Why I am Obviously a Feminist

Why I am Obviously a Feminist

What if there were 20 commandments for being a feminist? Would that be relevant to all, would it change much? It’s just like when the laborers come out against discrimination by the factory owners, they may have not read Karl Marx. But the crux of what they are doing maybe Marxism, and it comes naturally out of their agony. Having said that, there is a lot of interesting reading (both fiction and non-fiction) out there, that can be done. It may have been omitted from our history textbooks, but Feminism is not new. It dates back to the 17th century and is responsible for some of our most basic rights like voting. Not even Indian Feminism, even that’s not new.

So in simple words, I’d say feminism is about speaking for women’s rights and growth.

It is not ‘humanism’ because women are not discriminated as humans. They are discriminated because of the structure of their chromosomes- women. This is just a pacifist philosophy which can only be to be nice to the discriminator.

They will be uncomfortable, obviously, because when we seek equality, we are going to shake the roots of their comfort. We are shaking them (mostly men but not limited to) off their years of comfort, the hell they will be angry, upset and want to shut us up. 

It can’t be anti-man. It needs to join hands with supportive men and there are a hell lot of them out there. It needs to be pro-woman. But it also needs to call out women who pull other women down (just for the heck of it).

In the process, feminism cannot bear the burden of justifying or diluting the mistakes feminists/women make as flawed human beings. I won’t take the blame of a flawed feminist. I will call it out and move on.

Also, sometimes you need to see the whole picture and how big a part this flaw is because no one is perfect. Nevertheless, the last thing we need right now is people swiftly pulling someone down (feminazis) because they call themselves a feminist, even when they are putting out the right point. That is an irrational fallacy.

There are good doctors and there are bad doctors. You don’t question health services when you read about a surgeon who forgot a gauge in the patient’s stomach. You can be your version of a feminist and strive to be a better human on the way. But not being a feminist in this world is not a luxury we have. 

Why should you be a “feminist” and not a “women’s rights activist” while it means the same thing? It does. You can call a doctor as one who heals, politicians as governance activist. Whatever suits you. But don’t do it because you are scared of the ones calling you ‘feminazis’ or whatever. This is exactly what we need to fight. 

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Let’s Do Yoga But Why?

I was born in 1991. This could be like the beginning of the generations where kids would play less and less outdoors. For me, the school was the beginning of shunning from sports. Out PT (physical trainer) teacher was a grumpy 45-year-old who absolutely hated his job. He could be nobody’s favorite teacher. And hence he hated us too. So he would ask us to run 10 rounds of the school ground as a warm-up. When we were completely exhausted, we were allowed to play games like kho-kho and kabaddi. It was fun. I remember I was in 6th grade when we got the basketball net in our class for the first time. I wasn’t tall enough to play I thought and hence did not even try it.
I know people say you should do Yoga to loose weight. I am sure they are right but back then, I always thought I need to loose a little weight to be able to do Yoga!

Continue reading “Let’s Do Yoga But Why?”

Pride and Power

Pride and Power

Tapi Village, Gujarat: Tribal Youth Stripped for Hunting Pigeons by Forest Officials: “The purpose of stripping them was to help them understand the importance of birds as they are also living beings and should not be killed.” justifies Raghuveersingh, one of the forest officials.

Young Men Stripped. What happened to the good-old system of filing a case and going by law? Hooliganism. If you think this is being made a big issue, well it is a big issue. When have we seen upper caste, privileged and influential men being beaten/stripped for hunting (even deer and other endangered species) for joy and fun? They receive a pat on their back for their glory. How is the system different for two humans of the same society? Hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, Tapi Village Sarpanch tried to explain, “There is a general tradition that the village youths go into the forest and kill birds and cook a meal of it.”

We have a habit of constantly stepping into the habitat of tribal people. This is the same in India and even America. Tribals look ugly and backward to us while we are in our so-called virtuous path of development. The truth is that they understand nature, food cycle and the ecology far better than us. They have lesser crimes with better social lives and moral codes. None of the poachers, animal skin mafia and joy and bounty hunters are tribals. In fact, in various parts of the world, tribals have been helpful to conserve the ecology and nab the poachers. These people don’t kill for fun, they hunt to fill their belly. You don’t have to agree or disagree with their customs. I may not relate to hunting and be eating a pigeon and find it disgusting but my opinion is not bigger than someone’s life and self-respect. Co-existence.

They respect the forest like their mother and are better protectors of it. We are the ones who infiltrate and destroy nature for our selfish motives like mining and polluting land for various reasons. And they are silenced when they raise the voices to save their land and nature. In the human quest to acquire, we have created irreversible natural damages. Instead of learning ways of conservation from tribals, they are shown power. If you disagree with what is happening, you must speak up and share now.

The Enigma of Solo Travel

The Enigma of Solo Travel

Although the world has seen revolutionaries travel alone and discover places, I don’t think it’s been more than 10 years that the idea of solo travel has become a popular trend. Before you think, “oh, I have done it!”, be sure to check off from your list, those kinds of travels which are done to a familiar/comfortable place, even traveling for work (majorly going into an office setting) doesn’t count unless you take time out to travel and explore the place. So yes, I mean traveling alone, outside your comfort zone and exploring a place.

In a close-knit society such as ours, the first thought of solo travel makes a person appear as selfish. “O my god, you’ll go alone? What is the purpose of that anyway? It sounds so weird.” Continue reading “The Enigma of Solo Travel”

Just Gym Things

A future famous personality, “You can judge a person by the way he/she behaves in the gym.” This quote is true on many levels. There are all kinds of gym goers. Starting from the ones who blame the season (no matter which) for not waking up regularly or because of their busy schedule, can’t make time for the gym. This is, of course, after paying for a full year membership in the excitement of the New Year. Then there are the OCD ones who reach gym at the same 7:59 AM every single day. But it’s interesting to see how the Gym unfolds, the curious gym politics.
I’m not sure if there’s a research done about it but it is safe to assume that treadmill is the most loved gym equipment. It keeps everyone distracted, at least in the cardio section. The ones doing the warm-up have their one hawk eye fixed on few of the treadmills and a clock keeps ticking inside their mind. If even by chance, they see that the person on the treadmill is slowing down, they expedite their warm up like a machine in the factory. The person on the cycle and elliptical are also in the same pursuit. Sadly, this pursuit is not of getting the ultimate happiness because the person on the treadmill is not happy either. He/she will keep a constant tab on their neighbours, “Is he running faster than me?” “Oh, you want me to show you stamina. See, see.” Their auras converse with each other.

Continue reading “Just Gym Things”

When Parents Go Wrong

You only can give birth to a child. You can’t expect to own them when they become adults— their bodies, feelings, desires, dreams, consent— nope. I’m sorry if this hurts to know but those things are not yours to control. And that is, of course, in spite of all that you have sacrificed for them or for all the love you have given to them. Don’t put your love on a bargain to emotionally blackmail your adult child. Your ego must not weigh more than your child’s happiness.

This is not how it works. Neither logically nor legally. Perhaps you are worried about the culture or the society around you, what will they say, how will we answer? Well, then, think of the answers. Find the right answers, instead of taking the easy way out- do what everyone else is doing.

Who is this society? Is this one person or two people? Why are you so desperate to be a part of it? Is this society giving you birthday surprises or kissing you good morning every day or lovingly buying you clothes with their first salary? Does the society call you to ask if you’ve had lunch? Does the society come with you to the doctor when you’re sick? Does it pester you until you eat the medicines? Does it push you for the morning walk? How many times does the society give you a hug when you need it the most? How much will the society cry when you are dead? Continue reading “When Parents Go Wrong”

How Not To Be an Ass****

How Not To Be an Ass****
We had been really good friends for years. This one day, out of the blue, he calls, “Can we go out for lunch? I need to tell you something.” I replied without any thought, “Yes.” He looked visibly nervous that day. What followed was at least twenty minutes of random talk. When I finally lost my mind owing to the curiosity, I came forward from my seat with a clenched fist, and demanded, “Dude, will you tell me what’s the matter?”

 

He took a pause and said, “I need to tell you something. Please hear me out and promise that this won’t affect our friendship.” This could mean a thousand things or nothing at all. I said, “Nothing will affect our friendship, I promise. Tell me.”  And he said those three words.

 

“I am gay.”

 

I heard those three words, took a second of pause and said, “Okay…Great…(pause, smile)…But.. why would you think this would affect our friendship?”

 

A smile broke out on his face and the nervousness instantly vanished.

 

“What? What did you expect me to say to you when you’d say you are gay? Something like ‘dur ho jao meri nazron se’?
(Laughter)
“Yaar. I just didn’t want to lose you.”
“When did you first come to know?”
“It’s been around 1.5 years. I soooooooo wanted to tell you but could not.”
It felt like a dagger in my chest. Had I not been a good friend? Why did he have to hide it from me? I must have made him uncomfortable in some way.

 

“Did I ever make you feel that I would be disapproving of this?”
“You have been one of the nicest friends. And I have wanted to tell you all this while because you’d be such a support! But I remember this day we went to Zen and you had casually joked about someone around, “I think he’s gay.” It’s silly, I know. It was casual and not even shaming but I didn’t want to lose you for this.”
“Oh. When was this?”
“Around two years back. This was the time I was starting to face my sexuality.”

 

My head almost touched the ground. My hands on my face. I was ashamed of myself. I couldn’t believe that such a “small” thing could have such a big impact on someone. Just for that, my friend had gone through the struggle of dealing with this without me by his side.

 

It’s been years since this incident. Since then, I’ve had so many friends coming out to me. I’ve consciously resisted making even casual remarks about sensitive things. It still happens, but I try. And I’ve tried my best to be the most supportive, not freak out, not gossip or spread rumours. Coming out, sounds like a weird word, to begin with. Why does someone even have to come out? That’s something only the person who has had to suppress their sexuality will understand. For heterosexuals, it would help to imagine, what would it feel like to be told that what they are feeling for the opposite sex is unnatural?

 

We make very quick judgements about gender and sexuality. If a guy is a little effeminate, we label them as ‘gay’ (as if being gay is a bad thing). While they might really just be effeminate and not gay. If a girl appears to be a tomboy, we label them as ‘lesbians’. While they might really just be a tomboy. And what if they were even gays or lesbians. Anyone that is a part of nature, with consent, is natural.

 

Most people also confuse gender with sexual orientation. Gender is Male, Female. Sexual Orientation is Heterosexual, Homosexual, Asexual, etc. Facebook has introduced an option to select from 63 genders. It’s understood that this is quite confusing. But we live in a world that’s increasingly becoming complex because we are not ready to accept the people coming out. There are people who are GenderFluid: A gender fluid individual does not see themselves as male or female but may identify as one or the other depending on the day. There are people who are gender non-conforming: Gender Non-conforming is a person who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society. This identity goes along with a lot of the ones above. Learn More here.
 

How To React When Someone Comes Out to You

 

  1. Acknowledge: In a world that we live in, it is actually a big deal if someone comes out to you, especially if you not homosexual. There are a hundred fears attached to saying those three words, and when someone does that, the least you can do it, take a pause and acknowledge. Keep it a secret if they want to.
  2. Do Not Joke: It’s not funny. If you don’t understand how it feels, do not speak but try and not crack ugly jokes.
  3. Resist the Questions: You have heard different things and you have all sort of fantasies about homosexuality (how to you really have sex, how to get attracted, etc) but resist asking all sorts of questions right then.
  4. What to say: To begin with, say that you love them. Say that it doesn’t matter who they want to sleep with and it will not affect your love for them. The nicest thing to say is, “I’m glad you shared this with me. I just want you to know that I love you. And this doesn’t affect our friendship.”
  5. Do not Freak Out: When you freak out, you ask mean questions like, “Omg, what will you do now?” Would you say that to someone who’d say, “I am passionate about Math”? You won’t. It’s that simple. Nothing is to be done about it. The person is just sharing it with you.
  6. Do not be Awkward: There’s nothing awkward if the person if of the same sex as yours. They could be a friend/brother or sister. But you don’t need to creep out. Don’t think that they “like you that way” just because they are homosexual or queer. Just like every heterosexual person doesn’t like you! Do not run away from them.

The list is unlimited. It’s a sign of a really good person if someone comes out to you. It means that you made someone feel that comfortable that they could tell you such an intimate detail about their life. Yes, sexual orientation and gender are complex matters. But just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it is wrong. You don’t know how to fly a spaceship, do you? So, do not be an ass****.