12/25/06

perspectives, part 1

This blog has largely been a feminist blog, and most of my posts have been about women’s issues and so on and so forth. This is in all probability the first post I have written where I have stolidly picked apart women. Or certain kinds of desi women who go to phoren lands to study. The operative words here being certain kinds of desi women, not all.

I write this post principally from personal experiences and I have been distressed and befuddled by the attitudes I have individualized in this post. I have piteously been on the receiving end of such behavior time and time again and I am quite plainly, sick of it. I have racked my brains as to why these women behave in the way they do and I know that it stems from a deep seated fear of something. Fear of what exactly? I don’t know. But I sure as hell want to find out. And I refuse to stomach retarded comments from random self appointed bastions of all things feminism AKA pompous dipshits, along the lines of “you have violated the cardinal rules of feminism and you must be such a hoebag blah blah”. I had to act on an overpowering urge to vent and get this out of my system. If I don’t do that I am not being honest with myself and I cannot function without being honest with myself. So there.

And men are SO NOT off the hook. I am making this a series and the next post will be solely reserved for the men. You didn’t think I’d write about insidious desi attitudes and NOT dedicate a post (or posts) to the men, did you?

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

Dear desi-woman-from-the-motherland,

I respect the fact that you have taken the trouble to come to a phoren land to study. I know it must have been a trifle hard to break away from the extremely cloistered or at least pampered-to-an-extent (I assume) type of environment you must have come from in India.

I try to understand you. I really do. But try as I might I cannot fathom the complexities of your ever varied personalities, and most importantly your determination in squishing your real self into the bowels of your being and not letting it out even if your whole life depended on it. Why is that? Why is it that you work so hard at maintaining such terrific levels of hypocrisy with all your peers, even the ones who genuinely care for you and want to understand you? Does this stem from a nameless fear of not being accepted by other desi folk? Or is it a fear of not being looked upon as a so called good, pure, traditional desi woman? Do you seriously think that if you actually stand up for yourself, somehow, somewhere in our ever pervasive desi society (cough), you will be considered fallen?

So what I am going to do is to try and deconstruct you. I am going to try and pick at your idiosyncrasies with as much effort as I can muster. I may be wrong, but I will plough on anyway. And yes, no hard feelings. Snort.

1. It is time to stop dressing like a homeless dirtbag. I don’t know where you get your fashion choices from but I do know that wearing clothes your OWN damn size is NOT a fashion choice. That’s basic eye to brain co-ordination. Which you woefully DON’T seem to have the grasp of. And please tell me why do you possess this pervasive urge to shop for winter wear in the men’s department? Do you think that women enjoy the soothing effects of frostbite? Don’t you think that women want to keep themselves warm too? Open your eyes and look for the women’s department in a clothing store, for the love of god.

2. Yes, I know you like to have guy friends. Everyone does. And I totally respect that. But I am astounded at the sheer amount of travails you put yourself through to keep them. Like cooking for a bunch of drunken guys at 4 A.M. Or preparing food for 50 desi guys for one of your male friend’s parties which you are NOT INVITED to, because of some fuckwit reason like oh guys drink and stuff and what place does a girl have there. Or going to their apartments and cleaning it for them/doing their laundry/doing their dishes. Or buying stuff for your guy friends every single time you go shopping for yourself even when they evidently don’t reciprocate your generosity. Well, I’ll stop here, you must get the picture. So my all encompassing question is, w.h.y? Why this slavish pandering?

3. Everyone has their own set of principles. Hell, I do too! But if your ‘principles’ are based solely on what desi guys will supposedly think, then you have a behemothic problem. That crap about how it’s not lady like to say you need to go to the restroom when you are with desi guys because oh-they-don’t-like-that and you might as well wait for your bladder to fusillade, is utter and banal horseshit. Please woman, grow a backbone and empty your bladder already.*

4. Is it really necessary to call at least five of your guy friends to join you for every single unimportant activity? Is one bag of potatoes really that heavy? Can’t you carry a gallon of milk and a few other things by yourself? If you really are so frail as to break a bone while carrying a bag of onions or whatever, why can’t you call one of your roommates? Surely between you and your roommate, you could manage a bag of onions just fine. And why do you possess this perplexing fear of walking alone? Surely you must have walked alone in India. I really don’t think that you will get mugged, shot at, or raped while walking one measly block from your department building to your apartment complex. And even if you do possess a vague fear of walking alone, do you really need a battalion of desi men to escort you home? Really? Do you? Or is there something beneath the surface that I am missing?

5. You love to let loose your vast reserves of knowledge on sati savithiri-ism and unsullied chastity-ism to your unsuspecting minions (ahem). I can perceive that. But why do you try to force your ‘tips’ on people who are utterly disinterested in the way you function? I did not ask for you to advice me on how I should behave in front of desi guys in order for them to WANT to be friends with me. I abhor the fact that you are immensely judgmental and nitpicky about every single action of mine, while all I do is try to ignore your silliness and your foolish pandering to your desi guy friends. I will not listen to one more tedious sermon on how ‘Indian women should not swear/wear low rise jeans/wear sleeve-less clothing/laugh loudly/insert other horseshit here as they will be called whores otherwise’ or ‘how drinking is a veritable sin against humankind and it is so NOT lady like and the desi guys will spit on you if they found out’ while it is completely A-ok and fine for you to surreptitiously smoke in the restroom or drink furtively within the four walls of your own apartment, while constantly complaining that it’s because of people like me that you have fallen from your lofty pedestal of virtuousness. Please, get the fuck over it and enjoy yourself already.

6. Lesson time. Let’s see, what’s one of the most cardinal tenets of dating 101? DON’T introduce your boyfriend or the guy you have been briefly dating as your cousin, your brother, your rakhi brother (har har I can SO see through that one) or any other relative related to you by blood or otherwise. Why do you actively indulge in this fucking creepfest? It is utterly repugnant and nauseating that you would rather call the guy whose throat you have been sticking your tongue into, your fucking brother, instead of admitting that you have.been.dating. Oh wait, your name and your p-u-r-i-t-y in the university’s desi community will be tarnished, and isn’t that your whole purpose of existence? How daft of me, to not comprehend the bigger picture. Tsk tsk.

Addendum: This post is based on eye witness accounts (mine and many others), real experiences, being at the receiving end of countless culture and purity sermons, fights, many a late night conversation, prudery on several levels, perversion and double standards.

[Deep breath]

And I’m done.

And now you must head over to Jupe's blog for her take on the desi men.

You m-u-s-t.

* This was an actual incident. Really.

---X---

B.a.c.k.

Yello people!

After exiling myself from the trappings of modern living for over a week, it feels good to unabashedly admit that I am addicted to every aspect of technology. Woo!

Didja have a great holiday?