    http://infochangeindia.org/agenda/claiming-sexual-rights-in-india/busting-the-myth-of-the-great-indian-sexual-revolution.html

    http://kafila.org/2013/02/11/when-women-ask-for-it-veena-venugopal/

    http://womensissues.about.com/od/feminismequalrights/a/FeminisminIndia_2.htm

    http://www.womensweb.in/articles/talking-about-female-sexual-desire/

    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?200392
    0

    Gender Equality Problems with Band Baaja Raat and India in General




    Here are some problems with Band Baaja Raat and India in General.
    1. They are obviously copying off of the Hollywood romantic comedy professions. Yes, she does not need to be a doctor or anything, but at least don't give her such a stereotypical role, even if it is "westernized".
    2. The second thing is the story that we have heard all the time before: studious and hardworking girl, and lazy boy, and they fall in love. Seriously, come up with something new.
    3. Shruti is considered to be a modern girl living in India's big cities, but she is still backwards in her thoughts. One line in the script really bothered me when she said that she hoped her future husband would let her have a job after marriage. In another part of the scene, she slept with the hero and didn't even seem surprised the next morning (you would expect her uptight character to freak out). So Indian women are "liberated" in the sense that they can have premarital sex and have no shame in that, but apart from that everything else is conservative and their husband tells them what to do after marriage? Also, she did not hesitate to get drunk
    either.
    4. Also after she slept with the guy, she started calling him "tum" ( a more respective way of saying you, used especially with elders). Most Indian women also use "tum" for their husbands when they get married, although the husband can use "tu" (which is a more informal way of saying you, used with friends or children). She was the typical conservative women in that sense, conferring to her subservient assigned role after creating a "bond" with the guy.
    5. Another problem with Indian women depicted in movies is that they are often seen as day dreamers that love romance and all other cutesy things. They spend their days dreaming about Prince Charming or the knight in shining armor. The male usually HATES these things, and is seen as an easygoing guy who eventually falls in love with the innocent girly lead(femmephobia anyone?). This is seen in "I Hate Luv Stories" too. The males usually hate anything feminine and pride themselves on being manly, while the girl is encouraged to be stereotypical. It is all played for fun, like "boys will be boys, and girls will be girls", but they don't realize the effect on young girls it has. A girl who is watching this movie will wonder why she is being pressured into acting girly when it is despised and seen as disgusting by the opposite gender. In contrast, being manly is praised by both women and men.




    Typical trope of girl eating ice cream in her bed after she gets dumped


    The main problem is that Indian film makers wants the Indian public to be like the western, more "modern" public by engaging in drinking and pre-marital sex without a second thought. They smoke and curse also. Anyone who doesn't do that is seen as prudish and not up with the times. Women are encouraged to think of themselves as "liberated" and "modern" if they do these things. However, the good things that Western society has brought to women (such as feminism) is not applied. I would like to tell these film makers that you can't pick and choose concepts that you like while dismissing the ones you don't like. In some ways, they are picking the worst of both worlds. That is not called "liberated". That is just the same sexism in a different, revamped package. Women are not "equal" in America either, regardless of what the world would like to believe. If you would like to copy a nation, copy Sweden. 

    Seriously, come up with something new!! (Story about a modern woman who is turning 30 but can't get a man and her biological clock is running out.....her fav color is hot pink and she likes drinking cocktails.)
    http://thebollyh00d.blogspot.com/2011/06/movie-review-turning-30.html

    Also, one thing living in America has taught me is more important than anything else. The charm of America is that you are free to believe whatever you want. People who follow what society tells them is "modern" are not really modern and progressive at all, infact they are insecure and desperate. Modern people are people who do not follow society blindly and stick to their core beliefs. They are educated about their human rights and see themselves as equal to everyone else. They do not feel any "less" by choosing to remain a virgin or to not drink. Most of all, they are individualists with a capable brain and intellect, who are comfortable in their own skin and decisions. In short, they have their own style and swagger
    without caring what anyone else thinks. Also it is a huge mistake
    to think of women as one type. Each woman is unique and has her own style. No two are the same, like a snowflake. Let's stick together and show the world we are miss represented. 
    The face of a "liberated" woman


    Please, look at real unique women with accomplishments and dreams and hopes: Thinking, acting, moving,
    creating, women. Making a difference in the world.




















    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/series/inspiring-women
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    Indian Parents and Hypocrisy Part 2..


    A broken sentence rant about my recent feelings on traditional orthodox Indian parents.....
    hopefully you understand. I think people who have gone through these things anyways don't need a lot of explanation to inherently realize where I'm coming from.

    -living marriage by the script and religious leaders are happy they're doing it their way
    -conformity
    -right stages of life
    -fit people into boxes
    -what is success and happiness.to outsiders...kids, house, marriage....get married, stay married
    -do indian parents want their children to be happy
    -automatons daughters programmed
    -career, religion
    -parent approved sex at parent approved time with parent approved spouse
    -sex dirty, want to kill everyone who has it, betrayal by parents: how can they act so normal and innocent when they've done a dirty thing.
    -guilty and ashamed feelings
    -want to vomit
    -sinful, god sinful
    -purity...good/bad...black/white.
    -judge people.......ignore if they smoke/drink b/c then everything else must be bad about them. dealbreaker
    -gender conformity
    -obedient, well behaved, bharatnatyam, good grades, gender conformity, innocence, chastity, purity, virginity but enthusiastic and make people laugh, always happy and smiling, good grades, religious, traditional, orthodox in mind, but modern in clothing/etc, outspoken, able to fit in, outgoing, but sexist...enthusiastic always happy servant..perfect
    -"look how well our child fits into approved boxes"
    -scared to risk b/c get hurt....and b/c dont have experiences and so isolated and sheltered, every experience we have does have a bigger impact on us......self fulfilling prophecy....scared of told you so
    -security: girl goes from mom/dad.....straight to husband.....no risk..everything planned out...no heartbreak or soul searching

    0

    Marriage and Indian Parents part1





    Here are some comments that stood out to me from other Indian feminist blogs about marriage and parents.

    I don’t think its right to say Indian parents don’t want their children to be happy. It’s just that they think they know best for their children, never mind that their children are fully grown adults with serious careers who have been living by themselves for years now. They genuinely think that the differences – cultural, religious, language, whatever – are big enough to cause problems for the couple. This is because the parents come from that sort of a milieu, where they have been married to someone from another background, and have learnt to adjust and leave – so isn’t that what is going to work best for their children too?
    The other problem is that India is still very much a collective culture, in the sense that the happiness of the group is much more important than the happiness of the individual. And it’s at the root of the ‘what will people think’ chant of many Indians, especially many older Indians. So Indian parents want their children to marry somebody who is acceptable to society – someone from the opposite sex, someone who is equally well off, if not more, someone from the same country/state/religion/caste etc.
    I hope I’m not out of line when I say this, but in all this discussion around Indian parents, let’s not forget that your man is a fully grown adult who should be making his decisions for himself. I have known enough people who have faced opposition from their parents and managed to deal with it and marry the partner of their choice, either by convincing his parents or going ahead without their blessings. So maybe you are better off without a partner who is unable to make a difficult decision and stand by it.
     I don’t think Indian girls were ever raised to think about or care whether their husband is a virgin or not – only their own virginity is ever discussed and fetished.
    http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/you-can-listen-to-your-parents-and-be-unhappy-or-you-can-go-against-them-and-feel-guilty-those-are-your-choices/
    http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/an-email-from-an-indian-husband/



    Some Indian parents can’t care less how many girls their son “scored” before getting married. What matters is that they, the parents finally “win”. The guy’s ill morals is something that nobody challenges. And I’m talking about living examples, people that I know myself.
    -we have a system, which asks us to compromise on many things..
    it is highly difficult for a self reliant individual
    Parents do not want their children to be happy. They want their children to fit into a mould for their sake, and for the sake of appearances.
    It’s blackmail, pure and simple. The threat is the severance of family ties unless the girl/guy gets married to one of their choice. Because of this, I think its perfectly fair to call the blackmailer’s bluff and just go ahead. It’s a choice between making yourself happy versus making someone else happy at your expense – for life.
    Yes our parents did a lot for us. Yes they are grateful. But to use that as a bludgeon and threaten excommunication reveals the true intentions behind this “love”. It’s not love. It’s control.

    For many Indian parents, (male) children are an investment. They are pushed into nice, traditional life-trajectories, pushed into nice, conventional careers, pushed into marriage with nice, traditional women, and guilted and emotionally blackmailed into behaving like nice little minions of their parents. Forever.
    What is important to them is their future security, their control over their children (mostly sons), their ownership over the d-i-l and grandchildren, their standing is society, the amount on money they can make from a son’s marriage, their remaining number one in their son’s life even though he has a wife and kids. The son’s happiness does not matter. Not because they are inherently mean people or that they don’t love their sons. It’s because they feel that they know best. That their adult sons should not think for themselves. It’s like your toddler is crying for candy but you in all your wisdom won’t let him have it because it’s bad for him. You will offer him a carrot stick instead. Because you are the parent and you know best.
    ndian society is in transition from being tightly clan-based to one that is more individualistic and many young people are caught in the middle. In a clan-based society, every member is expected to play a role and the performance of the role is supposed to guarantee the greater good of the clan and hopefully for the individual, though the individual is of less importance. It’s not as simple as a ‘yes or no’ answer to ‘don’t Indian parents want their kids to be happy? These parents believe that their kids will be happy if they stick to the traditional norms because that’s what they (the parents) did and they were happy. And by sticking to the traditional plan, not only will the child (eventually) be happy or at least resigned enough not to complain, but the family and society will be too. So win-win in their minds, if only the child would stop being difficult.
    The problem is that young people don’t fit into this clan-based model so well anymore. I believe this transition into greater individualism is inevitable but right now, you’re going to see a lot of these sandwiched people. I personally don’t believe someone who has tasted a loving and genuine relationship with someone of their choice will be fulfilled in an artificially-created one. Though there have been cases where guys have given up the girlfriends of their choosing for an arranged marriage and been happy. The thing is that the traditional Indian marriage set-up offers a lot of perks for guys – being waited on hand and foot by the wife for example – which kind of smooths the path, and of course the idea is that the cultural similarities make adjustments easier. Nowadays it’s possible for guys to find a beautiful wife, who is somewhat modern, holds a good job etc. and still in the end, defers to the husband and runs the home singlehandedly. Makes heartbreak easier to swallow. Though it doesn’t work for all.
    I think women face more pressure and have way fewer choices than do men; but many women still stand up for themselves and fight for their choices.
    I know very few men who have stood up to their parents or braved social censure.
    I know a lot of women who have, so I’m inclined to think that Indian men find it more difficult to swim against the tide of social and parental disapproval.
    I do believe, based solely on personal experiences, that women are better at coping with adversity and ambiguity than are men.
    I have encountered more courage and conviction in women than I have in men, especially when it comes to family/relationships.

    we have a system, which asks us to compromise on many things..
    it is highly difficult for a self reliant individual