Feminism and Humanism – Is There a Difference?

This is inspired by a post from a sweet innocent girl:

“It’s time to scream your silence or err, my silence. I have to talk about this and I know all my male readers will say nothing but I urge all of you to comment, regardless of gender. It’s about time I hear your voices. By the way, I know I’m a Women and Gender Studies minor, but that has nothing to do with what I’m about to say. I’m just inspired if that’s the right word, I guess.

VAGINA aka pookie, pussy, cunt, cooch, cooter, punani, twat, lovebox, box, poontang, cookie, fuckhole, cock warmer, fish sandwich, love hole, stinkhole, black hole of calcutta (say what?!), peach, meat massager, pussycat, cockring, little debbie, and whatever else you want to add is so taboo. Vagina, kya?

Vagina, what?

Ever since I was little, I had a body, (of course you had a body Namrata) and I always wondered when it was going to grow, like those women on television. I always wondered and wondered. I was a confused little girl. I used to get excited by seeing people kiss because I thought one day I would also kiss a man. See what society put into my head– I would kiss a man. There goes my option of being a lesbian and whatever. I knew I had breasts and a vagina, this entry amuses me by the way and I never talked about it to anyone.

By the time I was in third or fourth grade, I got a “training bra.” I remember my mother with me at Kids R’Us as I tried on some and that didn’t work. We moved onto K-Mart and such types of stores. God, when was the last time I walked into a K-Mart? And now look, I’m buying bras from Victoria Secret thinking the sexy in me will come out if I wear their things, little do I know… well okay anyway, and then came the time of the thongs and such.

In high school, I used to wonder how people got to hide their underwear lines. I used to think to myself “I need a pair of those secret ones!” Yes, I was a confused high school-er my first year. I realized it was called a thong. Oooooh, scandalous. My mother, as I ended up buying some thongs, would say to me how could you wear those things, beta? Who’s going to see you in them? Of course, I would see myself in them, wasn’t that enough?

We all do things because of society (and because we have no courage to do things that we want do to). Face it. If we didn’t have to go to school, we wouldn’t, now would we? How many of us would slave away reading about biology because half of you are pre-med duhh and all that nonsense? Not many, right? We do these things to earn money to get what we want, which society makes us do.

In that sense, we follow all the rules of society for society so in the end, we can be somewhat happy, if that’s what you call happiness! So, let me wear my thong or even g-string even if no one is going to see it. I want to do something for myself that involves no one but me. Now that we got that out of the way…

So, vaginas! I never talked about this with anyone. I, as a woman went through all that PMS stuff yes, but that’s all that was told to me. I don’t think anyone really says shave it- but women in general as I have noticed assume that that is what we should do. I mean, what guy is really going to like hair or as they say, a bush? So, of course we all follow this way.

On top of that, women (most women that is) hide the fact that they masturbate. Why? And then most women don’t even do it or know how to do it. Why are we so afraid to please ourselves or to admit that we want to or have? Why? Society wants women to stay all innocent.

Innocent? Who’s still innocent in America? Don’t you love my judgements and assumptions?

My point is… why can’t we, as women, be open about such things and not care? Why can’t we have an orgasm and not have to worry about giving head to a guy in return for the pleasure he gave us? Why does everything have to always be a compromise because in many ways, life is really not a compromise, especially for women. That’s the truth.

And… of course… why can’t we just know what a real orgasm feels like… many of us haven’t ever felt one, we just pretend we know. But do we really know, now that is the question…

As a South Asian woman, I can say that it’s even more taboo to be sitting here and discussing this, but I just had to come out and say it. I have always been so confused and in my own world about this stuff. I keep it all to myself because I, too, am afraid of what others might think or say about the things that I question.

PS. My vagina does not smell like curry.

PS2. No, not the video game set. This entry was obviously inspired by the Vagina Monologues. Next semester, be sure to keep in touch with me as the Desi Intercultural Youth Association (DIYA) will be performing the South Asian version of the Vagina Monologues- Yoni Ki Baat which was previously performed at UC Berkley. Interested in acting? Contact me.

– Namrata.”

Now….

A few days ago a friend of mine who’s doing her PHD asked me to come over and help her with her thesis – I thought this would be interesting, so I trudged over. Well, guess what, she told me what her topic is over lunch:

Men in Veil: Proving the superiority of women.

I really had to try very hard to not keep smiling – and I think I failed at that bit, but I was only laughing because she is so adorable: I asked her why she chose that for a topic. She replied, “I just woke up one morning and decided, yep, this is going to be my topic.” That’s one of the things I love about her – she is quite a brilliant girl who has a knack for thinking out of the box.

So, I asked her, “So women are superior in which way?” She replied, “I don’t know yet.” *lol* But as we chat, I started to see tremendous potential in the topic.

I know a few essential things about feminism; namely Wollstonecraft’s profound work and Simone De Bouvoir’s Second Sex. Once I sat in a feminism course that I hadn’t signed up for – lol – just to see what the deal was. I think I chose a good day, because on that day I was introduced to Wollstonecraft.

She really defined feminism perfectly: Feminism isn’t about women proving to men that they are equal. It’s not about women retaliating against men who try to subdue or suppress them. Feminism is about women realising for THEMSELVES that they are equal. This still seems to be the vital issue.

You see, the way Wollstonecraft explained it, if women all over the world began to truly live as though they were equal – men would have absolutely no say, nor choice, in the matter. It has nothing to do with men – in a sense, men already know; they are just abusing their power until women come to their senses.

Now, the equality of all things is obvious, isn’t it? We are no superior to a rat – our intelligence doesn’t even make us superior, infact, it urges us to be MORE responsible.

So, my friend Rana decides to approach this issue by thinking out of the box. Why concentrate on equality? Infact, why not try in complete objectivity to prove the superiority of women. What could be a better challenge than to make a convincing argument to that regard in a PHD thesis?

I loved the idea. I usually love all ideas where someone chooses to do something very challenging. So, she’s going to concentrate on Arab women, particularly on Iranian female filmmakers, who she knows quite a bit about. Which gave me the chance to check out an Iranian film – I’d never even thought to see one before. But have you noticed that Iranian films are now winning prestigious awards in art film festivals? They’ve nearly dominated Cannes for the last three years. Anyway, that’s another topic.

And “Men in Veil” – Rana wants to show that men make women wear the veil in Arab countries because it is truly the men who are behind the veil: their own inner turmoil and fears – which they project onto women. It is a reflection of them. Nice idea.

When it comes down to it though, Wollstonecraft was the master (or mistress): She was telling women to educate themselves – NOT to become yet another angry feminist. From everything I understand of what she explained, feminism isn’t about a self-righteous indignation at being oppressed. It’s much more like Ahimsa – as Gandhi taught.

Women are a completely different species to men. Saying ‘I have a vagina’ is more like a conscious awareness of what it means to be feminine – it’s not an idea, or a theory, or a fleeting thought…. it’s a state of being – of being a woman for the sake of being a woman.

What I mean is, you probably already know that most women go to great lengths to make themselves look great – they groom themselves, for men. They do it for us… so that we may find them beautiful. The innate nature of feminine beauty also lies in its appreciation.

By saying ‘I have a vagina’, I think the implication is that a woman chooses to be beautiful for herself, and not for anyone else. If someone else finds her breathtaking, then good, but even when she is alone… she finds herself beautiful. This is such an important thing, isn’t it? To not need someone else to tell you that you are beautiful in order for you to believe it.

This, I think, is what Namrata meant about wearing a g-string even IF no one else is going to see it. That is very empowering.

True, the person comes first…

The penis is objectified – and so is the vagina – and we miss the whole meaning of what it really is all about. If we don’t hold onto one thing, don’t we hold onto another? If not for our sexuality, then onto religion, or onto money, or our pride or whatever else… we’re holding on… and sometimes, we hold onto the fact that we’re a person…

It’s all supposed to come naturally isn’t it? And it does. When we don’t think about it – when we just do it – everything that comes out of us is the most natural thing on earth.

Why do we label anything at all?

‘Marriage material’ – took me a whole bloody long time to get over that ideology. For a long time what I wanted in a wife was the normal bloody set of criteria… you know… ‘virgin, cooks’ etc etc. Mostly stamped into place from heritage and family, parents… and every other environmental phenomenon that comes part and parcel with being Asian.

Breaking these stereotypes in my mind was one of the most difficult things – and I only did it because I wanted to be honest with myself. Why do I want to marry a virgin anyway? How does that make me feel better, really? I mean, in the end, does it? Ok fine, so I feel happy for a while that I’m the only guy my wife has fucked – but what kind of happiness is that? Ownership? Doesn’t feel like much, does it?

But when you’re actually IN that state of mind – the lust takes over to madden your mind with reckoning power.



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~ by revolutionwithin on December 3, 2009.

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