A new tag is doing the rounds in blog-town kick-started by none other than The Indian Homemaker. Pal has also tagged me on the same one. The tag requirement: List at least ten things you have ever wanted to do or have done which your gender is not supposed to. Hmm… On reading it, a problem presented itself to me. I have always loved being a girl/woman and genuinely loved doing the things that are generally expected of my gender by society though let me hasten to add, not the least because it was expected of me. Cooking, keeping house, stitching, the arts…. I loved them all and still do so with a passion. In addition I am your typical damsel-in-distress when faced with creepy crawlies and run to near and dear ones for help.
I lost no time at all in becoming a member of Sinners Against Gender Stereotypes as soon as it was floated hoping to be a one among the Virtuous Sinners. But the way things looked it was as if I was destined to remain just a Despicable Saint. Believe me folks, unlike what the society and its self-styled custodians have us believe, being the Saint is NOT going to get us anywhere at all. And remember that is fifty golden years of experience speaking, take it or leave it. A saint unlike what the vociferous spokespersons of Monster Society, the Pushers of Customs and Traditions Down the Throat of the Rest outline for us, remains forever at their feet for them to wipe their feet on.
I was left wondering whether I was destined to be stamped a saint forever and what I could come up with now that I was tagged by both IHM and Pal, to redeem myself. But then I remembered how it has annoyed and also amused me considerably when my conformity to expected standards of society has often been misconstrued to mean that I also held regressive and traditional views about the role of women in general. I do what I do because I like to. Just try selling the idea to me that women are supposed to be stay-at-home-moms, do the cooking and cleaning and get their nirvana from being self-sacrificing devis (read doormats) and more likely as not you would be nursing a very bad bump on your head or at the least be sent away with a flea in your ear. Now, that is certainly not womanly behavior as envisioned by society. Is it?? That thought made me jubilant; I was a Grade A Sinner after all and all set to do the tag. So here goes
1. ‘Why??’ has been a favorite question of mine though there weren’t many takers. Questioning anything is considered a rather unwomanly trait. But I am damned if I accept anything and everything dished out in the name of our culture and ancient heritage.
2. From the above it is obvious that I think and NOT just about how to please the family which is the only ‘thinking’ expected and accepted of a woman.
3. I read a lot. Reading was not considered an activity suitable for women in the distant past. And when they finally were allowed the luxury, what girls/women read had first to be approved by the powers that be. I still remember hiding behind bushes to finish reading Anna Karenina, that too the abridged version.
4. I drive which is even in this age thought to be a man’s forte. Don’t even tell me otherwise. Here is what a young man, a couple of decades my junior, had to say on the topic just recently: The twenty first century woman is getting to be a better driver, because she is ‘inspired’ by man to be like him. Of course I have not stopped laughing as yet.
5. I prefer to sit in mixed company and listen/ talk on general topics of all nature rather than be asked to ‘go in’ and sit with the ladies and listen/talk about husbands, kids, maids, the latest in jewelry ad nauseam.
6. I lovvvvvvve gadgets, be it I-pod (I just got a new I-pod touch from the senior son), cell phones, laptops, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners…. In fact I prefer machines and gadgets to humans.
7. In my house I am the one who deals with the techies who comes for repairing electronic gadgets. In spite, most of the idiots look at the Lord & Master (if he is around) while answering my queries on the assumption that he knows my household appliances better. Aaaargh. Truly speaking the L & M is not the least bit interested and whenever we are out shopping for electronic items, calls me over to listen to the salesman explaining the features and workings of the new purchase while he wanders off or watches some program on the display TV.
8. I love wearing trousers. Once ages back, while I was still in school, there was this humor columnist who in a guest post in some woman’s magazine (I have not forgotten this in 37 years and never will) wrote: The backside of a woman who wore trousers resembled the back side of a horse. (We wore short tops as there were no jobless people back then with enough free time to check the length of garments worn by girls). I was livid with rage at this allusion and wanted to ask the columnist, how he thought his own back looked while he wore trousers. I suppose it is forgivable considering that the poor fellow must never have looked in a mirror and seen his own, resembling a horse’s backside. Ignorance is indeed bliss.
9. The major responsibility of disciplining my kids which is supposed to be a totally male activity has always been mine. How many times have we heard women threatening their children with ‘Let Dad get back home’, as if the Dad were some ogre?! I wonder why they think responsibility and power rests solely with the father??! Not once in my life have I said that to my own children. Their compliance to my orders was got on my own merit. In fact I was mortified when my MIL suggested that her son coming back on a home posting meant better discipline and supervision for the kids. I almost asked the L & M to go right back.
10. I love silence and solitude, a supposedly manly trait. Excuse me while I roll my eyes and laugh amusedly at that, because I know better.
Have I sinned suitably against gender stereotyping, enough to be accepted as a respectable member of SAGS?? I fervently hope so!
Now to tag others. IHM has tagged half the blog neighborhood and they in their turn have tagged the other half. So looks like I am cursed to wear blue trousers for the next twelve years, not that I mind of course. Looking through my meager friends list, I tag