Published first on August 30, 2007
The brain stews some ingredients
When the time is right, the aroma emerges…
Thoughts are like passing clouds…
It strikes me that respect is a rare feeling amongst people.
The way men look at women…I mean both perspective and actually looking…
It has always bothered me that everyone seems to accept this.
‘That’s the way it is’
Language is full of patriarchal references.
Chivalry is a polite mockery that most people neither understand nor intend.
Well, one can perhaps accept a generalisation that women aren’t as muscular as men and that they are far more organised and good at seeing things through than men, be it at home with children, or in 10th grade where every year, ‘girls outshine boys’. But somehow, these qualities are never taken seriously. When an intelligent woman states that she is could be more capable of ruling this world than many a silly man, she is termed a feminist and dismissed.
But I digress.
Language. I tend to read into language and the hidden connotations of some striking words. I was examining ‘chick’ the other day. Firstly it sounds as if the woman is some bird brained silly object, then to my great joy I discovered that its roots were in Europe: ‘chica’ and I associated it with the Spanish ‘chiquita’.
Both these words suggest fragility and soft innocence. Perhaps when the ‘lady feels demure and shy’ this would be an appropriate personal endearment.
But how is it used? ‘Hey dude! Check out that chick! Is she hot or what…’
That’s nice. Full of respect, isn’t it.
This usage reduces a woman from an individual to her appearance.
[…………………………………………….And one can safely say that when a girl ‘checks out a guy’ (as is supposed to be natural), she wouldn’t so vehemently die for him on the spot! Of course it differs from girl to girl but they are definitely more likely to call the men they’re in love with, unbearably attractive, not the any-many guy they see.
(As a disclaimer, not all men are open about their finding a woman attractive, but none of them will deny that their eyes roam a lot more.) ………………………………………………………………………]
Babe is another such word.
Anyone who has the guts to call me either one, wishes to burn in hell. More than being liked, I need respect. Respect me and hate me and I’ll still respect you and even love you as a living thing as I do everything else. The moment I’m disrespected, the guilty becomes beneath my dignity to associate with, egoistic as that may sound.
But by respect I don’t mean the ‘Good morning ma’am’ crap. (That’s just formality that some people are taught to expect.) I mean the dignity of being a person as a whole. One who has feelings, brains, idiosyncrasies and strength of character apart from a physical manifestation of a body.
If only I could disappear so that others would give more importance to the invisible. Many times I wish I were a tree or a bird just to escape the looks and comments I receive. To be so far removed from anything human and male… I wonder whether anyone talks of trees and birds with the kind of derogation they attribute to women.
Perhaps, and people will say so, I take this all too seriously. Perhaps its just part of being young. But if the young don’t respect each other, how on earth will grown ups? We do grow into them you know. And with age only comes more filth and corruption into the mind. It’s pretty obvious that only intellectual understanding of many things sometimes occurs with time. But it remains conceptual. Habits are formed. And one finds it too difficult to change one’s ways after a point.
So what can I do, since I can’t disappear, nor become a tree or bird…I had fantasies of a soft blue cotton burkha to wear in public, when I feel reduced or threatened. When it is forced on women as a culture, perhaps it reduces them, but if it’s a choice I make, am I reducing myself?
My mind wandered…I’ll go monk! Shave off all my beautiful hair and really prove my point. Wear only one colour, blue (because I like it) and lead a simple life. Or move to the forest! (I would love that:)) Run away from man-kind…
Escapism or protecting myself?
Well, these thoughts I had yesterday. I wore the baggiest t-shirt my brother had, and his pants, hid my hair under a scarf and a clip and made my way to college. Apart from those who I’d shared my thoughts with, everyone else thought it was a style statement! Only those who knew, used word like…’ridiculous’, ‘weird’, and ‘crazy’. But it was directed probably more at my intentions than at my actual clothes.
One of them pointed out that this change is only going to draw more attention to me than to my character and serve no purpose ultimately. Good point. He added that if a generally expressive person, to become one with the crowd, quietens suddenly, that too would draw more attention than his/her usual behaviour.
But perhaps today was only ‘first day symptoms’. They will hopefully come around to accepting this change as normal, and stop noticing it. Then my purpose will be achieved…for then, no one will Ever refer to me, in baggy clothes as a chick or a babe! Instead, perhaps as ‘weird’ but I don’t mind being called something I perhaps already am.
This move if I continue with it, contradicts what I myself keep saying; why should a woman change her ways to accommodate the faults in a man’s (Ok lets stop attacking men. Not all of them deserve this.) Society’s outlook?
Again the answer perhaps lies in the difference between the way of dressing as a rule laid down by a college and a personal choice. But am I reducing myself? Or protecting myself? Or letting ‘what others think affect me’ bother me though I usually dismiss it?
Let the questions wander and float. When the time comes the stew of thought will be ready and the aroma will rise again.
Post Script: After much thought, I decided that if ‘cute chick’ all one sees in a woman like me, it reflects only on their shallow, petty mind. To hell with them. I’m just me.