Thursday, March 08, 2007

gawd in heaven

today we had a women's day celebration in my office (with the other company that shares our floor). predictably, it was organised by the women, the women dutched in for the lunch and the women alone sat together in the room. (i wonder if the men were murmuring "cheetangol" in another room meanwhile! :D)

anyhow. if you think im grumbling about all that, contrary to appearances, im not. i was steeling myself for the absolute inanities that i would inevitably hear about how women dont have those (insert every single very much still contemporary issue here) problems any more. and yaay, who just lost a bet with me? i sure did. starting from the morning, when the receptionist was poring over Economic Times to put up pro-women articles, and saw nothing wrong with the headline "Boardroom pin-up girls make waves".

then after that we had a lunch, where a senior management woman talked similar rot. i missed the first part, but such gems as i did hear, i wrote down faithfully. (well, i had to look down and do something because i could feel my facial muscles being awfully candid.)

1. see, in the lower classes, women aren't treated with respect.

2. in our country as such, women are treated with a lot of respect.

3. we can't confront without getting emotional, we're like that.

4. (discussion on how women in authority arent respected by male subordinates) but let us not think about it.

5. we cry. (said in shame, also implied that men never cry, that crying is a sign of weakness.)

6. we shouldn't cry because they (the men present) will feel awkward.

7. stand up only for yourself. it sends a very negative signal otherwise. even if someone is being treated unfairly, dont get involved.

8. see, whatever it is, at the end of the day it's all only power-play. men are going to do it.

9. we can't be (look of accute distaste and discomfort) feminist. we can't fight against nature. be smart and be good managers. (being smart means shutting up when you hear racism or sexism)

10. see, when you carry the responsibility of another life depending you, you need to be careful, there's no point fighting against it. men have nothing to do with it - we are the ones who are pregnant and carrying the baby.

i was asked to give a talk as part of today's program. my first thought was that all the things i would have liked to discuss, would lose this crowd. then i realised i was feeling cut off from other women, and that that would never do - heck, i should be able to speak to junta, right? i better be - i dont even have the requisite academic qualifications to stake a claim to that ivory tower! :D

sheesh. the next time i feel cynical, i'll listen to me - it was like hearing aliens talk today! felt a little unnerving to be lost and solitary in the middle of a crowd, particularly in a female crowd. one female bonding session that severely flopped.

this weary feminist has reached the end of her tether today!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly my disgust when i saw girls who never stood for themselves..may it be for their voices,opinions..their thoughts...wishing gladly "happy womens day"..gigling over the "special events" for the day... There was only one woman whose wish I had returned gladly.

Sorry to paste it hear..may be you can voice my feelings/anger/frustration over this supposed "tribute".I fail to organise my thoughts a little more coherently. I am not against celebrating this day..but whats all this crap!!

Hey Naari, aur kya kahun, bus jhukta hai tere saamne mera sar

Hum pataa nahi kya hote, kahan hote, jo tu na basaati humaara ghar

Dulhan bani, ghar chhoda, chehre pe thode aansu, thodi sharm hai

Par nikal padi tu, sapne liye, karne jo tera dharm hai.

Pyaar to hum bhi karte hain, par tere pyar ko na samajh paye, na payenge

Nasamjhe hum, chahe kitni bhi door jayein, tere hi paas laut ayenge

Sansaar chalaati hai, thakti nahi, par tu kitni akeli hai

Tu kaun hai, tu kya hai, tu kaisi paheli hai?

Hum to dard se bhaagte hain, par tune humesha jaise dard ke sapne sajaaye

Kitne balidaan deti hai, saare sukh bus humaare liye bachhaye

Humne ye padha, wo kiya, jeet gaye duniya saari

Tujhe fikr nahi duniya ki, bus fikr hai humaari!

Uparwale ki rachna hai, ya sakshaat avataar hai

Kya kuchh nahi hai tu, humaare jeevan ka aadhaar hai

Humaara pyaar, humaara paap, humaari bhakti

Humaara sahara, humaari aatma, humaari shakti!!

I feel so relieved now.It is almost like getting out into an open landscape from a stuffy room.

Thanks and Happy Womens day :)


9:47 am  
Blogger Anurag said...

IS there a blogger somewhere who took notes of your speech? I would like to see that.

9:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is... Women's Day is 'celebrated' only by women (women go out together, women talk about women's problems and women tell each other to 'deal with it' because that's the way it's going to be). I think women's issues cannot be a silo, because they involve men and they involve society.

On reading the article (Boardroom pin-up girls), the first thing that strikes me is this: why is taking care of family / work-life balance specific to women? Even by equalizing opportunities at the workplace (which will take a while), the balance is missing because women are the only ones expected to juggle career and family. Paternity leave is rare. No one asks a man about who takes care of the Little Ones when he is at a sales conference in Timbuktoo. No one hints at "neglect" when talking about a man's rise to the position of a CEO. I read this on the back jacket of a popular new bestseller by a woman executive - "A woman is not only expected to run the show at the office but also at home". So, while a woman multitasks to the point of chaos, a man can come back from work, flop on the couch in 'exhaustion' and watch the game (this happens in a soap ad). Why glorify this eternal juggling act? Multi-tasking is fine, but sole-tasking (taking care of everything 100% at home and at work) is, simply put, not fair.

Unless we get the basics right, my guess is the situation will be the same 2000 years from now. And the reason the bonding session flopped is because we know deep down that there's little reason to celebrate.

Ok, I'm done now!

1:25 am  
Blogger Sea and Sky said...

didn't you get served with the culture crap ("women have historically enjoyed the status of godesses in our culture")?

yes, i understand the frustration... and feel it too... especially when i don't find any energy within myself to argue...

happy women's day!

3:41 am  
Blogger m. said...

anonymous:yes, i hear your, i don't follow hindi so well though, lol! thanks, hope you too enjoy being a woman :)

anurag: *chuckle* touche evil one! but i didnt speak much. spoke briefly on body comfort and stereotypes, and wound up by handing out the "If Men Could Menstruate" essay :)

anonymous 2: here we are, shaking heads in unison over things again! deja vu :)

sea and sky: *shuffle* uh, yes i know establishing a historic continuity (or cultural tradition) is a low brow and dubious thing to do, but really - sometimes it's the only way to access some people! as in, i wouldnt rule out pulling up the past business to say "if it was like that before, you damn well have no reason to say it can never be like that again". so i'm not yet throwing that out. :)
and finally - thank you!

3:58 am  
Blogger Amodini said...

How I hear you, m ! I feel so cut off sometimes, talking to women my age - it's surreal.

10:50 am  
Blogger Nabila Zehra Zaidi said...

The expectations.... the rich goddess culture... heritage...hyppocrisy...naturally men r superior to women...bla bla bla bla bla...gosh! if i said its ANNOYING and FRUSTRATING coming from a woman (choose not to comment on men right now), it would be an under is because women like these who yes, can not stand up for themselves, have moved out because a handful BELIEVE in indiviualism and the rest follow and repeat. They seriously have nothing known as 'a mind of their own', which frustrates you me and most women who are not a part of this strange 'fake wannabe' brigade (thankfully)!! How I wish, I could share my thoughts with them and expect those thoughts to create an impact over their infantile minds!!

1:56 pm  
Blogger m. said...

amodini: yeah... unnerving huh!

nabila zehra zaidi: ok. i'm always the devil's advocate on this one. i get very frustrated when i come across women like the one quoted there, but but sometimes i'd go easy on whom i crucify for being thoroughly socialised! it's iffy. imo the first thing you should grant about conditioning is that it's not impossible but it IS hard to fight. so actually i tend to be harder on the people who DO have resources, access to education and blah blah blah who persist in being conditioned only because the alternative means too much work. or doesn't make them popular.
like i said. i keep shifting weight on this one!

9:09 pm  
Blogger Nabila Zehra Zaidi said...

I agree with the 'getting harder on the ones who have resources'..true very true....n I have no qualms in admitting I have crucified a many and am quite infamous among a many because I, at times get a little too hard on their 'BLONDE' xcuses that come up when questioning their hyppocricy!

p.s. - it feels good to let this all out...n dat to with people who understand n feel d same...>>phew<<

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