Take It Easy

Came across this video – ‘Always #LikeAGirl.’ Loved it. Thought of sharing it here. It’s been viewed over thirteen million times and has gone viral. The makers of the video say,”Boys and girls are told different things growing up, but the overriding message is clear: ideological masculinity is to be aimed for, and ideological femininity (AKA acting ‘like a girl’) is to be avoided at all costs.” This is exactly why a video like this is important. It shouts out loud that the words ,”Like a Girl” are not an insult because being a girl is not an insult in the first place. High time people get that.

Interesting thing is that just when i was wondering if i could somehow access another video , made with the same sentiment but with respect to boys, i found another one entitled – ‘The Mask You Live In.’ This video makes us ponder that are we as a society failing our boys since we put on them a lot of pressure to conform to a set standard , we call ‘masculinity. ‘Emotional stoicism ain’t good for them. When will we learn to just ‘let them be’ and not propagate a skewed definition of masculinity? If we need a better society to live in, we’ve got to start teaching our children better.

It’s good to make more videos like these . Videos that are a part of a social experiment and which fight the gender stereotype. I really appreciate individuals putting stuff like this out there for all of us to watch. Things like these make us realize that we should not be speaking, behaving or even feeling in a certain way just for validation from people. It puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on us.
It’s time we RESPECT THE DIFFERENCES between genders and then celebrate them.

C’mon people, spare a few minutes and WATCH these videos NOW.

Elliot Rodger – A Symptom Of A Society So Morally Warped

Last Week, a guy identified by the cops as Elliot Rodger – allegedly seeking ‘retribution’ against women whom he said, sexually rejected him, went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California. He shot six people dead and injured seven others who are now in the hospital with severe gunshot injuries. Before the mass murder, 22-year-old Rodger uploaded several YouTube videos in which he is virulently ranting that he was a virgin and that beautiful women wouldn’t pay attention to him. The videos have now been removed by Google for violating YouTube’s guidelines that prohibit predatory behavior, stalking and threats. He also had written a 140 page long manifesto which the cops have recovered from his apartment. He titled it – ‘My Twisted World’ where his wish was to ‘“round up all the world’s women into concentration camps and exterminate them.” According to his folks, Rodger was seeking psychiatric treatment. Now to dismiss this as ‘only’ a case of a deranged, a lunatic or a ‘crazy’ man would be a mistake. It will gloss over the role that misogyny plays in a sexist society. After all, while it is unclear what role Rodger’s reportedly poor mental health played in the alleged crime, the role of misogyny is obvious.

Elliot Rodger was every bit the same as  other men who feel they have been ‘unfairly’ treated by women and are hence victims. They hold onto a sort of bitterness against society and women in particular (Irony is they never feel that maybe the rejection happens not because all women are bitches but because people like him try too hard to find validation from the opposite sex. They are needy. It doesn’t occur to them that their self worth cannot be associated with another person). These men are the same fellows who threaten women both online and in person with an excessively strong desire and need to control them. Men who feel that women owe them sexual gratification and submission. Sadly, they rack their brains out in aiming to do so and eventually ruin themselves. This is quite obvious in the Elliot Rodger case. When I was going through some of the videos which he had uploaded, it really bothered me that what is he scoffing that ‘evil’ laughter for? What was he thinking? Why so much disdain for humanity? The videos are extremely annoying. Besides the creepy grin, his reasoning and ranting was immature to the point of being obnoxious, and it is very sad that innocent people  have died at the hand of a spurned boy because they ‘did’ happen to have lives. How in the world did a 22 year old get the idea that society owes him anything? How did he expect that women will be available to him (as if women are dogs)?  And how did he feel that he “is the ultimate alpha male” to whom women must comply? In his last uploaded video, which he had named ‘The Retribution Video’, his thoughts are deplorable. Here are excerpts of what he has spoken there –

“…Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you. For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex and love to other men but never to me…You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime… You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true alpha male. (laughs) Yes. After I’ve annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I will take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. Well now I will be a god compared to you. You will all be animals. You are animals and I will slaughter you like animals. And I will be a god. If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.

It’s like he tried to put the entire blame of his wretchedness on the opposite sex and also on men who in his view were more attractive to women. Talking about wretchedness. Was he wretched and ‘deprived’ at all as he claims in his videos?His father, an assistant director on “The Hunger Games” bought him a black BMW 328i, worth about $40,000, regularly flew him wherever he wanted to go first class on Virgin Airlines, and paid for him to attend a “private” Katy Perry concert. Yet Rodger still posted videos online complaining about how ‘deprived ‘and ‘unfair’ his life was. Sad that he did not have any sense of gratitude for how privileged he was. It really is pathetic the frame of mind he was in since strangely enough the only thing that did not occur to him was to have a little more self esteem. It did not occur to him that maybe the reason of women distancing from him, in the first place was because of his own pettiness.

Elliot Rodger was reportedly involved with the online ‘men’s rights movement’ and said to have been following several men’s rights channels ( If only the Men’s Rights Movement was actually a movement for men’s rights and not for bashing and abusing women). The language Rodger used in his videos against women like referring to himself as an ‘alpha male’ is common rhetoric in such circles. The MRM is in direct conflict with Feminism (This became apparent when some of the MRM activists had hounded my blog after I wrote – Does the F Word Scare You?) The conflict stems from the basic tenet that Feminism propounds namely that a woman has the right to say NO. A man can never be entitled to a woman unless she has her consent. Misogynists are not loners. They are not created in isolation. They are products of a society which instead of providing solutions reinforces the patriarchal stereotypes even more. In Rodgers’ case the MRM activists have played a pathetic role and have now very conveniently distanced themselves from the massacre.

Elliot Rodgers was a victim of mental illness but that illness could have been cured. What was more dangerous and what could ultimately not be cured here was the social malaise that created him. Rodgers was envy writ large. The envy inside him killed him, that too in a manner where not many people will sympathize with him even after his death. In fact people will abhor him. H killed 6 innocent people. Hence destroyed 6 families.  His attitude is a a symptom of a culture, a society gone terribly wrong. A culture that condemns a woman to be a ‘slut’ , a ‘bitch’ if she turns down the advances of a man. A culture that gives a sense of entitlement to men like Rodger which is sickening. A culture that propagates that women owe men something. A culture that forces men to be defined by the number of sexual relationships they have had and a culture where not treating women with respect is okay. It shocks me to think that a 22 year old had lost all hope. If only he had realized in time that if he focused properly on himself, developing interests, and skills, and pursuing career ambitions, he would feel content with himself. He would have been comfortable in his own skin and would have not felt the need to be defined by a woman. After all one does not need to get into a girl’s pants to prove he is a man. All he needs is a little self worth which helps him to ‘not’ feel emasculated even if he doesn’t have women in his life and to ‘not’ be threatened if he has a woman in his life. How difficult is that to sink in?

I’d also like to add here that right after the homicide, Twitter started trending the hash tag  #YesAllWomen and some of the reactions , especially the ones coming from MRM forums are abominable as the crime itself.

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(Zoom the screen shot and read carefully) .

This kind of  reaction, a backlash happens when there exists in society some male voices that demand the female voices to be silenced. The voices that expects from women a , “look pretty and shut up” sort of an attitude. The voices that belong to a society where ,”I have  a boyfriend” somehow becomes more revered and respected than ‘”Don’t touch me.” A society where in the inside space of a club , men are expected to put their hands on women and women because of wearing makeup and dresses , are expected to feel flattered. A society that teaches how to not get raped than to not rape in the first place. All this makes me question that isn’t this a crime driven by a socially provoked mental state? Are we really that progressive a society or oppressed as ever, just shrouded behind Instagram filters and false shows of equality. I feel one would be foolish to think that gender equality exists and even bigger a fool to think that feminism is not as vital as it was a century ago. If we are unable to cater to the misogynist mindsets even after a case like Elliot Rodgers, then be prepared to face ‘murderphiles’ and hate crimes commited by them being reported in every part of the world in the near future. The only difference will be in the use of acids, knives and machetes instead of guns. Will hold true from the part of the world I come from.

P.S – Any MRM activist who wants to comment on my post is welcome ONLY if you can produce a rational argument. Abuse in any form will only make sure that your comment is shown its way to the spam folder!

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Elliot-Rodger

Photo Credits :

(http://www.google.co.in/imgres?imgurl=http://i.imgur.com/1ClO7Ho.png&imgrefurl=http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/88493445.html&h=706&w=492&tbnid=NT8FO8xrfaeAyM&zoom=1&tbnh=269&tbnw=187&usg=__hOBT4H9ojMp4NhSGEUygPNJzZ7I=

,http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/05/25/james-alan-fox-elliott-rodger-shooting/9568433/)

Because Of Them, WE CAN

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“I started to think about the individuals who pretty much paved the way, past and present. Thinking in that vein, I started to think, because of them, we can.”

– Eunique Jones Gibson

Photo Credits:

(http://www.xn--rectile-9xa.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BecauseOfThemWeCan11.jpg

,http://www.xn--rectile-9xa.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BecauseOfThemWeCan05.jpg

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Does The ‘F’ Word Scare You ?

” I’m a feminist  ” – These three words come across to a lot of people as some sort of a threat. A threat that will overpower men. A threat which will  prove fatal for the established structures of society. A threat that might just lead to the doom of humanity. High time, we clear the blurriness around the world’s most misconstrued and hated ‘F’ Word – Feminism. Feminism is not a threat. Its not a curse. It is indeed a blessing.

When you start speaking/writing about feminism, it’s like diving your nose into a cess pool of ignorant shit. That’s the best analogy I can give here. Most people on hearing the ‘F’ word assume that, to be a feminist is like ,“Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone.” .. or something along the lines of “So you’re a feminist. That means you hate men, right?” Pretty sure those people have no idea what feminism means. There are dozens of people who won’t identify as feminists, probably representing thousands upon thousands of other women (and men) who then won’t either. And they are just perpetuating the idea that being a feminist is a dirty thing to be… which, if you think about it, is probably the best example of why feminism is relevant. I don’t believe that anybody should be pressured into identifying with a group, movement or label. So don’t interpret this as me believing everybody has to identify with something or another. However, I think the problem we have here is that people aren’t identifying as “feminists” when they otherwise would because they don’t want to be associated with the dirty stigma, or rather, they don’t really know what it means to be a feminist. Just because people have demonstrated extreme actions before and identified with “feminists” does not mean that accounts for the concept in and of itself. Feminism, mind you is NOT a dirty word.

But first: what the hell is feminism, anyway? Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. You hear it – ‘of the sexes’ – not only of women. Many people who are diametrically opposed to the feminist movement believe that it is a ‘war between the sexes,’ and that feminists are campaigning for their rights at the expense of men’s rights. This is what has led to the rise of a ‘Men’s Rights Movement’ (which sadly is not a movement for equality but anti-woman). Feminism is not about hurting men, but about empowering women to be equal to them in all areas of society. Here’s the thing – Feminism is about gender equality. Feminism is “equalism”, which, by the way, isn’t a word. I think “humanist” is the one I’m are looking for. Feminism is about fighting for women to have the same rights and freedoms afforded to men. Feminists want equality, not supremacy. Hating men is a different thing altogether.  Ever heard the term misandrist? It’s like misogynist but for hating men instead of women (feel free to look it up in the dictionary). There’s a difference between “feminists” and “misandrists.”  Yes, ‘misandrist’ is a word people should despise , not feminism.  Feminism and misandry are, by nature, mutually exclusive. You can’t want gender equality on one hand and hate one of the genders on the other. That would make no sense at all. Humanism is the goal we are all striving for. Humanism is the dream.

Pat Robertson had famously said a very obnoxious thing in the 90s, which is – “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” Sadly, the sentiment still rings as true in the ears of many today.  It’s an understatement to say that feminism has a bad rap. It does, sadly though. Feminists don’t hate men. We hate patriarchy. People have got to understand that Feminism is not equal to hating men. Feminist doesn’t mean “ a person who hates men.”  Feminist means “ a person who believes people should have equitable places in society regardless of their gender.”  Some women claiming themselves to be feminists (who have got it all wrong by the way) may be misandrists. But it’s by no means a criterion to join the club. Though they’re not even that loud, but can seem so because the anti-feminists somehow like to cherry pick quotes and ignore the much greater number of feminist writings, people, and organizations that say otherwise.

Some individual females can hate men. It’s irrelevant. What is relevant and what matters is that feminism, distilled down to its absolute core, is about gender equity.  The goal of feminism is to create a society in which individuals’ genders don’t restrict them from an equitable shot at success and happiness. Most feminists actively disagree with the belief that women are better than men and think that feminists who are anti-men are going against the fundamental principles of feminism, which says we’re all deserving and worthy human beings – women, men, trans-genders everyone – and should be treated as such. So men-hating isn’t a part of that goal…Frankly speaking not an issue to be given any weightage.  It’s an unfortunate reactionary sentiment bought into by some people (misandrists) who also identify with the feminist movement.

The whole “feminists hate men” thing has been tossed around for quite a long time now.  It’s not new.  The first feminist women who began advocating for equal status of women in the US did so in the late 1700′s, but it didn’t really pick up steam until the late 1800′s. What crazy radical things were these feminists , you call them man-haters asking for, by the way?  Primarily, the rights to own property, to attend college, and to vote. In response to these requests, they were were labeled as anti-family, anti-God, anti-men radical hedonists.  That labeling has continued to today, because — surprise! — a group with a lot of power (men) tends to do whatever it can to maintain that power (dismiss equal rights as radical). Its not new. It’s happened with every oppressed ethnic group (from the Irish to the Africans) . It happened with oppressed religious groups (from the Catholics to the Muslims).  And it continues today with the oppressed gender group.

Most men aren’t bad ( I can proudly say that about my generation) but somehow think Feminism says they are. In actuality,  sexism is the problem — sexism that a lot of men engage in and a lot of women internalize. Men engage in sexism because they’ve been taught to behave/think that way.  Women internalize it for the same reason. Feminism asks both men and women to critically think about those normalized behavior and its impact, and holds people accountable to sexist thinking and behavior even if they didn’t initially realize it was sexist. So yes, it’s natural to get defensive when someone brings up feminist issues because it’s likely you never thought you were doing anything wrong.  Does that make sexist behavior acceptable?  No. That’s why we need to do a better job as a society to teach people how to treat each other with equity.  That’s what feminism is trying to do here.

Feminists are mothers, daughters, and all kinds of women who have wonderful relationships with men in their lives; however, feminists hate some behavior displayed by men who are misogynistic, who put women down, who believe that women are not equal beings, and who sexualize women. Feminists simply want to be treated equally and with respect. Feminists absolutely do not hate menThe statement is actually formulated to paint all feminists in one broad stroke, which is a shame. Feminism has historically come in different waves starting from the drive for voting rights. To put it simply: not all feminists believe exactly the same thing. It depends on the era they come from and the point of view they have developed. It’s a shame that some men feel intimidated by a woman demanding the right to pay equity and other rights. Asking for men to treat women fairly is not the same as hate.

Feminists simply want women to have an equal place and equal status in society. Feminists are normal beings. They get married, have children, and love the men in their lives. And to be honest, many wonderful feminists actually ARE MEN themselves. They clearly do not hate men. Feminism isn’t about hate. There are some feminists that hate men and those feminists have lost the point of feminism. Feminism by definition is about equality. You might argue that feminism is pointless in the first world, however inequality still does exist.  Women are still not always treated equal and the way I see it, anyone who believes in human rights and equality, is a feminist. Both men and women can be feminists, feminism is about gender equality, so it also includes standing up for men’s rights too. Men are very involved in feminism, we just don’t see them as much. Men understand that these issues impact them as well, that patriarchy and double standards hurt them, and they want things to change.   Feminism has normally been a wonderful movement, evening the turf, fighting for the rights of women and men.

We live in a world of measurable, glaring inequalities. Look at politicians, CEOs, film directors, law enforcement officers, comedians, tech professionals, executive chefs, mathematicians, and on and on and on—these fields are dominated by men. (And, in many cases, white men.) To claim that there is no systemic inequality keeping women and minorities out of those jobs is to claim that men are naturally better. If there is no social structure favoring men, then it stands to reason that men simply work harder and/or are more skilled in nearly every high-level specialized field. It’s fine (though discouraging) if you legitimately believe that, but you need to own up to the fact that that is a self-serving and bigoted point of view. If you do not consider yourself a bigot, then kindly get on board with those of us who are trying to proactively correct inequalities. It is not enough to be neutral and tacitly benefit from inequality while others are left behind through no fault of their own. Anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia—that’s where we’re at now. Catch up or own your prejudice.

If there’s one movement that upholds the idea of equality – it is feminism. I can say that because there is a whole set of issues concerning men that feminists are working on .Feminists do not want men to lose custody of their children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy. Feminism never made that claim, patriarchy did and that is why we hate patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy. Again patriarchy! Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.  Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy.

The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of any gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy. Patriarchy is what we’ve got to criticize, not just criticize – essentially oppose and change. If you really care about the issues mentioned as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?

To all the men who have had shitty lives and mistake that pain for “misandry”: I totally get it.  And I’m sorry if you haven’t found that so far in your life. But it’s not women’s fault, it’s not my fault, and it’s certainly not feminism’s fault. The thing is, you’re not really that different from the women you rail against so passionately —the women who are trying to carve out some space and assert their value in a world of powerful men. Plenty of women know exactly what it feels like to be pushed to the fringe of society, to be rejected so many times that you eventually reject yourself. That alienation is a big part of what feminism is fighting against. A lot of those women would be on your side, if you would just let them instead of insisting that they’re the villains. It’s better over here, and we have room for you. So stop trying to convince us that we hate you and I promise we’ll start liking you a whole lot more.

Life  isn’t fair always, because of coincidence and circumstance and the DNA you were born with, and we all have to accept the hands we’re dealt and live within that reality. But life doesn’t have to be additionally unfair because of imposed systems of disenfranchisement  that only affect certain groups. We can fight against that. Feminism isn’t about striving for individual fairness, on a life-by-life basis—it’s about fighting against a systematic ‘removal of opportunities’ that infringes on women’s basic freedoms. If a woman and a man have equal potential in a field, they should have an equal opportunity to achieve success in that field. It’s not that we want the least qualified women to be handed everything just because they’re women. It’s that we want all women to have the same opportunities as all men to fulfill (or fail to fulfill, on their own inherent merits) their potential. If a particular woman is under qualified for a particular job, fine. That isn’t sexism. But she shouldn’t have to be systematically set up, from birth, to be under qualified for all jobs (except for jobs that reinforce traditional femininity).

Hence, we have a lot of thinking to do as ‘humans’ – not as women , not as men ; just as human beings. We have to really ponder on the fact that every time we refuse to call ourselves a feminist, or make a disparaging comment about “feminists” as a group of people or “feminism” as an ideology and movement, we are inadvertently implying that women don’t deserve gender equality. We are reinforcing the divide that already exists. Feminism, therefore is not a threat, never was. It’s a movement, a change already happening that is benefitting both men and women. It is helping us realize our humanity. It is helping us prevent to image of ourselves imposed by patriarchy as a construct of society. It is helping us unburden ourselves of the continual fear of failing that construct. Feminism is a gift to us. It is a way we can deepen our own humanity and, in fact, sometimes even claim our own humanity for the first time. Humanity that has been long lost. Time to revive it.

I take pride in calling myself a  feminist. Do you ??

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 (With inputs from Lindy West :http://jezebel.com/ & Samantha Bradley : http://birdeemag.com)

Photo Credits :

(http://static4.devote.se/gallery/big/20131110/9b3959f2593f6a0a2ce49c6168c0265f.jpg

,http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4d/65/e9/4d65e980c320e6030b43526efb014976.jpg)