Who said to whom?

Posted on August 31, 2010. Filed under: Essay | Tags: , , , |

Below, we have excerpts from three conversations, each between two individuals. Let us call the first pair A and B, the second C and D and the last E and F. (Yes, highly imaginative names!).  Anyways, here goes!

A saying to B:

“You know the way he cooks potatoes. He does not peel them. Just dices them as is and puts them in the pan. At home, we don’t make them that way. We peel them carefully first ..” (What A meant: The potato peeler and thus his family are so stingy that to save a few slivers of potatoes, they don’t peel them and A’s family does not worry about such trivial details.)

C saying to D (D was soon to be married):

“So, (in your wedding) wearing a pure silk madisar and all huh?” (madisar a traditional nine yard saree worn by the bride in a Tamil wedding.) (What C meant: Apparently a pure silk madisar is the sign of great affluence. So, C wanted to find out if D’s in-laws/parents are rich enough to buy her one.)

E saying to F:

“Oh this t-shirt that you are wearing, is it new? I’ve never seen you wear it before. Did you buy it from Bebe?” (E asked me this, because the t-shirt that I was wearing had the graphic of sparkly stuff on its front, common to many Bebe t-shirts)

Now comes the question. What are the genders of A, C and E?

I am sure if you had to guess,

  • A would be a lady in her 20s-30s, probably dishing out the typical invective against in-laws.
  • C would be probably be in her 20s again, jealous of the ‘alleged’ affluence of D.
  • E would be one of F’s girl friends keenly observing F’s daily attire and drawing surmises.

What would you say, if I were to tell you all the above guesses are WRONG! Yes indeed they are all wrong.

B, D and F are one and the same person, and that person is me. That was easy enough. A, C and E also refer to the same person, but it is not a She. It is a He!  He is my age (late 20s). He is educated, works for a highly respectable software firm in the USA. He is not a figment of my imagination but is someone I know personally. The potato peeler in the first conversation was his roommate. All these are true conversations between the two of us.

So why were none of us able to hazard the right answer? It is because of the society we live in and because we are so tightly wound up in prejudices. A woman only talks about fashion, petty gossip and always is jealous. A man only talks about his accomplishments at work, trekking, gadgets and cars.  A person’s being spiteful, hysterical, gossipy, competent is not related to his or her gender or race or sexual orientation!

None of these stereotypes hold true today. Alas, we the people, are still wound up in them as before!

PS: So since I blogged this, many of my friends (needless to say male) are asking me if I have decided to take up activism to build a political career.  1 post about gender equality is enough to qualify me as a pot throwing, belan toting, man eating activist. Jeez!

PPS: Inspired by this post from IHM.

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