WYSIWYG

What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menoculayshunal; Woah, Men!

 

Some of the reactions among colleagues and acquaintances to my uprooting myself from OZ to head for India, were if one were uncritical, confusing. If being critical, some of those reactions came out of ignorance and in one or two cases, no interest in improving that state. One such concern was 'how was I going to handle the men?'

Handle the men???!!! It seems that a couple of my 'mates' were under the impression that Indian men were all out to ravage any woman who was alone; or that every swami was nothing but a pervert.

Now, let me be clear. I am no innocent and I have had to - as so very many women in the world have in every walk of life, in every culture and society - had to deal with situations I would rather not have. I am not going to present a list, but simply observe that there have been incidents ranging from fondling, spiked drinks, verbal 'caressing' all the way to the 'unnecessary'.  All of those events were from within the family/social circle or at work. Nothing 'foreign'. What is it that made those women ask me such a question when there is all the present danger close to home? What right is there to suggest that any particular ethnic group of men is any worse than any other? Men are men, with all the privilege they seem to think that affords them. However, women are women and we are far from faultless! This is not a conundrum that is ever going to be solved by a hashtag or even setting laws. Endless efforts to assert equality in all situations have not prevented a continuation of what is, let us be frank, our hardwired natures.

What does bring us out of it is by being proper grown-ups. Using our intellect and intelligence to assert self-control. Knowing and inculcating the accepted standards of our 21st-century society and applying ourselves to adherence to those standards. Call them values, if you will. When we look at them, these values are almost exactly as they have always been and that too, are matched in each and every culture. 

Throughout all my world travels, there had been occasions where it was necessary to deflect unwished-for attention. Not once - not one time, I tell you - did I need to do this whilst in India. True, very little of the travel outwith the ashram was undertaken alone - but I did move around Mumbai alone without incident. It helped that I wore the sari and that too the white of a brahmachari (or some may have assumed, due to age, that I was a widow). Either way, not to be interfered with. What is more, in the Brahmin culture, of which I was now part, women are revered as a goddess. 

It is also part of the understanding that in every man there is woman and in every woman there is man. To be a well-balanced human being is to acknowledge each part of us which is not to do with biological gender. 

It was thrown at me that Indian men will burn their wives or damage them in other ways. Really? Well, what about the men in each of our own societies who carry out atrocities against women? Have we forgotten already? Are we so keen to make others worse in order to try and sanitise ourselves? Femicide is alive and well everywhere - not least here in the UK!!! Please do read that article. Understand its import and impact. Know that every country, every culture, every society has statistics such as these. As you will note to the right, India (part of Asia) does not rank the highest by a long shot. 

No. I did not need to 'handle the men' on my stay in India and, indeed, I was looked after and was honoured by those I was privileged to meet and spend time with. There are some terrible stories and they must be recognised - but we must guard against tarring all with the same brush.


As an adjunct to this post, some of you will be aware that here in Scotland there is a bit of a stoush going on at high government levels. I have no doubt that our First Minister is not absolutely pure, but I am equally without doubt that she is being set up as a scapegoat. As this is IWD, I provide two very interesting articles exploring the issue of what it is to be a woman at the top, versus that of a man.

STAY STRONG SISTERS!!!

14 comments:

  1. I'm really got spilling drinks.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  2. We are so far from equality, aren't we.

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  3. hard to believe that we live in 2021 and some things are still the same as in neandervalley... and why some people want to go back in time again with tolerating restrictions for women is a miracle...Emily Davison would shake her head...

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  4. Hi Yam,
    To add to the excellent points made in this post, I would a small example from my own travel experiences. For years, back in my twenties, I wanted to go on a cycling trip to Italy but was deterred by the reputation of the men - bottom pinching etc. Stupid of me, I now know. When I finally took the plunge (in my thirties), first time with a large mixed group and next time with two female friends, all I encountered from Italians of both genders, was friendliness, warmth and respect. This was of course in part due to the Italian love of cycle sport - I think they were probably looking with more interest at our bicycles than our bodies! I'll never forget the one time we reached the top of a mountain pass, all strung out as happens when a group rides up hill, and as each rider approached the summit a group of workmen stopped, stood and applauded, and shouted out a number which we later realised was the number of seconds we were behind the leader!
    Happy International Women's Day 2021!
    Cheers, Gail.

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  5. Happy International Women's Day....for a brief time, I worked for a family owned company, run by two brothers.
    One brother called all the gals in the office 'Sug', there were 5 of us and either he could not remember our names or he just didn't think it was important. I can't remember what he did when he was in the presence of 2 or more of us. LOL
    Hugs Cecilia

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  6. PS that brother had just gotten married when I left to work for NCSU.
    I later learned as the years passed he and his wife had 3 daughters..I always thought that was rather amusing. A chauvinist living with 4 women. It still makes me giggle.

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  7. when you speak of you travels and moving to other countries it never even occured to me to think thoughts like these, my thought went to how much i would fear strange places and getting lost and boats and planes. every time i hear someone say they want to go back to the 50's it think WHY? i lived them and there is nothing i want to go back to.

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  8. Great post for Woman's Day! I was privileged to develop and write the Domestic Conflict course for a Police Service. I worked with the Ministry of Justice, the Solicitor General and the Women's Ministry for a provincial wide course. This was not the first course I had written on this subject but it was the first where I had to combine domestic part with the generalized violence inflicted on women (in reality it is anyone of a perceived "lesser" status. It is all about power). I also had to do a deep dive into the statistics and the psychology involved. Thanks for sharing you adventures. You are awesome.

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  9. A great post for Women's Day. I chose a field of study where I was one of only 3 women in my class of about 70 total. When I started work the odds were about the same for most of the departments I worked in. The first department I worked in I was the only woman engineer and at lunch I often had to hear the men ogling the other women in the cafeteria so I started to loudly say "were you talking about that one?" while looking in the direction of the subject. They quickly learned to at least not do that when I was present. I'm sure they partook when I was elsewhere though.

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  10. Hi Yam - thanks for the thought provoking post and enlightening us ... and as you say - it goes on. All the best - Hilary

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  11. As a therapist my area of specialization was working with women and children survivors of violence, and it is always a concern and focus for me that we do our utmost to protect the vulnerable. We must indeed stay strong. I appreciate your balanced perspective. And I'm glad you got to immerse yourself so fully in India - what an enriching and life-altering experience.

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  12. Dear YAM-aunty you attracted some very interesting comments today. In Fs household they never celebrated Mothers Day (or Fathers for that matter) on the basis that you should honour respect and show your love for your mother every day. F's never heard of International Womens Day being a 'thing' before this year now lots of people are making a celebration of it. However like her parents view on mothers day, the things it seeks to represent, should be practised every day of the year. Fz & Pz Mr T

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    1. Hari OM
      It has a hundred year history... I wholeheartedly agree that the values and messages of such days are for everyday practice - but like all things which require 'practice' we need the occasional 'masterclass' to keep us focused. IWD is definitely something worth having as, each year, there is a specific area of global concerns highlighted - this year is the femicide rates in all societies. It is not so much a celebration day as a protest day.

      The commercialised "Hallmark" parents days I don't so much think necessary beyond the simple basics. The original, British Mothing Sunday has no connection with the festival of that name imported from the USA. Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or 'mother' church once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their 'mother' church. Inevitably the return to the 'mother' church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away returned home. It's likely that it was the return to the 'Mother' church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family. As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers to take to offer as a small gift... and thus traditions begin! Yxx

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  13. As I told my niece a day set aside gives a chance for women to honor those who came before and on whose shoulders we stand. It can, also, be a wakeup as to how much further we are to go to give our sisters and future generations the confidence he need to live their best lives. namaste, janice, xx

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