My Sins against Gender Stereotypes

Posted on July 7, 2010. Filed under: Feminism, Politics |


I had vowed never to write politically charged  and controversial stuff in this space.  However, Nandini tagged me in one of her blog posts and I had to comply. Who is Nandini? She is a firebrand blogger/writer who writes unabashedly about feminism. She is also a mother of a delightful little baby and she is beautiful.  A feminist, a mom and beautiful? These words do not go hand in hand, but Nandini sorta makes them.  Also, Nandini is a famous blogger whom I have met in person! Yay for me.

Here goes the list of my wrong doings –

1. I did all my work myself in Engineering College and during MS. Somehow, I did/do not have the so called ‘feminine allure’ to get things done from boys.  I know a girl who cried (crocodile tears) during a viva to get a passing grade.

2. I detest Mini Coopers and other girly cars. If someone gave me enough money, I would buy myself a Mitsubishi Eclipse.

3. I do not believe in the patriarchal form of society observed in most parts of India. I live in the US, I get to visit India only once a year for 3 weeks. Now, since I am married, I am supposed to spend majority of that time with my in laws and not my own parents?

4. I do not wear mangalsutra. This is not to make a statement. I do not believe that wearing or not wearing a meaningless piece of gold can make any sort of a statement. It is because I hate wearing ornaments on a daily basis.  Once while jogging, the darn heavy pendant of the mangalsutra jumped and pricked my eye.  Other time, I was cooking, and this darn metallic thing became so darn hot that it scalded me. Since then, bye bye mangalsutra!

5. I kick butt in video games. Ok that is a lie! #win beats me in every one of those. But I love playing them all the same. #win was shocked to hear that I have played ‘violent’ games such as Doom and Wolf in my childhood.

6. I love ‘macho’ movies. Given the choice between The Dark Knight and 27 dresses, I would rather watch the first over and over again. I loved DDLJ and Love Actually, but I also loved Fight Club and Matrix. Animated movies bore me!

7.  I haul stuff. Recently, #win and I moved from one apartment to another. I did not shy away from picking a darned heavy chest of drawers, a ginormous mattress and a humongous dining table.  Women, you are so not the ‘weaker’ sex, and don’t you dare make excuses about your ‘weakness’.  Have any of you ever said, “Oh, I cannot do that, I have got period cramps.” That don’t fly with me sister. I will respect you much more if you say, “I am too lazy to do that now!”

8. I dress up for myself and for my girl friends. With my husband, I wear my most comfy pair of peejays. #win’s views about fashion are quite socialist-communist. He thinks that the entire world should wear the same attire – a silver  space suit with a green V in the front. According to #win, this solution will also eliminate the negative image women have about their bodies.

9. I drive. I know many girls who do. I also know many girls who do not. I do not mean to be judgemental, but I for one, do not like to be chauffeured around and do not like to be dependent on someone else for all my comings and goings.

10. I do not believe that marriage is the be all and end all in a girl’s life. I also know that loneliness is bitter and I hope that all of you, find the one to grow old with. I also believe that you need not go through a humiliating process to find a match for you. I know many girls who started going to the gym, because their alliances said that they are too fat.  I believe that you should work on your fitness for your own well – being and not for Mr. XYZ who may or may not be Mr. Right.

The first 10 people who comment are tagged!

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32 Responses to “My Sins against Gender Stereotypes”

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Good post,……. Me thinks the same,…. No wonder we are best friends,… haha 🙂

Well, Except for the mangalsutra and “marraige” parts,…… for obvious reasons,…. “not married yet”,… 😀
But if I was, I would think the same too 🙂

Haha, your turn will come soon, and then you will have the same discussions I guess 😀 You would think that most girls think like us, but I think that is not the case.

“3. I do not believe in the patriarchal form of society observed in most parts of India.”

and

“10. I do not believe that marriage is the be all and end all in a girl’s life.”

These two make us Sisters in Sin. I fell the reason why women are treated so badly in India is because it’s a patriarchy.

It’s not that boys are loved more, but at least they are kept in good health and their lives are valued, because they are seen as a pension plan for the parents.

A large number of problems would disappear if all the children were living in their own homes – not in the house of the male spouse’s family. I find it amazing that something so outrageous biased and discriminatory has been going on and the forms of protest seen are suicides – which are seen as a blot not the system, but the family honor.

Baby girls are killed, newly weds commit suicide, teenagers are killed for being victims of sexual crimes, street sexual harassment stops girls from getting education, most public facilities, most career opportunities etc are meant for men because women aught to stay at home and take care of their families. Long comment… your post was very thought provoking.

You are invited to join other sinners at SAGS on facebook, or atleast leave a link to your confessions for other sinners to read 😛

Thanks for your comment IHM. I agree with you, discrimination starts at home. When a little girl sees that her brothers are treated better than her, she assumes that it is the reality of life. Even my parents, though more progressive than most others, have tried to teach me that girls are anyways ‘paraya dhan’. Hopefully, the next generation will do a better job at taking care of their daughters!

Hey Tilottama,

I loved the way you’ve written this post. I completely agree with you about these issues. These issues you have dealt with are not restricted to feminism but are about gender equality and realistic expectations from young adults. Boys have to deal with some of this stuff too.

#3 – Just being the male of the family does not give you the ability to make all the big decisions in your family.

#5 – I hate playing video-games. I have never been able to love playing games like Quake 3, NFS, etc. There is a whole world of people out there ready to shame you if your girl plays better than you. Sad.

#6 – I love macho movies. Kill Bill 1&2, Matrix, Satya (Hindi) are my favorites but I love Sex and the City, Devil wears Prada and other supposedly “girly” movies. Its a pity that people don’t see that sometimes these movies have very interesting storylines (not SATC 2 though).

#7 – I haul stuff too but I hate being the designated coolie. When I was in Manila last year, Iwas amazed to see women work at nights, pick up chairs and tables in restaurants, and work as security staff (carying handguns too!). I hate it when I hear of wives waiting for their husbands to come home to have dinner. Women sometimes eat after the men, sometimes too little and the women of the house consider themselves responsible to finish of left over food from dinner as their breakfast. And please don’t tell me that this is restricted to the poor.

#9 – I don’t drive. I know girls who do and that’s great. I just don’t like to see people’s shocked faces when they find out that I cannot drive.

And of course #10 – Why the hell do I need to make XXX amount of money to marry? and what is “right and proper” industry to be in? Bankers are always fantastic, but if you work for a Outsourcing company that does the same work, that’s uncool. You have to have a car to improve your prospects, it doesn’t matter how bad the roads India are or even if you had to take a ridiculously prices auto or personal loan to buy it. If a girl wants a car after marriage, why can’t she buy her own car? What is this fascination with your husband buying your jewelry, car and a cell phone? I have seen a few husbands feel low during Diwali ‘cos their wives just want to flaunt the Diwali gift. People actually take personal loans to buy jewelry for their wives. Ridiculous. Gold was supposed to be an instrument of saving and investment, not a liability.

Ok, I’m done rambling. Thanks for reading.

I 100% agree, Akshay! But I guess your problems and mine are related. Since, women are considered to be the weaker sex, the men are supposed to be the providers – the alpha males if you will. So, somethings are considered macho and others are ‘effeminate’. If women in India, are educated and taught to share equally in the burdens of providing and taking responsibility for the entire family, then guys would see some pressure disappearing from their shoulders.

I have had similar experiences like yours in Philippines. In US, I see women cops holding guns and other women working for a living with equal panache. Whereas, in India, some women get their vegetables to peel in their offices.

This is an awesome post! 🙂 Off to link this in my blog… unless my internet connection goes on the blink again, grr.

Thank you for the lovely compliments. I’m actually thinking I need to do a post about all the ways in which I’m girly, too!

Thanks Nandini! Please make that dumbass Sucharita write!

Minicooper is not a girly car. Its a hep car even for guys. Beatles is a girly car!

Also, I think doing your home work in engineering has got to do more with integrity than other qualities. I knew couple of guys who would get some of their work done from other guys by offering beer or some other gift in return. Looks like what some of your classmates offered to their male counterparts was just a tease or emotional drama.

If you haul stuff, I salute you for that!

I didnt mean to belittle your classmates. All I am saying is they traded their homework for the tease just like how some guys traded their homework for beer. But doing it yourself shows integrity!

I agree that many girls and boys resort to tactics to shirk work in engineering colleges. If we say so, we are just calling spade a spade and not belittling them. So no harm done 🙂

Ha ha! Despite the danger of being tagged (since this would be part of the first 10 comments), I think this post is really good! The girl/guy differences are a lot less apparent in US than in India. I know of women who can’t even travel somewhere alone in India and need their dads/husbands/brothers to come along. And I do like the idea of same attire! At least that would remove the confusion of what to wear to office every day 😀

I agree with you Harini! And uniforms for the whole world would make life easier but less interesting 😉

I have been going thru’ the links on FB, and found yours there. A list that finds resonance with a lot of things I feel rather deeply about!

Nice Read 🙂

Thanks Usha! We do have some common points 🙂

geez…too much for me. But who’s the girl with crocodile tears? I would have done it too! if I cud have passed. I’m good at tears.

Easily guessable!

Well you read my mind..this is pure awesomeness!..and trust me i find it hard to believe that girls can/should be anything but this.Good one.

I know Tanush! But many girls are different from us, and we have seen living examples of them 😐

ha ha !! Good read !! =D ..

Hahaha..lol!

Interesting post and some interesting comments as well.
I agree with Tilottama on this topic but the fact of the matter remains that people like us are outnumbered 1000:1 or more in India. Recently Navin Jindal scion of Jindal Industries voiced his support to Khap panchayats operating in Haryana. If this is the thought process of India’s elite class then God help women attain equal status in Indian society.
For more about diktats of Khap panchayats use Google.

agree with 1,2,3,7,8,10

Cannot drive, shall learn!
No video games, no movies!
Nice one Tilo…..

Thanks for the comments Varsha! My point was that, it is utmost important to be comfortable in your own skin. I loved video games right from the days of DOS, so I never was a girly girl in that respect

Great stuff!!!! 🙂 esp loved the part about the uniforms!!! Hehe! no thanks though,silver space suits would be mighty uncomfortable! 😛

Yea they would be damn uncomfortable for one!

aahh…i like the last one… make some1 ead it… lol

OMG…this is so me…except the mini cooper bit…as I know its a racing car and its body:engine ratio is 1:5 :)…..way 2 go gal

Thanks Mitali! I am surprised though, that you and I have so much in common then 🙂

Wow! Inspiration! 😛 🙂


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