My favorite Naipaul story has sexist undertones. My mother doesn’t like me arguing when my father is driving. This is not because that’d distract him. She just doesn’t like it. She usually changes the subject or turn silent when I argue. Or she looks here and there. When I ask why, she wouldn’t answer, or say that she knows I’m wrong. Women hate arguments. Usually, when their husbands debate me on some abstract topic, women ask them to stop. They won’t say this, but they see debates as a sign of conflict. It took me so many years to see this. Continue Reading
A Guest Post by Nosheen Kapoor
Shame is a very powerful emotion. It is a pity that it is not universal. Yes, this emotion, the first cousin of guilt, is bred in women long before they become women and is discouraged in men long before they become men. Ever heard of a man ashamed of his ‘manhood’? Every man learns to outgrow this emotion as he grows more manly, yet every women is conditioned to deem her being as a temple of shame and honor.
Perhaps this is the reason why even in this apparently progressive age, rape is still an unapologetic act of manly grandeur rather than a recognized cultural crime. It may be illegal to rape but surely it isn’t unmanly to do so. In fact, rape is one crime where the victim undergoes a lifelong trial and the criminal a temporary one all because of the politics of shame and our cultural aversion to the idea of sexually active women. A man’s sexuality is to be celebrated and satiated too but a women’s sexuality is to be hushed and repressed. Continue Reading
If the word helplessness has ever had any definite meaning to me, it meant waking up at midnight, insisting that I want to sleep with my young aunt. I still remember the confusion, and helplessness. To me, happiness meant being allowed to sleep with her. Children take delight in such petty vices. My mother knew this. When I grew up, one day I would talk to my class teacher in baby class. She felt that even today, decades later, I speak the same way I spoke to her when I was three. Within us, there is a child that refuses to grow up.
Once, a young colleague wanted to know what the word “molestation” meant. When I said, “It is something which women face in the buses, trains and crowded roads. It is every man’s fantasy. But, I would never attempt that because I value my life, reputation and health very highly.” she screamed her empty heads off that I have destroyed the reputation of South Indians. Continue Reading