Posted in Women & Family

Feminism Within Four Walls…

WOMEN ARE BORN-SISSIES! Blame it on our XX chromosome!

 

What is Feminism.

Feminism to me is more about women opting for a flying career – not as air hostesses but as captains aboard. How many women out there even as Ground Staff – in Civil Aviation/Aerospace Engineering.

How many of us including me, among women, would opt for a Maritime career with 15 months at the sea at one go or for a posting at an Offshore Drilling platform should opportunities surface. The answer is ZERO even among the most liberated amidst us (from the west). Applications are called for from eligible qualified men, never women. And not surprisingly there is not a murmur of protest. FROM FEMINISTS. Busy donning the receptionist/secretary role?

Once talking to a man who flies weekly to an unstable man-made island in the middle of nowhere trusting his life with a rickety chopper that dispatches regularly his crew, I came to know temperatures exceeded 70 C in (the offshore or otherwise) oil rigs. Weather permitting, the men who subsisted on rationed food in pigeon-holed quarters could return on time to their families. There have been instances when they  were forced to stay back for extended periods disconnected to the rest of the world when things went wrong in the horizon (literally). Similar is the working condition in African countries, risky in their own way with physical and health threats and also being employed in uncharitable desert regions.

Occupational hazard is steepest when it comes to high altitude projects like building bridges – which are mostly undertaken by men. Same goes with sub-surface jobs. Again, the earnest window cleaners happen to be men, don’t they? Any takers among women for fishing? Stinks? Fisher-women I guess are more likely hawkers? Priestesses are fine but who among us is coming forward for a stint in burial/cremation ground?

Women are surgeons, astronauts, train drivers (in India) and flight lieutenants (as they come from the bold and daring army background like in most cases). Otherwise the statistic is hardly flattering. There are women mountain climbers, arctic expedition scientists (good number in HBO than in reality), marine biologists, archeologists yet there are also so, many, many things women are NOT yet. Or would rather BE NOT. BY CHOICE.

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SOFT SKILLS HAVE TURNED TO BE THE URBAN INDIAN WOMEN’S FORTE, THE TERTIARY SECTOR – THE PREFERRED MEDIUM OF SECURE EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE. CORPORATE LEADERSHIPS OVER CHAMPIONING MIGHTY PHYSICAL CAUSE COULD WELL BE A SORE WEAKNESS

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Women entrepreneurs seem to be content designing clothes and homes, baking among other nubile lady-like things. Appropriate for the sex and the society they come form.  PhDs are for Economics mostly over Nano Technology. Literature over Logic. Challenges like these make us truly ‘the flower power.’

How many ladies are really upto running a garage for instance,  getting their hands and feet dirty. Oh yes, there are the peasant women milking cows in the shed! And there are those farm hands.

How many young girls are keen to take up boxing (the picture Irudhi Suttru (Saala Khadoos in Hindi) is an inspiration for this post) or weight-lifting. Cricket is for ‘gentlewomen.’

Claiming equality with men, we though would like to spare ourselves from seeking equal hardship when it comes to working as foremen in factories  -to say so. We would rather leave the dirty, dangerous jobs to the men!

How many girls in our cities and villages enroll for mechanical or civil engineering. Why should they when there are safer options like chemical, electronics, electrical and information technology and architecture. Those few who do venture, invariably shut themselves into air-conditioned cabins restricting themselves to planning and such docile assignments. The tough work is for the boys. Field work is routinely left to men, east or west.

But look at how many Beauticians we have. Women Choreographers. Camera women. Directors. Writers. ACTIVISTS !!! Activists :these come in all colours, shapes and sizes ! We have maximum aspiring women here with many more waiting in the sidelines  to become the self-appointed ‘voice of nation’ as we see. Clutching the mic that is. (One Smriti Irani is what it takes to quell a 1000 or more Barkha Slutts, ladies. Know what to make out of your life).

How many women in the lower-middle class strata opt to work as simple as courier-women (even if in India there can’t be a teenage girl in the present who cannot ride a moped/scooter). As medical representatives. As marketing executives or travelling sales personnel. There are some in Chennai, and ofcourse there is one in my relative circle who is a successful rep selling surgical instruments minting good commissions, still these are avenues women generally seem to avoid stepping into.

How may women TTRs in overnight trains covering long distances through different states from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Goa to Assam?

I am a woman, have had a working woman for mother who never spent a day in kitchen, and I am the fourth generation literate woman from both sides – parental and marital. Still I lacked, and lack still the courage to venture into anything physically taxing, exhausting the way men in our families so readily do. I am hesitant to step out of my comfort zone – and not necessarily security is always the question. Four generations of seeing the light has not made me strong enough and weaned me from weaknesses – imagined and physical both.

Why cannot we women still push borders and get ourselves do the unconventional jobs. Who will stop us from pulling a cart or lifting a sack of grains. From changing a fused bulb to fixing a leaking faucet. I don’t think women are made fragile. It is more of a mind-matter.

Easiest to become gossipy Journalists. Make-up artists. Teachers. Doctors. Cooks. Tailors. Nurses. Domestic servants. Sans any unforeseen risks, I see. You may also dress up as an added bonus 🙂 Arts and Aesthetics are alluringly feminine.

Equality only in pay checks? Equality only in treatment? Equality not when it comes to sweating as hard and sincere as men?

The best excuse we can give is women sitting in board meetings. I have had enough of Indra Nooyis and Chanda Kochchars, thank you. I have had an overdoze of even Sania Mirza and Jhumpa Lahiri and Nandita Das and Latha Mangeshkar and ofcourse Sunita Williams.  Not to leave out Indira Gandhi to Kiran Bedi. I want a woman mason. A woman carpenter. A woman house painter. A woman plumber. A woman electrician. That is someone I failed to be. My friends failed to be.

Women apprentices should be working the labs and the lathes alike. Women trainees must be willing to leave their cozy air-conditioned offices to serve in inhospitable environment, the way men dare to. Who and what prevents us from taking responsibilities, donning the unenviable role the way men have.

These are grey areas I see even women of the west seem to be shy of, not coming abreast with men. If there is any presence at all, it is negligible and hardly worthy of mention. Whereas there are male chefs, male hair-stylists, male dancers (hehe even gigolos – but i am yet to meet one 😦 ) so what do we have to show among women for male equivalents in a variety of traditionally male-dominated professions.

This is the reason I condone feminists. Women like Arundathi Roy and Barkha Dutt make me revolt. First one is a one-book wonder who capitalized with sensationalizing incest. The second one – well you know. It is exactly the kind of feminism they have come to represent that I detest fiercest.

I am impressed to what length a working professional male or a male labourer can go. Can exert himself willingly: physically and mentally. ALL FOR THE FAMILY.

Whereas we women still want to exchange night shifts with male colleagues in IT industry. Where do we go from here.

Excuse me, this is most definitely meant NOT to be a reprieve for rapists and wife-beaters. As much as I hate men, I also adore men. Love their sense of humour, happy-go-lucky attitude, gossip-free banter… Even a 20 minute chat with a well-informed man with a funny bone is enough to make your day … whereas women continue to disappoint me …

Very elite among us forsake domesticity and kitchen duties – because we think we are above it all. Very rare to see women who think otherwise. Juggling home and office is not piece of cake for every woman.

Driving or swimming is not a feat, Miss. It is mandatory in this 21st century CE. Sense of independence is every woman’s inheritance by birth. Gene. You may have lost it in transition but acquiring one is not a privilege.

I am a Varahi worshipper. She is war chieftain 🙂 I love Parvathi’s hold over Shiva. (I didn’t want to mix religion in this post but couldn’t help it. As much as I revere Saraswathi and Lakshmi, the reigning queens of wisdom and wealth, I am for the strong, fiery, aggressive and dominating form of Mother Goddess – the Shakthi who is no non-sense. She means Power and I am her loyal devotee.

But I know, this is face value. What we women have to still do is EVOLVE. Equality to me is a totally different plane. Equality is not just about bringing in your share of bread. Raising a family is part of the package.

Men in my life have helped me grow in their own way.

Women have been the anchor in my life. But i will not let any man be defaced by one Nirbhaya BBC story.  Women have been subject of abuse of various kinds, but I shall not let that cloud my judgement on men. Good men.

Men view women as sex objects not because we kindle their imagination, but because we are proving to be sissies, acting like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – looking lost and helpless. Women seeking concessions are shameless.

I am sick of reading the typical feminist-authors, the so-called self-righteous advocates of women’s causes. With a couple of gloating women activists they complete the picture: one of perpetual lament, pleading tone, unconvincing anger and weak claims.

Women have been on the defensive  long enough. Time to get offensive. Counter offensive. Playing victim for too long – at the receiving end. Isn’t it time we break out and into every other male bastion.  The first thing we will have to do is STOP dreaming the Fairy tales. So long as we act ‘damsel in distress’ waiting for ‘the prince in shining armour’ to come to our rescue like we are the Snow White, Cinderella and Rapunzel (and rightfully seeking ladies’ seats in buses and trains), I do not see a hope.

Emancipation is not just about trotting around in faded jeans and carrying placards in protest rallies. IT IS ABOUT LIVING A MAN’S LIFE, IF YOU CAN THAT IS.

So dear Feminists, stop your shrill cry now wanting more, acting selfish. Break new paths.  Throw the stones of excuses behind you. Walk free.

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