Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Where I swear a lot because I don't know what else to say

A few weeks ago, a friend said he didn't want to go see Mardaani because he was tired of women's issues being rammed at him all the time. He's sure it's a serious problem, but you know, he feels like everyone's talking about it all the time. And he's so tired of hearing about it. Or words to that effect.

And I stared at him speechlessly.

A few days after that conversation, Jon Stewart did a piece on racism and the situation on Ferguson. And in that segment, he said a line which I wish I had said to my friend and which I'm going to appropriate and repeat everytime someone tells me how tired they are of hearing about women's issues.
"You're tired of hearing about it?... Imagine how fucking exhausting it is *living* it."
Let's recap the things that have happened since then, yes?

Last week, Deepika Padukone chose to speak up when the most despicable newspaper in India tweeted a video solely for the reason that her cleavage was visible in it. Said newspaper chose to sink to new depths of despicability and take offense to her speaking up because you know, if you pose for photo shoots that happen to show your cleavage, why the fuck would you object when we post photos that do the same even if those photos were taken without your knowledge or consent and then focus on them rather than anything else. Which is an argument someone on twitter tried with me too, and to which I say fuck that shit. Because no. As several other people** have pointed out, there's a very small jump from that argument to you asked to be raped because you dressed, behaved, spoke, drank, whatever the fuck else, the way you did. And as I very eloquently responded on twitter, just... no.

Then, just a few days ago, Emma Watson made an incredibly brilliant and true speech at the UN headquarters. Which got shared all over Facebook by women proudly proclaiming how they don't consider themselves feminists in the modern sense of the word but they totally agree with this speech. Like, I don't even know what the fuck that means.

But then, the next day, I saw posts on Facebook about threats that were sent the actress' way because of her speech. I haven't read the details, because I don't want to, but really? Really?

And then today, less than an hour back, the straw that broke the camel's back and brought about this post, I saw this article.

What the fuck? No really, tell me. What the fuck kind of world are we living in where anyone - anyone - thinks this is okay, funny, witty, acceptable, true?

Fuck this shit.


**I haven't read too many of those articles, because I can't, anymore, but I did read this piece by Deepanjana Pal, and it might be worth your time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sorry, not sorry.

I don't, in general, get too influenced by articles I read or videos I watch. Well, that's not true. I do, but not when the article or video is clearly intent on influencing you. "36 things successful people do" and "6 animals you must hug to be a happy person" won't do much for me. Sneaky and subtle works better on me.

In the last month or two, however, there have been two pieces that made an impact on me.

One was this article I read on how a password changed the author's life. Apparently, every time he changed his password, he chose a tiny (or no so tiny) goal, and keying in that password every day helped him internalize those goals and his life went from meh to whoa. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty simply yet profound way to achieve your goals. The biggest obstacle for me achieving my goals is that I really don't internalize them. I think, dude I should do that, and then forget all about it.

So I decided to try this trick. I have to change my password every few months at work, and as it happened, I had to change it soon after I read this article. So I chose a password that would remind me of something I wanted to do everyday.

In the six weeks since I've had this password, I haven't done this activity once. Not. once.

Here's the thing. It's my password at work. I never use it once I get home, and that's where I should be doing this activity. I could change all my personal passwords to something similar, but... meh.

So no, this hasn't worked so well for me.

The other piece that had an impact on me was this video Pantene came out with a while back on how women tend to say sorry for everything. I saw it, and shrugged, and went about my day. And then an hour later, I was sending someone an email asking them to clarify what they meant, and started it with "I'm sorry, but...". And I caught myself, and deleted that part of the email, and went about my day. A while later, I was emailing someone with a request for more data, and I started it with "I'm sorry, but..." And I had to again make myself delete that line from the email.

And I've caught myself doing it over and over again, the last time being an email I sent just 15 minutes back. I'm not sure why i do it. I don't know if it's my gender, my cultural context, my personality, or what. Saying women do this seems too easy an explanation, but maybe it's true. But I had never realized I do it so often till I saw this video. And I'm trying to stop.

So unlike a blog post I wrote a month or so back, I'm not ending this one with "sorry, you guys".

Because why should I be?