A friend mentioned that my name was entrenched in the midst of a pitted blog-war over at Great Bong's. I followed the thread (which, of course, in a different metaphorical thread of thought, led me to feel slightly disgruntled because, hey, if you're talking about me and my views, come do it on my blog, will you? This whole experience felt like eavesdropping outside a stranger's drawing-room where the conversation is all about me) with part-horrified fascination and part-bewildered amusement.... I mean, gosh! 'Intense hatred'?
Surely, surely not.
I would not have reacted except for that phrase. Hatred disturbs me. Hate is a strong word; I use it advisedly.
But let me clarify a few things here (and let this also serve as a response to those who did leave me comments, whether in agreement or not) with reference to my last post:
Okay, I'll concede that women too live trapped in women's bodies, as much as men in men's bodies. However, in general, women are not given to making assertions about men being the weaker sex. What's more, we are not permitted to make decisions based on such assertions. Hence, the reference to logic and rationale. What I was trying to say was - 'don't talk about the abilities and limitations of a woman when you don't know what it means to be one'.
The bit about women being more qualified to be in/lead armies, was based on an assumption made in the previous paragraph. There was an 'if' there, without which it wasn't complete. That 'if' was ignored and the whole sentence made non-contextual, and thereby, unfair. Which, to me, seems a little bit unfair.
Am I a female chauvinist?
Let me tell you something. It is said that all battles are finally fought for jar, joru, jameen. Gold, women, land. All three being things that are valuable. And possess-able.
Because women are the source of the most basic of all resources - human resource. And so, they had to be possessed. Controlled.
I believe that right through the history of mankind (and I use the term 'mankind' instead of womankind, with a careful pause for thought, because history in general has been written by men, for men), there has been an ongoing battle of the sexes. This is not a battle for a metaphorical supremacy. This is a battle for real power.
I don't like such battles. I think 'make love, not war' is a very good motto. But the battle-lines were drawn long before and the battle is being well and truly fought, like it or not. Sometimes, it was verbal, or artistic, fought through words and images. Most often, it was fought on terra firma. A fight for social control.
There were times when women were in control of human civilisation. Most societies have had some sort of matriarchal past. There was a time when women controlled land/property. And property is one of the main sources of power. Material/money/resource power.
The other major source of power was spiritual, which translates into religious, in practical terms. We all know that before the gods came, there were the goddesses. All humanity began with worshipping the earth-mother: the source of all life.
Which leaves one source of power - armed collectives - or the army. If we are to trust history, most armies (with the exception of records about tribes like the Amazons) were male.
We do not know, at what point of history men took up the sword/the gun/the missile. It might have begun as tribe/clan-wars. It might have been that women fought alongside. I don't know. Maybe it was that one group decided, maybe both did. Maybe women stayed away from war at first, in the mistaken belief that it was better for self/child-preservation. Maybe the men discovered soon enough, as was inevitable, that with a weapon in your hand, you become even more powerful than nature intended you to be.... who knows how it happened. But it did.
Like I've said before, swords and guns are dangerous things. Groups of people with arms are dangerous things. When you arm only one group, you make the world a more dangerous place for the other group. When you restrict weapons (and most countries do restrict weapons to the police and the armed forces) and the training required to use weapons to only one group, you automatically disempower and disarm the other group. When you say 'only men will fight', you automatically say 'women will not fight', which soon becomes 'women cannot fight'.... which becomes a belief. And widespread beliefs are often mistaken for facts.
Between the battle of the sexes, that leaves women staring into the muzzles of guns. Always. Never holding the gun. Not allowed to.
As long as society stayed matriarchal and matrilinear, and God didn't become a single HE, the balance of power was manageable. But as things stand, and have stood for centuries, the balance of power is tilted against women. Patriarchal systems ensured that women have control over nothing - not religion, not property, not arms-and-ammunition.
Do I want the balance of power to shift?
Yes, indeed. Equality is not even debatable. Like independence, it is our birthright. If it is not given, we will take it. But if it is a choice between male domination and female domination, I want the latter.
Does that make me a female chauvinist sow? (shrug-shrug) Please feel free to call me a sow. If it pleases you, you can even append 'virulent' and 'sophomoric' (Is that a bad word? Explain yourself, please) as adjectives.
No, I do not hate men. I do NOT want to rid the world of all men. There are some men I love. I trust them with my life and I would give my life for them. But, there is not one man on earth who can persuade me that women cannot do X or Y task because they're not good enough.
Also, I've lived long enough in a male-dominated world. I'd like to live at least some of it in a woman's world and see if I don't prefer that instead, thank you very much. Does that spell misandrist? If it does... guess what I'm thinking?
On an entirely different note, I find it strange that a discussion about armies and women should lead to a generic discussion on feminism and that should prompt people to start mentioning lesbians and dildos.
Misogynists are simply called misogynists. Nobody refers to them as homosexual men running about with penis pumps. Why do feminists attract the lesbian-dildo analogy?
You guys wants to think about that?
PS - Did anybody notice that certain people slip in 'nutty' along with 'feminists' completely unselfconsciously. As if it were the most natural combination of words possible?
And this one is for the mirthful Mental Baba - http://www.oxfam.org.uk/what_we_do/issues/conflict_disasters/downloads/bn_tsunami_women.pdf
PPS - Aravind said, elsewhere, that he would never come back here. Will somebody please communicate to him that I do NOT make gentlemen get up for me in buses or trains, even if it is a seat reserved for Ladies? On the contrary, when I see elderly men, I offer my seat to them - and they gratefully accept. I have also seen several instances where men occupy the handicapped/eldery seat and do not get up when a handicapped or elderly person enters the bus. It was the women who vacated their seats and offered them to the person on crutches, each time.