So, I was scrolling down Facebook last night when my friend tagged me a You Tube video which essence is, Indian girls smoking being a great disservice for society and shame for the family.
What I inferred from the video above is that influence from family, friends, cinema and surroundings are more powerful than society’s taboo and cross lines which are GENDER BLIND.
It’s time for us to berhijrah from petty double standards that depict gender inequality and gender bias like smoking, drinking etc. If a woman developed herself in fields where men hold autonomy, then men (in family or society) won’t question her if she smokes, drinks, clubs all night or have premarital sex because in life, she’s equal or even of higher status than men. Yep, society and men might talk bad about such women behind their backs, being sour grapes and envious (which are age old) but in front of such women who have made a solid niche for themselves, they will be adhering and meek and that would have a lasting and encompassing impact rather having to explain to everyone why she smokes, drinks or parties all night and and hear the lecture from every self appointed moral police and every Tom, Dick and Harry (the shopkeeper and public in this video, imagine if the girl drove a BMW, got off the car and purchased the fag, they would have watched her in awe instead of judging her) that all that are natural to men but unnatural for girls.She can just say she does whatever she wants because she can, wants to, affords it and that she is no lesser than men if she surpasses the achievement of males and it won’t only stop at smoking, drinking but also other more important aspects of life. That’s the defiance and fcuk patriarchy semblance portrayed in the last part of this short film. That kind of confidence won’t be present if women are still at the mercy of men, being held culpable and suspected for doing things that are completely okay for men to do but not okay for women to do. The scenario I described is already emerging with females doing so much better than males in education.
My dad was a heavy smoker. My brother-in-law too and when I was 13, I tried smoking and found it absolutely awful and smelly. Those are the reasons why I don’t smoke and consume alcohol – because they smell worse than shit, not because of fear of what society might say if a woman smokes or smoking and drinking looks cool or because since boys do it, as a girl I should do it too to be on par with boys, to attain gender equality. I tried smoking because of the exemplary my dad and brother-in-law showed and when I discovered it shitty, I dropped it like a load of triceratops shit.
Can gender equality be achieved by girls smoking/drinking/sleeping around just because boys do it with impunity?
I’m a feminist, yes but I don’t think gender equality is achieved (in Indian and Asian context) by giving girls the benefit or even the prerogative to smoke/drink/sleep around at random. Because, more than a platform for equality, it’s a platform for self destruction. We all know what smoking and drinking does to the body adversely and how sleeping around opens way for STD TO EVERY HUMAN BEING IMMATERIAL OF GENDER. So this, “Neenggeh panna udambukku kedu, naanggeh panna samuthayathukku keda?” is flawed in itself. The new mindset should be, “Smoke, drink, sleep around at your own risk ladies and gentlemen.” Now, that’s equality and freedom of choice, the choice being sordid being secondary.
We should try to adopt that new mindset because lately, when I defend women sleeping with guys before marriage they mistake it as ‘sleeping with boyfriend before marriage is the right thing to do.’ For guys, me supporting Indian girls’ addictive, intoxicating and libertine adventures means I am debauched which means I am a smoker, drinker and not a virgin. My gist that if girls sleeping around with guys is considered wrong than the guys who sleep with them should also be held accountable has failed to be understood by both girls and boys but mostly girls so it’s a paradox and a baffling oxymoron. Many Indian girls here are too stupid to understand my take on feminism and gender equality and come to the conclusion that premarital sex should be indulged in so much so I am thinking my feminism is a lost cause hence me clarifying what feminism and equality of gender really are in issues that actually help Indian women go the extra mile rather than self destruct in the name of feminism and gender equality.
This tu quoque argument of Indian guys going, “Indian girls who smoke, drink is not only puerile but also senseless and endless so please be enlightened that if Indian girls here smoke and drink, its detriment is not towards society or culture – it’s a detriment to physical health so don’t gimme this ‘club le mabbu le thiriyire pombele, ennathan nadakuthu Senthamizh naatule, maanam parakuthu ngge.’ It’s stupid, shallow and an extra fitting to Indian culture. When Indian culture was initiated, there were no clubs, pubs, vodka and fags. It’s just some moral polices, at the culture shock of such outlets deciding that if Indian girls do all that that I mentioned here, Indian culture would go to the dogs but it’s perfectly okay for guys to do all that, never mind that what they are doing is a health hazard. That is budaya kuning that has it that it is perfectly normal for guys to go on destructive orgies and it’s not normal for girls. Well, kudi guy ah girl ah nu paakathu, athu oru uyir kolli, avlovu than. We even have Tamil movies and songs that glorify drinking and Sivakartikeyan’s movies are the worst of the worst that communicates that love failure is the most rightful reason for guys to drink. Because, blaming girls is so much easier and singing “Inthe ponnunggale ippadi than nu purinji pochu da.” in a drunken state than finding out what’s wrong with you that your girlfriend left you and improving yourself for the better.
I also get angry when morality of girls is associated with her hymen being intact or not. Chastity and morality lie in the mind. Technically, with the advent of porn, no boy is virgin in mind, mind you and also the girls who watch porn. Virginity in girls is not the measurement of their morality. If it is, then the virginity of guys is also the measurement of their morality. It works both ways.
And, smoking and drinking does hold water for financial mismanagement, immaterial of gender, that is, puffing and pissing away hard earned money. Same goes to character, If Indian girls who smoke, drink and go wild in pubs are considered ‘not good girls’, then don’t get angry if I say that guys who drink, smoke and dance the macha kepak dance in clubs are not good guys because all those doings aren’t saintly nor canonized to be extolled and neither they are illegal. By setting a benchmark that girls smoking, drinking, sleeping around, gender equality is attained, we are actually endorsing those acts as okay to be indulged in, irrespective of gender, being blissfully ignorant that those acts harm the body rather than society and culture. We don’t see ads warning that smoking is bad for the society do we? When we seek treatment due to smoking/drinking/sleeping around illnesses, we don’t see the doctors and medical specialists judging our character or pinpointing gender or scolding us for spoiling society do we? That is because gender has nothing to do with the decision to smoke, drink or sleep around. It’s the evolution of human rights, a matter of influence and lifestyle and we cannot stop them and we’ll be rendered redundant or die if we don’t learn to adapt. We used to have squatting toilets only at home. Now, squatting toilets are a rarity, sitting toilets have almost superseded squatting toilets so being adamant on not passing water and motion on sitting toilets because you were only used to squatting toilets is only gonna cause your body getting naari poran.
What do gender equality and feminism really mean
We should not thump our chests that gender equality has been achieved by society not criticizing intemperate living, permissive lifestyle and by going topless in girls. We need to broaden our blinkered perspective. Feminism and gender equality is something greater than girls drinking, smoking and having premarital sex because guys do it. It is a matter of veembu, or ego, not equality. Read up the Suffrage movement, Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman’s intrepid role in it, the life stories of Marie Curie, Kalpana Chawla, Kiran Bedi, Phoolan Devi, Jhansi Rani, Malala Yousafzai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Taslima Nasrin, our very own Marina Mahathir, Irene Fernandez, Ambiga Sreenivasan, Dr Wan Azizah, Nicol David and Yasmin Ahmad to name a few.
Feminism and gender equality are essentially contained in breaking stereotypes that women are weak with silly and frivolous minds that are only good for very few things, the saying, ‘penn butthi, pin buththi,’ that menstruating renders females dirty and incapable and mostly that women cannot excel in male dominated fields like science and rough sports.
The below is the trailer of Mary Kom and watching the mere trailer gave me goosebumps.
To all those Indians here who only choose to watch masala Tamil movies, do watch such movies like Mary Kom, Indra, Pavithra, Aval Oru Thodarkathai, Manathil Uruthi Vendum, Bandit Queen etc. Then you’ll know that girls being able to smoke, drink and have sex before marriage with society not judging them with a jaundiced eye has very, very little to do with the victory of feminism and gender equality.
I remember seeing a video where men were subjected to childbirth pain simulation and they bawled like babies, begging for the simulation to be stopped barely 10 minutes into the induced travail.
My mother once said, if you endured childbirth, then you can endure anything. Women are strong creatures but that doesn’t mean women should just endure abuse and double standards by men. Rightfully, women should kick such men in the groin. Those men who acknowledge women’s capabilities and capacity and respect and give women freedom are not faggots. On the contrary, they are REAL MEN.
So girls, fight for greater recognition and acknowledgement from guys in fields that count instead of demanding equality in matters that ultimately has no real benefit like drinking and smoking for both genders.