Feminism

I don’t want a theme song, thank you very much

I was having a random discussion with a man and he told me that he loved to cook. He would have loved to be a homemaker. In fact, it is still not too late. He often encourages his wife who is a stay-at-home mom to take some small job or maybe a business so that he can be a homemaker. “That is nice”, I said. He asked me what I thought about it. I said that there is nothing wrong in a man wanting to be a homemaker. “Neenga oru puratchi pennunga” he said. This, apparently, is not my puratchi. If at all his wife manages to become the bread winner and he manages to live his homemaking dream it is their puratchi, not mine. Not by any stretch of anyone’s imagination.

This went on for some time. He’d ask my opinion on a random topic. I will give my opinion on the said topic and will be labeled puratchi penn. Again and again and again. He got into the habit of calling me “A Penn Barathiyaar”. He showed me a picture of Suhasini with a Barathiyaar mask in “Manathil Uruthi Vendum”. He’d often recite “Kannin Maniyea” song to me in full expectation that I’d swell in pride that I also came across as that type of Puratchi Penn.

For a long time I did not know why I disliked being told this. I absolutely hated it but I did not know why. I requested that he stop doing it. He tried to explain “Kannin maniyea” to me. He seemed to feel I’d start to be proud of this label if I only understood what Vaali had written in that song. But no, I don’t dislike that song. No, I don’t have a secret grudge against Vaali. No secret grudge against KB either. Nope, Barathiyaar is just fine too. No, I do not hate Suhasini. No, the story line is fine. The picturisation is ok too. I did not mind it that Suhasini is a divorcee in that movie. No, I did not misunderstand the lyrics. I don’t want to be told the awesomeness of the lyrics.

It is just that I don’t want anyone to choose my theme song for me.

Puratchi – Revolution

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Feminism

Countering Male Privilege

Rahul asked the following question here.

As an aside, I have often wondered , if just by existing as an upper caste male, and not necessarily by any acts of commission or omission by me individually, I am being party to an unjust system that benefits me,

then what is my moral obligation?

I felt both happy that a man bothered to ask this question and surprised that no woman replied to him so far. He addressed me, but the question is a rather open one and there are many female commenters in BR’s blog. This post is basically a reply to that question. Quite obviously Male Privilege is no particular guy’s fault. It just is there around us like the air we breathe. We kind of get used to it over time. It is all pervasive and affects so many facets of women’s life. So I am just taking one example in which well-meaning men can do a certain something for the women around them. I am not taking problems like safety, glass ceilings and generic misogyny as they are such sprawling topics. It is much easier to discuss one problem at a time.

Please read this.

This is a surprisingly common scenario which pretty much every woman faces. Here gounderbrownie fights for the right to visit a toilet. She asks

Why did I have to make a fuss for the driver to comprehend that this was an important issue? Why didn’t the husbands/fathers/sons accompanying the other women speak up if they themselves felt shy of asking the driver to stop?

But I am not feeling as charitable about the other women as GB does. Those women even if they did not open the topic themselves, let GB the battle all alone and then used the facilities when she won the battle single handedly.

There is no evidence that anyone even thanked the lady. This is the type of invertebrates that we like to honour with the title “Adakamaana Ponnu”. As for me, even if I had not wanted to use the loo, I still would have joined forces with her just so that she is not alone when she is fighing the fight.

But this is a good example when men can put aside their privilege and apathy and speak up. It would have cost very less embarrasment to the men in the bus to have just verbally supported the lady. Men who bother to “accompany” their own mother/wife/etc are so quiet when another woman needs help. This is a problem that can so easily be solved.

I assume that chivalry arose as a type of counter to Male Privilege. So that men take it upon themselves to help women in these circumstances. It seems to have deteriorated over time. Chivalry often seems to imply that women are inferior and so should take some male help. Chivalry should be practised only when needed. And only when there is obvious Male Privilege at play. I agree with what Bhagwad says here.