Tag ed by cris
I once got into trouble for confessing that “Feminism is not my cup of tea”. Ever since, I nod emphatically in agreement when asked it I am a feminist.
Am I a feminist?
I guess all women are that, without quite realizing it. By nature, I don’t make a song and dance of it, and am quite indulgent to male chauvinism wherever and whenever I have to deal with it. I don’t get very vocal or hyterical but keep my cool and usually have my way without any friction. You can say that I'm one hell of a survivor in this patriarchal world!
But there were a few occasions when I chose to stiffly resist the entrenched gendered thinking. On this one occasion that i'm about to talk about in this post, it was in the domestic front, and the fury and intensity of my reaction to a typical situation were , at that moment, inexplicable even to me. Looking back I think what provoked the full activation of the feminist in me was my anxiety not to pass on the legacy of male chauvinism to the next generation. As a woman, that’s the least I could do for our sex.
On that particular day, my help had not turned up.
We had a huge compound with every tree under the sun in the front yard, and, if the fallen leaves were not removed twice a day, the yard would look like the Sleeping Beauty’s palace compound when Prince Charming came a hundred years later to wake her up with a kiss (would some one like to offer a feminist reading of that tale?).
I started cleaning the compound. My daughter, as was usual when the help didn’t turn up, came out, took a broom and started sweeping from the othe r end of the compound. I insisted she go back to her books as she had a test that day. The poor kid went away, looking very guilty and feeling very sorry for me. A few minutes later ,my seven year old son Mathew came to the verandah, and seeing me clean the compound started to help me. This was the first time I saw him at this work and was pleasantly surprised to see he was doing a good job of it. I allotted a portion of the yard to him and together we continued clearing the compound. Just then, his grandfather, a octogenarian came out into the veranda and was heading for his armchair when he noticed Mathew sweeping. I saw him stare incredulously and then go back into the house.
A minute later, his grandmother came, all upset and ordered Mathew to stop what he was doing.
“Go in Mathew, Don’t you have anything to study?”
“No.I’m helpimg amma”
“I’ll do it. Why should YOU do it”(don't miss the emphasis on 'you')
“Why shouldn’t he do it?”, that was me. Why was I reacting like that, I wondered. Why was i creating an unnecessary situation early in the morning?
“He’s a boy”. I coulldn’t believe my ears.
By then, Mathew had dropped the broom and had started back ”Mathew”, I called. “Finish what you are doing”
He came back and picked up the broom.
“Give the broom to me, Mon”. His grandmother was very diplomatic. ”I love doing this. Let me do it”
“There’s one more broom, amma”, I persisted. “Use that if you want to sweep”.
“We don’t need three people to do this”
“There’s enough compound for four people”.
She turned to Math and very gently told him to run inside and have the boost that’s kept ready on the dining table.
“Mathew can have his Boost after he finishes the portion allotted to him”
“But, but, he’s a boy, Molly. Boys shouldn’t be doing this”
“Where in the Bible has Jesus Christ stated thus?”, I asked quietly, unkindly. But I had to say it. I had to make a point. And Christ. I believe . is the greatest feminist ever.
She gave up, and went into the house, looking very worried about how she is going to convince her husband that there’s nothing wrong with a boy sweeping the compound.
My feminist blogs: http://pareltank.blogspot.com/2008/04/bringing-up-nazrani-girl-child.html;
http://brokenmuse.blogspot.com/ - except Deshamsam ?10%, the peoms have feminist themes, written during that phase in my life(and every woman's life) when resentment of the "man's world' turned me temporarily into a third rate poet.
Strange that i have three males on my list? Well, their views on "FEMINISM' will complete the picture :-)