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Thursday, January 17, 2013

A not-so-feministic post by a feminist

Disregarding all my grace, I heaved myself awkwardly on a friend’s bike’s strangely high pillion seat. He took off in full speed. As the wind hit my face hard, and tears ran sideways and flew out of my face, I took a second to figure out what I could see on the pavement on my left: A candle-light march. I did not need to be told why; It was all India had in mind. I got a glimpse of a placard saying “Women are not objects of sex”. In a second, we zipped past and the protest was nowhere in sight.

Through the ride, while I was trying to keep my highly tied pony-tail from staying horizontal cause of the wind, I pondered over what the placard said. I wondered if that would ever change or if it could. I still wonder.
Source :

Let’s not talk about rape or any kind of abuse here. Men who rape are cruel, cold-blooded, callous, animals. Let’s talk about humans, not them. Let’s simply talk about how women are viewed in our society.

We women, we blog, rant and grumble about how it is impossible to take a stroll on the Indian roads without being scrutinized head to toe, in detail, by random scoundrel-like fellows. We get infuriated at the men, at their uncouthness and at our own helplessness. I grit my teeth when people blame not-so-much covering clothes. I hate that our attire should be a criterion, but I quite know it is and hence dress consciously. We all put away the dresses and tank tees while in a conservative town/area to avoid the stares. But otherwise, we dress at our own accord. There is life back in our wardrobes; nothing beats the feeling of walking into a party all dressed up and feeling good about it. Now which girl would disagree? But, hang on, did someone tell you that men in the city don’t check girls out? NO. You know for a fact that they do. You know so well that the well-dressed gentleman who apologized to you more profusely while handing you your clutch that he never caused to drop in the first place than you would have if you had stepped on his toe with your stiletto’s heel, was simply trying to hit on you cause of how hot you looked in that dress. Still, you smiled back; you did secretly enjoy the attention, didn’t you? You still wondered why all men couldn’t be as chivalrous. You dressed up to feel good or because you love and want to flaunt your new dress or cause you wanted to look as good as your girlfriends. You might not have dressed up to grab the attention of the good-looking man at the bar. Yet, when your girlfriend told you that her guy friend finds you sexy, didn’t a small tiny tiny bit of you feel ecstatic? No you certainly did not want to have sex with him. But it did feel good to be attractive and surely it did feel good coming from a guy. Now, let me you get reminded of the man in a lungi who earlier that day, loudly, with no intention of not being heard, articulated “ey itemmm daa!” and then jeered at you along with his friends. It disgusts you, the mere thought. Has it ever occurred to you that it’s just the sophistication in the former that comforts us women? Men are the same, everywhere.

Men in small not-so-modern towns don’t exactly get to see women attired skimpily or very fashionably. Women in these places usually adhere to the town’s not-so-modern expectations. A woman who walks the road bravely dressed in shorts on a summer morning will naturally cause more than a head to turn. You’d get the gaze not just from the men, the women too. However, for a city bred man, a woman in a halter necked top would be nothing new. He’d ‘ve mastered a way to scan the vicinity sub-consciously and put in some effort to look only in selective cases.  Even in those cases, the man would look in a way where either the lady’d never realize or she would and would covertly relish the attention. Try a bikini in a city and see how many eyes follow you; even the sophistication will evaporate then. Or walk into a pub on ladies’ night and see how many men wait outside and request random girls to help them get past the bouncers posing as a couple. Why would a man want to pay for a couple-entry ticket to a pub on ladies’ night, knowing every drink would cost him? Quite obvious, isn’t it? Let’s leave aside random men; our own guy friends check girls out all the time, don’t they? Mine do it so religiously like it’s some duty earmarked to them by manhood. I sit with them either bored or I join them, only I check out the woman’s outfit. It’s fun, sometimes. We all have such friends and we find it perfectly okay. Yet, we complain when the roadside men do the same.

My point of contention here is that all men are the same; we know it. We are comfortable with the more sophisticated ones for they never make us feel violated and unsafe. They never make us wish we had a blanket to cover ourselves up. We secretly seek the attention of the sophisticated men but we want the other ones to look away. And that, well, is probably asking for too much.

Probing further, almost every man watches porn, your brother does, your friend does, they all do. I’m not saying women don’t, but that’s irrelevant here. Porn’s easily available everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It’s legal too. Now doesn’t porn objectify women in a sexual way? Of course it does. And do we women particularly want to illegalize it? No, because most of us believe it’s normal for a man to want to watch this stuff.

When Katrina dances singing “I know you want it but you’re never gonna get it, Tere haath kabhi na aani…… Duniya yeh saari mere ishq ki hai deewani”, we dance along, we sing along. Clearly we aren’t going to demur at this, how can we forget freedom of speech? We are broad-minded and progressive, it’s cheap to even wonder if this is okay. It doesn’t matter if she objectifies herself in the song. It’s just a song. Only, there some men who know they’re really never get it, and can’t take their eyes off a woman when they get a chance. But forget that, let’s dance to ‘Shieela, Shiela ki jawaani…”.

Some men who have no exposure to such women in real life, can’t help that they look at women around in a sexual way, more so if there is exposure of skin. It’s natural that a woman loves to bring out her grace, beauty and elegance in the way she goes about things. And it’s natural that men are attracted to women, more so if she emanates poise and good looks. I’m neither saying porn should be illegalized nor that item numbers should be banned. I’m not saying women shouldn’t dress up the way they want, I love to dress up too. I’m simply saying women have always been objectified. That doesn’t mean any man can have sex with a woman when it isn’t consensual. It simply talks about how a woman is viewed in our world : a sexual object. Knowingly or unknowlingly, we ‘ve accepted it and we object to only some aspects that we don't like. This is reality and it might just never change.

Or it just might, some far away day. We need to stop doing a lot of crap that we do in the name of culture. We need to demystify sex. We need to stop rousing curiosity by giving sex the notorious importance that it's given today. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject at all. The stereotypes associated with women should be disregarded.  People have to stop stopping boys and girls from hanging out together. It’s important that everyone understands and learns to handle people of the other gender. No that isn’t bad culture; it’s such misinterpreted ideas injected into our minds that have gotten us here. Let’s focus on the right things and let’s hope to see some change some day.

P.S. :  As mentioned earlier, nothing can justify any act of abuse of any kind. No man has the right to cash in on his physical strength to exploit a woman verbally/physically/sexually. What is a world that makes half its people feel unsafe and afraid?! Let’s fight for our cause and not give up till we feel safe. Till that blessed day arrives, let’s walk around with peper-spray (

P.P.S. : The ideas in this article are inspired by that of a friend. I denied and got angry when I couldn’t refute his arguments. It took a lot of self-debating to convince my feminist side that he was quite right.


  1. u got the point. in addition even too much of alcohol takes watever moral values a man has at tat time. else no one with normal conscious can hurt a girl like delhi incident.

    1. *As you say, sex should be demystified. I agree. But, it takes some time, It has to happen gradually.

      *Most of the men watch porn as a hobby. When they face a woman, they do see her as a woman. Not as a sex object just bcoz he watches porn. There are some exceptions as well.

      *You can know more abt our Indian culture by looking at sculptures and paintings in ancient buildings and temples. The culture that we follow is not as same as our real culture,

    2. Suresh, I agree that surely irresponsible drinking can cause a person to lose it. As much as I agree that no one with normal conscious can hurt a girl that badly, I also think that no normal drunk man would do that. I'm saying, it's not just the alcohol, it's some inhuman part of those guys too.

    3. Yeah!! You cannot blame it on alcohol and escape!!

    4. Exactly. Though it could be a factor.

    5. This justification is more for myself than anything accusatory because IF there is perhaps a small part of you that is generalizing, to say all those who smoke and drink are have no morals or conscience is wrong. Though I agree that this could be a factor.
      They were already morally blind. Even before they began to smoke and drink.

      My point is this: from a statistical point of view I will argue this, (though I have no data to corroborate my claims except personal experience) it unsafe for women/girls to be around men/guys when they are getting high/hammered simply because in that context things are not very clear to either individual, man or woman assuming that both or one of them indulge in the abuse of substance. To say it could be a factor is correct. To say it could be THE factor is wrong.

      You make many valid points and I do sympathize, since this is all men can do. This issue has in general made me more aware of such "boundaries" that exist between men and women and has made me rethink my behavior around women in general. But there are certain aspects of my individuality that I will not give up and that may come across as indecent to women who have certain presumptions about the "average" man. Feminism as a movement has added to these presumptions and like all good movements it also has the tendency to generalize. That being said, I have nothing against feminists or what ever presumptions they may have, we all have a right to our own.

      I genuinely feel that we as a nation need to introspect. On our women, children, men and whatever else because there is something wrong somewhere, and venting anger will not be of any use.

    6. I'm confused now. Aren't we saying the same thing? That alcohol can be a factor, but not the only factor. Alcohol can be something like a catalyst maybe, if my usage of the word is right.
      I thot we were saying the same thing. Correct me if my understanding of what u said 's wrong.

    7. Yes. Catalyst. I just didnt understand what was meant by
      "Yeah!! You cannot blame it on alcohol and escape!!".
      Forgive the verbosity.

      And nice post!

    8. I thought you said that :/ It's another anonymous person. :)

    9. The same one. :P.
      Just so we are clear:
      a) I agree and chose to elaborate (though I now realize I have ended up confusing people than what I originally intended)
      b) You agree that I agree.
      c) Today is a good day.

    10. Haha, Have a good day.
      Out of curiosity, why are you anonymous? :)

  2. It was meant to be a comment. I mistakenly wrote it as a reply to Suresh's comment.

    1. Exactly what I'm saying. Culture in it's actuality isn't as shallow as the "culture" that's depicted.

    2. Present culture tries to force some rules into our mind and try to bring discipline. It should come naturally.

    3. Well I'm not sure about that. But I certainly know that "culture" promotes a lot of illogical, irrational ideas.

    4. In a larger view, YES.

      Someone's bitter past becomes the present culture.

  3. "Even in those cases, the man would look in a way where either the lady’d never realize or she would and would covertly relish the attention."

    "Still, you smiled back; you did secretly enjoy the attention, didn’t you? You still wondered why all men couldn’t be as chivalrous."
    1. I feel that the word "Attention" in your statements (or your friend's statements) seems to have a sexual connotation which is straightforwardly wrong. When a man compliments a girl for her looks, it means that person appreciates her beauty. (Note: I'm assuming that person is a well educated human being) And when a girl feels good about getting attention it means she feels happy about her beauty period!

    2. "My point of contention here is that all men are the same; we know it. We are comfortable with the more sophisticated ones for they never make us feel violated and unsafe."

    Are you telling me that a girl prefers to spend time with men who are a bit sophisticated dickheads for they never make the girl feel violated and unsafe even though they have same sick mentalities?

    No Miss, that's completely not true. Do Not Generalize!
    Let me tell you tell the profile of men you are talking about.

    - They come from a culture where women are not respected.
    - These men assume a hierarchy in which woman is at the lower level and this notion is so vigorously engraved in their minds that they can't imagine the other scenario.
    - These men generally fall in two categories: literates and illiterates.
    - Now when these men come out to a city where women have as much liberty as men, they get a cultural shock.
    - Literate ones try hard to get "educated" and if they succeed, they change their view points and add value to the society otherwise they remain backward and do stupid things.
    - Illiterate ones: there are higher chances of these people becoming psychotic and commit crimes you can't even think of.

    3. Yes, there is a need for a drastic change in the mindset of people. People have to throw away the blanket of hypocrisy.
    Mr/Miss Anonymous is very correct in pointing out that historically Indian culture was very different from what it is today. Sex was considered to be scared then, that's why all the paintings, kamasutra etc. After the interaction with Christianity and Islam, Indian culture changed drastically especially with issues like sex.

    1. 1. Yes a woman can simply be appreciated for her beauty. In a completely non-sexual genuine way. I did not say that every time a woman is complimented it has to have a sexual connotation. But are you telling me that that's always the case? And from the examples I've given you, I'm not talking about beauty, have another look. I'm talking about when a woman is referred to as "hot". They can be different things. Are you saying that this one doesn't have a slight sexual idea with it, at least most of the time? I'm simply saying that on receiving such a compliment, a woman quite knows (maybe subconsciously) that she's been checked out, but is okay with it when it isn't out in the air.

      2. Yes. Only the word 'dickheads' never comes into the picture cause these men are sophisticated enough to never show it. And I'd say "dickhead" is too strong a word to use here. Note that I've not given a negative connotation to such men. I did not call them bad. I did not talk about if it was right or wrong. You've assumed the same.

      And I do not agree with your list of points. A man being attracted to or checking out or hitting on a woman are natural things. One doesn't need to be illiterate or doesn't have to disrespect women to do these.
      You've added a negative idea to these things and that has gotten you all defensive.

      3. I'm not sure about what has gotten us here. So I won't comment on that. But I know that in a lot of ways, as the world around us changes, one has to adapt oneself and ones principles accordingly. Even our long ago's culture may not be applicable the way it is, it has to understood in depth and then applied to the present. Shallow understanding and ignorant preaching of the same have caused a lot of irrational stupid ideas to float around as 'our culture'.
      But I can't help notice that 'our culture' is always associated to the history of hinduism. Just an observation.

    2. So it basically means:

      1. Girls are hypocritical.
      2. The word "dickhead" was deliberately used to show in what direction exactly your statements are pointing to.

      And I'd say "dickhead" is too strong a word to use here. Note that I've not given a negative connotation to such men. I did not call them bad.

      Why you don't call them bad? As you said:

      ...these men are sophisticated enough to never show it.

      So it means these men are hypocritical and if so, then they ARE bad (no need to assume).

      Yes, I apologize for generalization or for that matter for even mentioning literate and illiterate.

      A man being attracted to or checking out or hitting on a woman are natural things.

      No, only the attraction is the natural thing. Attraction is the stimulus but "Checking out" or "Hitting on a woman" are the responses and men are provided with brains to decide response to a stimulus. So basically, it boils to what kind of brain a man carries.

      3. Ah, 'our culture' is like spaghetti, no need to talk about it.

      Solution: Throw the blanket of hypocrisy away. Our society is full of ‘sophisticated’ people. Let’s hope that they will stop being ‘sophisticated’ and decide to be genuine.

    3. 1. Girls are not hypocritical. They are fine as long as they feel safe.

      2. I agree with you when you say " "Checking out" or "Hitting on a woman" are the responses ". Yes attraction is the natural and 'checking out' is a decision made consciously.
      The sophistication is simply a cover to shroud the 'checking out' and a woman doesn't feel violated/unsafe/scared in the process. I don't call this bad cause I don't know for sure if the 'checking out' itself is bad. May be it is, I don't know. I do not have an opinion there. That's an opinion that's urs. So I do not imply that this is bad. I'm not saying it's good. I'm not talking about good/bad at all.
      So if you think that a man checking out a woman is something bad, then yes, you can call him a dickhead. But that's not something you can infer from my words cause I do not imply that.
      I'm simply stating this in a matter of fact way without judging the men in the picture.

      3.I do not get what spaghetti implies here.
      'Let’s hope that they will stop being ‘sophisticated’ and decide to be genuine.' Now what does that mean? Men who want to look should simply stare/comment even if that makes a woman wanna run away?
      Or are you saying men shouldn't want to look? In that case, it's not the 'sophistication' that's the problem.

    4. I don't get your point, on the whole.

    5. Sorry for the confusion. My whole point is: People should not be hypocritical about issues like sex, GLBT, pre-martial sex, live-in relationships etc.

      "Men who want to look should simply stare/comment even if that makes a woman wanna run away?"
      "men shouldn't want to look?"

      No, you got me all wrong. By being genuine, I dint imply any of these. Our reactions depend either on our instinct or reasoning. Animals are programmed to react based on the instinct but humans have the liberty to reason and this reasoning depends on our views. I'm talking about hypocrisy related to these core views. So if people are genuine with regard to their views, then either they would be condemned (Asaram Bapu, Abhijeet Mukerjeet etc.) for their sick mentalities (and hence discouraged) or we'll get a society with healthy mentality, period.

    6. I kinda get what you're saying.
      I don't agree with the "men shud simply stare" part. There is a woman he's staring at, she might or might not want to be stared at. Surely she doesn't want to feel intimidated.

      Staring openly just to show the world what u do and not hide it - I dunno if that's okay.

      I think not intimidating the woman, making the woman feel safe, not making her feel violated are important for a woman to be able to live comfortably.

    7. Oh no, I never said "men should simply stare". Staring comes from desperation and it is not what i meant by being genuine.
      Let me reiterate, I'm talking about hypocrisy related to the issues I mentioned above plus any other view which assumes that women are below men. In fact, these are the reasons why a man thinks that he "can" stare at a woman (and hence making her feel uncomfortable) in the first place.

      Also, I'm in complete agreement with you. Yes, making a woman feel safe is very important for a woman to be able to live comfortably.

    8. I'm against hypocrisy too.
      Let's hope for a nicer and safer world! Thanks for reading. And for the new perspectives.

  4. Ashwini, points are true, as u said, let us dream of a day where ppl are safe in their thoughts and deeds, and as opined, let it happen slowly and let us hope, the coming generation will have the blissful life safe and secure than us....

    1. Yeah JVK, let's hope earnestly.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  5. 2) It is not only men,even women do that.It is everywhere.Don't women check out guys too? Don't women 'rate' men? Objectifying is common to both genders.

    3) Porn is just two/more fucking around.Everyone is objectified.Both men and women.And Women watch porn too.Please....

    4) Men in bars.What do you think girls are doing by going along with those men and getting free drinks?

    5) Don't girls drool over a 6 packed Hrithik Roshan? Isn't that the same?It is ok if girls say Ranbir is hot shirtless?

    6) 'Men aren't the same everywhere'.NO.Stop generalizing.The lungi guys were very indecent,arrogant in their approach.They yelled out 'Item da' just so you could hear it and could get harassed.A guy can be very decent in his/her approach and can ask you out on a date.
    These men aren't the same.If you mean they are 'same' because men all over the world 'check out'.Yes,true,It has been proven scientifically that genders of species get attracted to each other.But it is how they deal with their attraction which matters.

    Please do not generalize.This is just like saying all women are sluts.
    Sure,I check out women.But I view them as more than 'items' and I do not harass women.

    1. I don't get why you're getting all offensive. You're saying quite the same as what I said.

      Note that
      *I did not say checking out is wrong.
      *I said the attraction is natural.

      2)Yes women check men out just like men check women out. The former happens relatively less, but that's irrelevant here. Yes men are objects of sex too, in a smaller way though. I agree with you hundred percent. I didn't talk about this stuff simply cause this topic arises from the huge hungama about women's safety. I disagree with women who say 'women re not objects of sex'. I never talked about men here.
      If I did, I 've said what you did, I agree.

      3) Women watch porn too (I even mentioned it in the article)
      Again you aren't contradicting me. I never said porn doesn't objectify men, I just did not talk about men. I agree, Porn objectifies men too, in a way. Again, it objectifies a woman more. Also, a man watches much more than a woman does, on average. And surely more men watch porn than women do. For porn, a man more of a customer than a woman. That quite shows that a woman is objectified more than a man is. For this I do not blame men, nor am I saying women are any better. A man probably has more needs than a woman, sexually. This is natural, I think. (Again this is irrelevant as my article just does not talk about objectification of men)
      Again, you aren't contradicting me. You're saying something I agree with but haven't talked about in my article.

      4)You're saying the same thing I m saying. Women enjoy a man's attention. Women also seek attention sometimes.
      I never said that it's wrong for a man to hit on a girl. You've assumed that. The point of my article is not to blame men, but to say it's all natural. My point is to say that women saying 'dont objectify us, is crap'.

      5)Again, I agree. You aren't contradicting me. I did not talk about this.

      6)I said men are the same only in that they all check out. Not in any other way. There might be many men who don't, so that's a generalization I made (guilty). I did not say they are same in every way. I pointed out clearly that the road side ones are NOT sophisticated and we women like the sophistication.
      I agree it is natural, I've said so too.

      Seriously, either you've made assumptions or you didn't get what I said. Cause you're saying the same thing I'm saying.

      I'm not talking about right or wrong at all. I'm simply saying we women shud think before we say 'we arent objects' We've let ourselves be.
      I'm comfortable with the sophistication myself, like any other woman. I can't stand the road-side thing simply cause it makes me feel unsafe.
      Yes, porn/movies/people objectify men too, in a smaller way cause men are not always associated with good looks and cause women have relatively less needs sexually.

      Sorry if there wasn't clarity in my article. I hope the comment answers your questions.


I'd love to know what you think! :)