India’s Daughter

In case you have been living in a cave, you would have come across the online storm the documentary, India’s Daughter, created on social media, causing news desks to pick up the story. India has banned the documentary, and we are all supposed to be surprised and backlash against it now.

Let me be clear, anyone and everyone should take some time to watch the documentary. There will be many who will agree with me, and others who will stand firm in saying that the documentary only glorifies rape and rapists.

You know what glorifies rape and rapists? The fact that marital rape is still not recognised in India, despite the Criminal Law Amendment of 2013, which was all to please the protestors, the press and the otherwise mute public that the government is going to have a better handle on punishing and recognising rape cases. Let’s couple this fact with another – 94% of rape victims know their rapists. How much am I, personally, willing to bet that most of those victims are raped by their husbands, considering women are just reared for marriage? They set up a committee that took suggestions from the public so they could strengthen laws surrounding sexual assault, rape and so forth. That committee received over 80, 000 suggestions. Eighty thousand suggestions, and we are to believe that not a single one of those suggestions had the words “Make marital rape legal?” written on them? Eighty thousand suggestions, and not a single one wanted to identify the various types of sexual crimes committed on the bodies of men and transgender individuals? Eighty thousand suggestions, and not one single Indian citizen thought to improve care and protections of domestic violence victims?

Do we even remember what the woman’s name was from the 2012 Delhi rape case? I feel as though that’s her name now – the Delhi rape case. Jyoti Singh will not be a name we will care to remember in the long run. Jyoti Singh has become yet another one of the hundreds of thousands of women who are assaulted, raped and thrown away until someone in the media picks it up and tweets about it.

Mukesh Singh is waiting to die by hanging in some prison. Mukesh Singh was the bus driver in the Delhi rape case. Mukesh Singh maintains the stance that he did not partake in the rape itself, but simply drove the bus while it happened. Mukesh Singh, that was you partaking in the rape. Mukesh Singh maintains a lack of regret. Mukesh Singh thinks women walking around town by themselves after sunset are simply asking for it.

Jyoti Singh is not India’s daughter. The constant confinement of women as mothers, daughters, sisters as a reason to not rape them is not acceptable. What if it was your sister? How would YOU feel if someone raped your mother? Women do not belong in India, not as your mothers, your sisters, your wives or your daughters. But what about your sons? Where did they learn this astounding level of arrogance and power that they own bodies? Where did they learn that somehow, as if by magic, women are weaker, in every sense of the word? Where are your brothers and fathers learning that it’s only a crime if they get caught? Where did your older brother learn that if he spots a girl walking around at 9.30pm, she deserves to be raped? Where did your father learn to slap your mother around, knowing she will not hit back let alone report it?

India is a state for sons: Mukesh Singh, Ram Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and the unnamed teenager.

-SR.

Jetlag

Well, in all honesty, it’s a mixture of jetlag and just general irregular patterns of sleep – and let me just say that I’m not exaggerating even slightly when I exclaim “IT’S BAD” in horror. It’s real bad. 

This is what happens. I will roll into bed between 11pm and midnight, then around 2am (or if I’m lucky around 3am) I’ll be wide awake. Then around 6am (if I’m lucky), usually 7am, I’ll fall asleep again. This has been happening since I arrived, included the night I got in. I can’t begin to explain the various levels of frustration one goes through with this kind of a sleep pattern. 

Anyway, so I’ve been listening to shit music, reading Virginia Woolf – all bad choices in hindsight because the music riles me up and Virginia Woolf makes me want to desperately dismantle the patriarchy and find a more equal way of existing. Casual goals, as obvious. Again, in all honesty, I don’t know if I can have another feminist debate with someone who clearly knows jackshit and is completely disinterested in politics and the ways of the world, but of course, that doesn’t stop them from pretending (or worse, claiming). At the same time, I feel the need to stick with it, fight the food fight, whenever and wherever possible, even if it means conversing with individuals who are stubborn enough to have their minds made up before a discussion can take place.

It’s really weird being back home. I don’t want to indulge in family politics, but I feel compelled, as a part of the family. But things are just so much happier when we do the unhealthy thing and ignore them – for the short term, which is exactly how long I’m here for.

In other news, I am currently in Hong Kong, at 6am, going over a conversation with a really good friend who said I am goal-oriented and quite the “diva.” And we discussed the negative connotations attached to the word “diva” and how, of course, it’s yet another word related to women. I think I’ve decided that I’m not a diva, I just know what I want, and how to achieve it. I know it was meant entirely in good spirits, which is why there’s no rage. I have been trying to think of male equivalent of the word “diva” but the first thing that popped into my own head was “drama queen” which ashamedly, shows the internalization of my social conditioning. But if there’s a will to fight it, that will will succeed, so I am not going to beat myself over it.

Okay, I need to stop and sleep. Or make some coffee, stay awake all day and maybe, just maybe, I’ll crash in the evening. 

“Are you a crazy feminist?”

Short answer: Yes. 

Long answer: Most likely, you’re asking me because you’re a man. I don’t mean to generalize, and as a researcher, it is my most hated method of collected data, mainly as it’s based on… well generalizations. I digress. 

Option 1: Yes, I’m a crazy feminist. 

Option 2: No, I’m not a crazy feminist. 

Why Option 1 is a completely logical answer: 

I’m sick of telling you the arguments as to why I can’t climb the ladder, purely based on the fact that I have a uterus and for whatever reason, it is my responsibility to take care of the alien that slowly, surely and painfully inches its way out of my vagina. In an ideal, I’d do the carrying around, morning sickness, the strangers-touching-your-stomach, and everything that comes along with an average pregnancy, and you (in my heterosexual relationship), my husband, be allowed a decent paternity leave and hang out with this tiny human that had been growing inside me, while I go back to work and not have to worry about smoking or drinking harming my own blood and flesh. That’d be great. But, now we go into strange, unheard dimensions of parenting leave. For some reason, you become the lazy, alcoholic (wtf?) father if you stay home with our (OUR) child, and I become the selfish mother if I go back to work. Who cares what others say? Everybody cares about what others say, stop being a shithead. “Oh, who cares?” Seriously, we all do, let’s not go and argue the most proven point of all research, ever. As my partner, I don’t want you to feel the pain of being the lazy father. As a woman, I don’t want to be the selfish, uncaring mother. How we achieve the perfect balance? I have no idea, but maybe someday, my research will lead me that way. I don’t have all the answers. All I know is that I love my career and the direction I’m headed. 

Why Option 2 is a completely logical answer: 

Am I really crazy for wanting a career? It’s not, in fact, natural for me to rear a child. I should have been correctly socialized into that role, but somehow, I’ve strayed from that entirely, like more and more women (and men) are, and I’m fine with that. Is my perfectly lovable (heterosexual) partner going to be harassed for wanting to be a stay-at-home-dad? In most countries, yes. There’s going to be judgement whether we like it or not. Maybe not from close friends or family, but from others. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Everybody. You. Me. Everybody cares. I love our offspring to bits, but I need to go back to work and advance my career before I’m stuck in this role forever, because I haven’t come into work enough days – I’m sorry that pushing out a child to advance the population took so long. We all wish that the process would be made shorter and I could throw out a baby and get back to work within the same day, but we aren’t at that level of technology yet. (Just wait till we can grow babies in microwave ovens.) I digress. Again. I don’t want to chop your dick off. I don’t want to give all power to women – we saw what happened when men ran the world. In my ideal world, women and men would be equal. We’d earn the same, we’d have similar jobs, we’d share and care our offspring-issues, there’d be decent maternity/paternity leave for each of us. I don’t want men to be portrayed as the shitfaced assholes who care about nothing and have no emotions. I want women to be portrayed as monstrous creatures who, for whatever reason, are constantly PMSing. (Please try bleeding for a week every month for JUST 30 years of your life, then we’ll talk about why we’re angry). I’d like men to be portrayed as equally as women, except for our biology. Ideally, I’d simply like us to not be “tolerant” of anyone who doesn’t fit into our little heterosexual categories, but be genuinely happy that we’ve stopped being shitheads and allowed others to exist in peace. Transgender, bisexual, gay, lesbian, I don’t care. If you’re happy, we’re happy. I don’t want to hear, “ew, she used to have a penis” anymore. So, no I’m not crazy. I’d just like everyone to be so fucking happy that we sing and dance all day. 

 

Instead I sit here. 2AM on a Saturday night, whining about this imperfect world. We did have a lot of great Russian vodka. Magical liquid, clearly made by unicorns. I’m officially starting the hashtag, #vodkaunicorn