Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Musings and a Merry Christmas

I am not a feminist. In fact, if there is a term for the exact opposite of a feminist, then I am that. I have spent twelve years of my life in an overwhelmingly female-populated environment. And I certainly do not want to repeat the experience. I do not hate women, but I cannot deny despising them. When I say ‘them’ I mean ninety five percent of women. I acknowledge that I have also met women who are very different, and I pride myself in not being a typical female. However, the fact remains that these are a microscopic fraction of the female population all over the world, and are usually dismissed as whackos and outcasts. Now, before my readers start thinking of me as a prejudiced MCP (yeah, I will probably be called that by feminists in spite of being a girl myself!) let me present my experiences with women and the reasons that have led to my present state of mind. And right at the beginning, I am reiterating that there are women against whom my allegations do not hold true. I am hoping such women will realize that I have nothing against them; in fact, they are the reason why I have not yet become completely misogynistic.  

From what I have seen, the most defining characteristic of most women’s personalities is hypocrisy. Now, before all my female readers start objecting loudly to my very demeaning observation, let me give you some examples (all of these are anecdotes, either from my own experience or of people I know well). I have known parents (and most of them have been mothers) who have been unerringly polite and civil while talking to their children’s teacher, and have started using uncouth language about the same teacher as soon as the former is out of earshot. Speaking ill of people behind their backs is undoubtedly a female trait. Any woman who has ever attended a party will know how much time a group of women will spend criticizing their absentee ‘friends’. And this attitude undergoes no change as women age: on comparing notes after returning from two separate parties, my mother and I have had startlingly similar experiences. So what my contemporaries talk about is in no way different from what their mothers speak of.

In connection to my previous allegation, I have to add that women are so obsessed with their bodies. The other day my father was glancing through one of those numerous women’s magazines, and he commented about how almost the entire magazine was full of advertisements of different beauty products and salons and shopping brands, and articles that give suggestions for enhancing one’s beauty. The same thing can be seen on television. As I have mentioned once in one of my earlier posts, women want to be portrayed as bodies only. Among my classmates a very popular hobby is shopping. I do not have many male acquaintances, so I cannot say this from intimate knowledge,  but I doubt how many males of any age will cite shopping as their favourite hobby! Also, women are so desperate to become clones of one another. When I go out I am often surprised by how all the girls seem to look alike. They wear the same kinds of clothes and make-up, walk, talk, giggle, pout and roll their eyes in the same way. Though we make a lot out of ‘being a unique individual’, the truth is that girls are far more scared of standing out in the crowd than men are. It is true that there is a certain class of boys who also like to imitate each other and become as alike in everything as possible, especially in clothes, motorbikes and attitude. But this is not the majority among males, unlike in females. I still see men wearing clothes as diverse as bermudas and pyjamas and dhoti, and having idiosyncratic personalities much oftener than women.

Women also seem to get some perverted, bestial fun by harming other people, especially other women. They cannot bear to see other women being luckier than they, and will try to inflict harm in one way or the other to their luckier sisters. I happen to be gifted by unusual height in a country where must women are tiny. I cannot help being tall; it is not something I had asked for or worked for, it was just given to me. My height makes me stand out everywhere, and while I see the boys gaping at me as if  I were a phenomenon, the look in most women’s eyes is one of intense jealousy and hatred. They behave as though I have become tall only in order to make them feel inferior!

In most households, it is the mother, the grandmother or one of the older female relatives who take up the role of making their girl children realize that they have been born inferior to boys, and so they should not try to behave like equals at all. Instead, they should invest all their time and energy in dolling up beautifying themselves. I can very well realize and sympathize with many of my father’s male ex-students who seem to have no interest in girls at all. It’s time girls noticed that not all boys are interested in looks alone. Some want more matter and substance in girls, and by concentrating solely on their bodies the girls are losing out on prospective (and, if I may say so, very eligible!) boyfriends and husbands!

I can list many other reasons for my attitude, but it’s Yuletide and I do not want the last blogpost of the year to be a bitter one. So let me draw this subject to a close with the observation that I would be doing grave injustice if I do not mention some of the women I love and respect the most. My mother tops the list. Though I know I have just made a very clich├ęd remark, I cannot help it. She is a wonderful person, and it is to be said only incidentally that she is also a woman. Some of my best friends are girls, and though they are very much aware of my anti-female mindset, it does not bother them. They know instinctively that when I scoff at women I do not have them in mind. Because, in my definition they are not really girls, but human beings, and lovable ones at that. Then, I have met women who are my father’s ex-students or wives/friends of ex-students who are very unlike the typical woman that I have described, so they automatically fall into the 5% of the female population that I admire. Most of the really successful women in the world are non-feminists, probably because they do not think of themselves as mere women in the first place. When I say this I have in mind J. K. Rowling, Chhanda Kochhar, Naina lal Kidwai, Vinita Bali, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, even Vidya Balan and Julia Roberts. And when I talk of wonderful and respectable women, I cannot forget Beth Morgan and Bronwen of How Green Was My Valley, Pilar of For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ma Joad of The Grapes of Wrath, Mariam of A Thousand Splendid Suns and Professor McGonagall of Harry Potter. They define women in my mind.

Before I sign off, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas and an equally happy New Year. This is my favourite season; the weather is lovely, and there are so many happy days lying ahead in the next two weeks. I am eagerly looking forward to our year-end trip. This year, we’ll have some of dad’s ex-students with us, so hopefully it will be even more enjoyable than usual. I shall be back with many more happy (and interesting too, hopefully) experiences, and that will be my first post the next year. So loads of love good wishes till then. Cheers :)

5 comments:

Shilpi said...

Dear Pupu,

I don't know whether you'll get this comment on time - but thumbs up for writing this one. I can place the biggest ticks anyone has seen for those points of yours regarding hypocrisy, gossiping and tattling, being obsessed with bodies and looks and clothes and shopping, harming others or feeling jealous (indeed I often say if looks could kill most females would be killing off most of the other females). This year was indeed a year that I got to see even better what females are like and I owe your dad for this one. I didn't want to see or know because more than most of the females simply irritate me when they don't disgust me, and it shows on my list of people I talk with, and I was happy enough living in my hole. The strange and rather unnerving part though was seeing that so many of those same traits could have been in me and in full bloom too...

I know you've read my own massive posts on the same and two of them. It was trying to write on those two for which I didn't write much else, I think (they were draining to write and especially since I could see myself too and wasn't so sure that I wanted to but the threads of realization did no harm...I'm relieved to say). I could have written more on that shopping bit - but I missed writing on that one. I remember one graduate student telling me some years ago that she thought I was 'brave' for going around in the same trousers/jeans and t-shirts and sneakers for years. 'Brave'. Heaven help us. That's the word she used. Quite apart from everything else, I can bet that more than a few of those flashily dressed girls don't have a shower before coming to campus in the morning! (I probably sound mean but I'm being truthful).

Your musings on your height and the women who all glare at you made me break out into loud laughs for I know exactly what you mean. I've seen men's and boys' heads turn while pretty/beautiful/dressed up women glare at other pretty/beautiful women on the roads and even when they're walking arm-in-arm with their boyfriends, and I smile while watching. A Blondie comic from another age and a half ago, which your dad had showed me, always flashes when I see this scene.

I do have other stories - but this is just to say that I was cheered up somewhat up to find this essay of yours today. I'll have to go and look up some of the names you've mentioned in your list (I still haven't gotten around to reading some of those books) but why Julia Roberts, I wonder. I'm happy for you that you've found some women and girls in your life for now and that you appreciate your mum.

The other bit that has been doing the rounds in my mind is the matter of friendship especially when I sit opposite a pond on some eves after walking up and down and all around near the river...but this one will have to wait for another time.

I'll wish you a Merry Christmas in advance but maybe I'll get around to wishing you on the day too. Take care all of you and travel well and have fun and return safe and sound with many stories, and I'll pray too in the meantime that I'll be able to call and come up with some good news this coming year...

Shilpidi

P.S: I'll probably comment on your previous post when it's Christmas Day...

Urbi Chatterjee said...

Shilpidi,

I am rushing this off to tell you I was glad to see your comment, so thanks. I'll save analyzing and responding to you comment for another time because if I do it now I'll probably miss the bus. Thanks again, and take care.
Puu

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Urbi,

This is my favourite post on your blog by a huge margin. Being an uncomfortable sort of girl who generally prefers the company of boys I know exactly what you mean when you talk about all the irritating traits in most women. Yes, they gossip, the preen, they live for their make up and life style magazines and shop like they have nothing else worthwhile to do. It is not enough just to get a post graduate degree in a swanky college and work at a multinational, because inside they are all just the same. I know exactly what you mean as well, when you say that girls who are different are termed as whackos; my engineering days was filled with infernally stupid girls such as these that at the end of four years of college, I came away with just one person whom I could call in good conscience a friend; and he is a guy. So go figure. My friends are few but very dear to me, they are people I have known since I was a child and very much like me. I developed complete contempt for the average girl, or the average boy for that matter and would rather be alone than make a single "friend" who is like that. In fact when my own friends are not around, I stay by myself very happily. Four years of studying in a college where everybody was assessed only on what their father was, or the way they looked or what mobile they had has taught me that I am better off alone.
This has been an extremely long comment but it is very refreshing to see somebody with this point of view. Women's rights are all very well, but you just have to consider the various characters that you have pointed out in the penultimate paragraph. Pilar and Mariam and Prof. McGonagall, what women :-) People call me stupid, but I inhabit the imaginary world with far more ease than I do the real one. So bravo. Lovely post.

Urbi Chatterjee said...

Vaishnavidi,

A very Happy New Year to you. It is good to know that there are women out there who share my point of view. I hadn't expected any comments from women in this particular post, but oddly enough, it is the men who are keeping quiet!

Pupu

Rashmi Datta said...

*Sorry for the trouble but please ignore the other comment which has gone by Sayanda's name containing the same content.It happenned due to a technical fault.*


Dear Pupu,
Firstly, wish you a very Happy New Year and a belated Happy Birthday.

You are spot on once again about the attitude of the typical Indian woman. I have spent four years in a girls-residential where I had to interact with literally hundreds of females day in and day out. That was when I realised that back-biting, ‘bitching’, spreading malicious gossip and hurting others out of pure spite are the traits of most of the females barring rare exceptions.

Far from the ‘kind and caring’ image that Indian women have made of themselves, they are extremely insensitive towards the pain and misfortune of others, other womens’ in particular. You can see that clearly in the way the middle class females treat their less fortunate sisters- their domestic help.

They also seem to have developed the skill of becoming sycophants of people in authority whether it is the examiner of a singing examination or a notorious member of parliament. They will stoop to embarrassing levels of flattery to get their work done.

Their obsession with their bodies disgusts me and I have seen that it is almost impossible to get them interested in anything that needs intelligence, imagination or simply a kind heart. That is why I keep way from females as a rule.

Thank you for the list of women you respect which you gave at the end. I am yet to know well about many of them. It is always heartening to know and meet women one can look up to. Pupu, it was an immense pleasure to meet Boudi and you. I look forward to many such meetings in future.

Take care and best wishes for your future.
Love and blessings,
Rashmidi