Friday, February 1, 2013

Maybe I am anti woman

I was suggested to read a book titled 'the female eunuch' written by Germaine Greer by a male friend who calls himself an ardent feminist.

Even though I have reservations about the word 'feminist' because that often itself creates a devide and distinction of a female from the other forms of existence, I reluctantly decided to read the book since I trust the politics of the referrer.

It is undeniable that historically, and for that matter even mythologicaly women have been pushed back and thought to be less capable when compared to men. They have been taught that their sole purpose in life is to look pretty, be tolerant and support and nurture a family. All of this and it's associated negative issues and the corresponding male psyche is understood and quite rightly must be condemned. But there has to be a logic to what should change to let women be treated as a regular human being (please note that I am not saying 'treated as a man' -- to me there should be no difference between a man and a woman -- we are human beings first and we should be treated with fairness).

Greer in her book writes about how conventional beauty of hour glass figure, hairless body, long tresses and shiny skin is defined solely for women which resulted in inferiority complex, inequality between people of the same sex and ofcourse a market for corsets, makeup, diets, beauty products etc. All of this is true, but does this mean that appealing male physique, competition among men and male products don't exist? Where did words like six pack abs, tall-dark-handsome etc come from? Are there no tuxedos to match a plunging neckline lacy gown? Doesn't conventional male good looks involve cropped hair, close shave, good smelling aftershave, a dark suit and polished leather shoes? Don't short men secretly wish to be taller the same way a woman with small breasts wish for larger ones? One may have a problem with the definition of conventional good looks -- but taking it to a level where one says that the pressure of looking 'nice' is only on women and is therefore 'anti-woman' is in my view taking the real issue of actual inequality and subjugation a bit too far and off focus.

She goes on to hint women to give up bras because they are anti women - really? I feel comfortable wearing a brassier. It helps giving support to my breasts when I walk fast or run around.. It's like saying underwear is anti man! She has also made remarks which means that one is not liberal enough if the thought of tasting ones own menstrual blood is unpleasant. While I agree that customs have said that a women is 'unclean' during her periods and should refrain from performing any 'holy' activities, which I think is incorrect and demeaning and should be refused and resisted. However the choice that some women make to refrain from intercourse is their personal choice. And the women who make that choice are not anti women themselves. They still love their bodies and their existence. They just don't feel like sex that time. How is this anti women?

I am a firm believer that there should be no activity and no work that a man can and a woman can't do  purely based on gender differences.

I cringe when men treat women differently - think of them to be any less than themselves. Similarly I also cringe when staunch feminists bring up every little, almost insignificant and sometimes irrelevant behaviour up and talk about women oppression. When I read a book or talk to someone who is learned I would like to know about solutions, changes that I can make to make the world fair -- especially when I am a woman myself, I would want to be treated with respect, equality and fairness.

Will my giving up bras, or my wearing shapeless clothes or my giving up my addiction to kohl enforce my pride in being a woman? If yes, I am ready to do it.

But in my eyes these things are more to do about the sexuality, choice and liking of a person and possibly a way to promote the consumerist behaviour and fuel large corporations.

I have just read one fourth of the book, and my friend insisted that I read the full book before I engage in a dialogue. Correct he may be, but I really had to get it out of my head because what I have read so far is fucking my head up. What I have read is making me believe that I am fueling the disparity and injustice myself by desiring a fit body and firm skin and nice teeth and smart clothes... with whatever limited intelligence clubbed with my experience, life and the fact that i am a woman, though Greer is mostly factually correct, is still fatally critical.

Will finish the book and write again.


Ram said...

Good one keep it up.


Ankita Khanna said...

"She has also made remarks which means that one is not liberal enough if the thought of tasting ones own menstrual blood is unpleasant."

I am not surprised that some "feminist" would say such a thing. I have known real feminists and pseudo-feminists alike. It seems that radical misandrists have hijacked the feminist movement these days. The pseudo-feminists are louder and provocative and end up diverting the attention to such mindless petty things instead of larger and serious problems in the world.

Seeing how feminism has become almost synonymous with irrationality and misandry, I have stopped calling myself a feminist, much to the shock of my feminist friends. It is interesting to note that people who strive for emancipation from social stereotypes seem to take labels much too seriously.