Homosexuality

Opinions on homosexuality range from an absolute no-no to a compulsive positive assertion of the same. One of the reasons I am writing this blog is because there are people who do feel a little in favour of the homosexuals but haven’t yet been able to cross certain socially imparted psychological barriers. I would like to share with you the first stage of my chain of thoughts and logics that led me to form my opinion as under –

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CONTENTIONS OF THE NO-NOS’                                                        

The obsession of continuing family lineage

It is taken to be a natural duty of every person in our society to have a baby, more specifically a boy (as a girl has to take up the name of her husband’s family later). It doesn’t even matter if that name is worthy of being passed on, but one must just do it. It is the unspoken rule of the society. So the first thing that saddens the parents of homosexuals in our society (as in the case of Shrinivasan) is that their son won’t do his duty of carrying forward the family name.

Quick question – Do you know who your great great great great great grand father was?

No?

Giving birth to a son doesn’t make anyone great. A few generations down the lane, most of us are bound to be forgotten. So why the obsession ? Just live and let live !

“It is against nature/unnatural” 

What ? How ? Why ? Seriously ?

No, I did not go through any research or report that proves it to be natural, because I find that offensive and insulting.

In fact, those who assert that it is unnatural don’t themselves have any exposure to base their contention on. Or, maybe they do. Just senseless ones :

On moral / religious / historical grounds – Whether one talks about the stories of Mughal emperors or depictions on Hindu temples or the sexual exploitation of young boys by the priests, everywhere, irrespective of the religions one will find a reference to homosexuality. So, this ground stands defeated.

Majority of the people are straight – When we talk of our nation we often mention that it represents “Unity in diversity”. So we can accept religious diversity, but not a natural one ? We should be ashamed of the way trans-sexuals are treated in our society, but atleast their existence is acknowledged.

So basically eunuchs are natural but homosexuals are against nature. This just goes on to show our hypocrisy. The homosexuality of a person is obviously not as evident as transexuality. So we pressurize, even torture them to conform to the norms of the society by claiming that their true being is unnatural.

Doomsday – If given an open play field, homosexuality will spread like a disease. One day everybody might turn into a homosexual and we will have no offsprings. It’ll bring the end of human race.

Most of the no-no’s won’t bring up this contention until it becomes their last resort, that’s because even they know that it’s stupid. For the last 50 years, world population has multiplied more rapidly than ever before and they worry about the human race becoming extinct !

It’s just wrong, no explanation needed

Then there are those who don’t feel the need for an explanation. In fact, when you ask them why are they are against it, they give you the “What kind of a person are you?” look. They just believe and profess what the society dictates.

Hypocrisy 

They don’t care. All they want to be is politically correct. Their stand depends upon the kind of gathering they are in. On one side I don’t blame them as much because their attitude isn’t specific to this issue, but on the other, I most certainly feel that it is better to have a faulty stand than to roll from one side of the basket to the other as per convenience.

There is still a lot more on my mind, but for now I’ll stop here. We have demolished the old frayed structure and laid down our foundation. The next step is to construct upon it, for that I will share the positive contributions and the role played by homosexuality in our society, in the next blog. Till then – Think about it !

Women = Bargain Buggers?

Most shopkeepers and vendors want to avoid dealing with lady customers. This is because they bargain very shrewdly, putting into use all the dramatics, antics and God ! that high pitched shrilly voice ! For once I don’t blame the former as I have actually found myself pitying them when they are caught up with the ladies. Truly, their work requires great skill and patience.21

Why do they do this ? THE WOMEN? Of course, If you ask them, they’d say that it’s because the seller usually tells a higher price at first. Well, wouldn’t that be because you always get him to lower it ?

I think it goes deeper than that. In most traditional setups, women run the house while men earn money. So the wife gets a limited supply of money from her husband. Now, she can not work more to earn more. But, she can work more to save more ! This is what I believe led to the development of highly advanced bargaining skill set amongst them.

I am not saying that all women are like that. Obviously, I am referring to a particular section of society here. And, I am not even saying that all women in such section are like that. In fact, I am just offering a genuine explanation for those who are. Is it really their fault?

Now, this issue may have reminded you of an aunt who has a similar habit. But in some of your cases, she might not be a part of such traditional setup but still be doing it. That’s just because she saw her mother do it, or her aunt maybe, or even a neighbour, or well, the society conveyed this message to her that women are supposed to act this way.

I am not saying that such a behaviour couldn’t be a natural tendency for some women, but I don’t believe that it’s the same for all women and I didn’t come across any credible research that suggested the same. So, I would say that it is mostly the constraints they are put in and the influence thereon that leads them to it. And, I am sure many men are thankful for it 😀 So, Stop Complaining you guys !! Do what you can to undo it, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good Luck 🙂

True feminism

“True feminism. Only when a woman ceases to see herself in context of man. Even in conflict with a man. Then even the word feminism will cease.”

Shekhar Kapur ‏@shekharkapur 28 Nov

This reminds me of the theory of class struggle as propounded by Karl Marx. One of his most famous quotes is –

” The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. ”

Herein he only talks of the oppressor and the oppressed as classified on the basis of their means of earning livelihood. I believe his theory could also be used with reference to gender injustice. This is how-

THEORY OF CLASS STRUGGLE

  • Marx sees society evolving through stages. He focuses on dialectical class conflict to control the means of production as the driving force behind social evolution.
  • According to Marx, society evolves through different modes of production in which the upper class controls the means of production and the lower class is forced to provide labor.
  • In Marx’s dialectic, the class conflict in each stage necessarily leads to the development of the next stage (for example, feudalism leads to capitalism).
  • Marx was especially critical of capitalism and foresaw a communist revolution.
  • The bourgeoisie try to preserve capitalism by promoting ideologies and false consciousness that keep workers from revolting.
  • Marx predicted that eventually, the proletariat/the oppressed would become class conscious—aware that their seemingly individual problems were created by an economic system that disadvantaged all those who did not own the means of production.
  • Once the proletariat developed a class consciousness, Marx believed, they would rise up and seize the means of production, overthrowing the capitalist mode of production.
  • Marx believed that the socialist system established after this proletariat revolution would encourage social relations that would benefit everyone equally, abolish the exploitative capitalist, ending their exclusive ownership of the means of production, and introduce a system of production less vulnerable to cyclical crises.

GENDER INJUSTICE

  • In Gender Injustice too, the conflict in each stage leads to the development of the next stage. ( From being subject to discrimination at home – being subject to discrimination at the workplace )
  • There have been instances especially in the Indian society where men have promoted ideologies and false consciousness that help maintain the status quo of women being the weaker sex. ( Ex- Manu says “Balye pitorvashay…….” – 5/151. Girls are supposed to be in the custody of their father when they are children, women must be under the custody of their husband when married and under the custody of her son as widows. In no circumstances is she allowed to assert herself independently. )
  • Well, we have attained a consciousness with regards to our secondary status in the society.

Now, when Shekhar says that only when a woman ceases to see herself in context of man. Even in conflict with a man. Then the word feminism will cease. I agree with him. But I doubt whether we can reach that stage directly.

This is where I was reminded of Marx’s theory. He being a conflict theorist challenged the status quo and encouraged social change. The Utopia of Karl Marx – a classless society, he said could only be achieved by a social revolution.

Based on this, I’ beg to differ with Shekhar. I believe that it is necessary for women to see themselves as being in conflict with men for a while. Somehow, like Marx, I feel it would be essential for women to dominate once by means of a social revolution. Only after that can we gradually metamorphose into a society with gender equality.

Reference – https://www.boundless.com/sociology/understanding-sociology/the-development-of-sociology/class-conflict-and-marx/

Stop “being a girl” !?

Why is someone who is “being a girl” mocked at ?

I don’t know how many of us know it, but there is a difference between “sex” and “gender”. While Sex refers to biological differences; gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.

So, your sex constitutes of being a female or a male, while being a – girl , boy, woman or a man would be your gender. Worldwide, a female is expected to act like a  girl or a woman (as per her age), and a male is expected to act as a boy or a man (as per his age).

Since the females hold a secondary status in the society, so any male who acts like a girl is mocked at ! Whereas, a female who exercises dominance is tagged as being a man ! why? Because that is what men are expected to do (to dominate). In discussion with a friend, she told me about a news article wherein dominating a.k.a “masculine” women in the jail were found raping the submissive a.k.a “feminine” women. Another thing we pondered upon was as to why the eunuchs ( who are neither men nor women) dress up as women in our country ? This may be because eunuchs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijra_(South_Asia)) occupy a derogatory status in our society, which is obviously closer to that of women.

Is this justified ? These differences in social roles of females and males aren’t even due to biological attributes ! Among the Chambri People – women are the bread-earners whereas men look after household work and spend time in combing hair, wearing different kinds of beads and other kinds of beautification, among the Mundugumor Tribe – women and men are equally aggressive and in some tribes, the father gives training to the son in dancing !

I know that females and males have only themselves and their own acts to blame for such characterisation, but it is time now to do away with it. It may not be possible to erase the words – girl, boy, woman and man from our vocabulary. But at the least, the concept of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ should be segregated.

While one can not determine ones sex, one should have the freedom to embody any gender. I do not take this as being unnatural in any way, in fact it would be more natural than imposing upon someone the pressure to act in a certain way because of her/his belonging to a particular sex !

Kisiki Amaanat?

vivah

The title of this post, literally translated would mean – Whose trust / custody / safekeeping ?

In a typical wedding scene in  Indian cinema , one would find either of these 2 scenarios –

1. The father of the bride telling the father-in-law that ” Aap ki Amaanat aaj aapko saump raha hoon”. Meaning – I’m today giving the custody of the bride to you, who was  with me for safekeeping , but belonged to you all this time.

2. The father of the bride telling the father-in-law that ” Meri amaanat ka khayaal rakhiyega”. Meaning – Please take care of my daughter whose custody I’m now giving to you.

One might believe that the first dialogue might merely be said to please the father-in-law. But actually, that is not entirely true. From the moment a girl is born, the parents start dreaming of her marriage. She is groomed all through, told not to play in the sun so that she makes a ‘fair’ bride someday, taught not to talk in a disrespective manner, given lessons of cooking, sewing etc. (Not that any of this is wrong, but the fact that none such training is given to the deity sons).

So, basically she is brought up by her birth parents, with the thinking that she doesn’t really belong to them, as they’ll have to hand her over to her in-laws someday, and they only have her custody until then.

As regards the second dialogue, it only reflects the concern of the father of the bride, which is indeed pleasing to know. But, the repercussions are felt by the girl in her matrimonial home, where her in-laws considering her to be the belonging of another house, which is in their custody, might take her to be a liability.

There are many disturbing aspects of this, I shall proceed in ascending order.

The first question obviously is – akhir kiski amaanat ?.. , After all, whose trust is she ? .. Secondly, why is she considered merely as a trust ?  and, if the contradictions of the first two dialogues happen to prevail from both sides, she might end up without a sense of belongingness at all ! Also,  If we look at the bigger picture, the fact that she is equated with movable property, or if human considered to be of the same mental capacity as a child (Custody in divorce cases) is also very disturbing. From times immemorial, women have been considered to be a part of the spoils of war just like cattle . This must end, and by “this” I mean the sense of “ownership” over women which is prevalent so much so that her own parents consider her a property. I will not limit myself to telling what must end, and therefore, go on to say that what must prevail instead is independence for women with a sense of belongingness .

I’ve got the power !!

I just got into a little clash with someone I love dearly. What happens with us always is that, when I get upset about something related to us, he instead of trying to mend it, either simply ignores it or himself gets angry in return. As a result, it only gets worse.  

So, most of the times I try and get over it myself. But, instead of even acknowledging that, today, he asked me to prioritize his situation over my anger. Trust me, I  do that all the time. but clearly, it hasn’t been to any avail. Suppressing my anger.

I mean, why am I even supposed to  do that ?? ..because I am a girl ?? and am supposed to take it all quietly ? .. Do I not have the right to get upset and be cheered up by someone ?? .. Am I to consider myself so lowly ? 

NO, is the answer.

INDIAN GIRLS AND WOMEN

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Often we find Indian men of a certain class proudly proclaiming that ‘sharam’ is what distinguishes ‘their’ Indian women from any women in this world, i.e ‘Sharam aurat ka gehna hai’ (Shyness is like the jewelry that beautifies a woman).

I laid emphasis on ‘their’ in the first line because of the sense of possession  that these men need to have (again) on ‘their’ women. Manusmriti preaches that ‘Women and cattle should be treated alike’. But hey, our ancestors were smart enough not to take this too literally. The women were made to feel good about it ! 

Their movement was checked with anklets, their hands tied down with bangles, their noses and ears pierced just like those of the cattle (There’s a belief that piercing certain points in the body helps to keep the person in control). Their necks burdened with necklaces, with vermilion or bindi on the foreheads to brand them married, and the head (sometimes face too) covered with their saree. Then, they were told that they look beautiful. 

Thought of as dumb as the cattle, they were trained just like it too. Trained to follow the orders, to never object to anything, to simply keep enduring if any harm was caused to her. Then, she was appreciated for being obedient and docile.

Never taught any vocation to earn her own livelihood, she was made to be dependent on men. Quoting Manu again, “In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, and when her lord is dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent.”

In addition, if the father didn’t marry off her daughter before puberty, it was believed that he committed a sin with her (Disgusted?). So, the chain goes like this, first, child marriage, simultaneously of course the dowry, then early unhealthy pregnancies, with concurrent and unending harassment at the matrimonial home, which is aggravated if she doesn’t give birth to a boy and in case the husband dies, she’s blamed for bringing bad luck and discarded by the society. 

Shockingly, this mentality and this mindset still exists in the modern Indian society. Forget about the rural areas, even urban areas are plagued by it. As Dr. Ambedkar rightly remarked, ” No civilized society of today presents more survivals of primitive times than does the Indian society.” 

Unfortunately, the positive aspects of our primitive times are eroding fast, while the negative ones seem to be undying ! It’s time for the Indian women to give up their shyness and rise to the occasion. Sharam humara gehna nahi, humari bediyan hain, inhe tod daalna hai !(Shyness is not our jewelry, it’s the shackles that we must breakthrough)