Is the sky bluer or the grass greener?

Word count: 1237 | Estimated time to read entry: 12 min

A few days ago, I was quite irked to notice the status message of one of my acquaintances over GTalk which went something like: “Women have to achieve twice as much as men to be considered capable. Thankfully, this is not very difficult.” Needless to say, the avower of such a message was a woman. (Thankfully, this is not very difficult to guess 😉 )

Even before I upturn a bottle of vinegar on the rest of this entry, let me inform the reader that I strongly detest debates on topics like – ‘women are better than men’ or ‘boys are less/more intelligent than girls’ etc. It is not that I don’t have any opinions on such topics nor am I overly enthusiastic to exhibit diplomacy and please both sides but purely because of the haplessness of such discussions. I am certainly not neutral; I just have a third opinion outside of the two that are being argued upon and hence this entry.

iStockPhoto

Pic Source: iStockPhoto

I came in contact with a few Women’s Rights Activists when I was a freelance features writer for The New Indian Express while working on an article that criticized some of the popular soaps being aired on TV. During this, I noticed that the WRAs not only waged a war for all of woman-kind’s rights but an alternate war over women who wore lipstick and skimpy clothes, on screen or otherwise, thereby stereotyping women. And in this battle they wanted ‘my help!’ in spreading the message. This notion of a warring faction internally at war with itself by seeking the help of one of the members of its ‘arch enemy’ didn’t make much sense to me. (And the very thought of women in lipstick and skimpy clothes disarms me, so what the hell do I wage a war with against them! 😛 )

When I joined TAPMI, there were a few outspoken ‘Women are Superior’ types in the class. During the debate sessions, I made a mental note of the most vociferous few who relentlessly argued on the topic, punctuating their opinions with a Indra Nooyi here and a Condoleezza Rice there. A few days later, we all had to take a bus on our way to the beach (for TAPMIans – QOTB) and as I had expected, these vociferous few were the ones who requested some of the guys to stand up to give them a seat! The arguments were left behind in the class and when it was time to display ‘equality’ by rubbing shoulders with us and bearing the rough ride of the journey by standing all the way, they chose to take the easy way out. One of the vociferous few asked me where my chivalry had gone, expecting me to offer her my seat. Instead, I pointed out that I was an ally of hers in her battle for equality; she has never spoken to me ever since but continues to be equally vociferous on the topic.

Another fallout of this battle is its effect on the English language. Writers like me have to be over-cautious to avoid the trap of ‘sexist language’ and make provisions for both sexes while citing opinions applicable to all of mankind humankind. (S)He has to take extreme precautions to avoid hurting the sentiments of her/his readers. This, combined with the fact that 90% of the editors of publications I have worked for have been women, makes it a lethal combination. One inadvertent male pronoun is enough to spill a gallon of edit ink on the write-up; two such and the groundnut seller’s stock of packing paper immediately increases.

But in my not-so-humble opinion, the very usage of such words denotes a sexist mindset. The deliberate reference to either sex by splitting the pronoun with a slash indicates that the writer discriminates between the two sexes and that very act, by definition, is sexist! A writer who has used a harmlessly generic ‘him’ might have the benign intention of involving every human being on earth but by mandating a split pronoun, a notion of sexism is actually forced. So with a lofty motive to actually end sexist language, it was in fact created. Very similar to the warring faction at war with itself and the vociferous few who turn tail when it comes to implementing the examples of their own classroom rhetoric, this is yet another self-contradicting aftermath of the ‘battle for equality’.

Anyone who doesn’t conform to the tenets of ‘Women are Equal’ movement is labeled MCP – Male Chauvinistic Pigs, by its confused followers. Here is one such reference on this blog targeted at me 😉 Such a reference reminds me of the movie ‘Taal’ in which Anil Kapoor proclaims in malicious glee, “Agar khud ko uncha dikhana hai, to doosron ko neecha dikhao…cut him down!” (Translation: If you want to show yourself as superior, show that others are inferior). If men appear as ‘excessively self-loving and greedy’ stereotypes to women, why can’t it be accepted and taken at face value? After all, men too stereotype women as ‘excessively conceited and forever nagging’ but none have so far coined a term, let’s say, FCB – Female Conceited Bitc**s, have we? 😉 😛

Unfortunately, one can’t claim to be equal by copy-pasting sentences from the internet as ones GTalk status message nor can battles be won by debates in classrooms or in mindlessly modifying pronouns. I wonder if any woman has protested against the rule that the first 3 seats in government run buses are reserved for women. Has any woman ever thought of forfeiting the quota reserved for women in all the government offices including the parliament? Preferential treatment is given only to those who are ‘considered’ weak and incapable to rise by themselves. In that case, reservations and quota are the first things women should fight against in their battle for equality because that is exactly what is to be defeated – the notion. I find it strange that many of the women are up in arms regarding the quota given to OBCs and SC/STs but are quite fine with the reservations and quota meant for women!

But as I said, I am neither for women fighting to eradicate this notion and be considered equal nor for men trying to counter react to this argument. I feel that men and women can never be equal and in so saying, I am not undermining the worth of either over the other.

Striving for equality only means that one has to sacrifice ones individuality to match the standards set by someone else. It is perhaps as ridiculous as the title of this blog entry because to create a perfectly scenic landscape, Nature chose to make the grass green and the sky blue. It would be quite a sight if all the grass were to turn blue in order to be ‘equal’ to the sky! And he enjoys the scene best who decides to accept the grass for its verdure in the same terms as the sky for its azure.

PS: For people, both men and women, who have missed the point altogether, I suggest you read this article I wrote for a management magazine on how feminine standards are a necessity to transform modern day corporate life and business mechanisms. (The magazine closed shop a few months afterwards but I swear my writings had nothing to do with it! 😛 )


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20 Responses

  1. Hey… A very different blog post… Unlike the humourous ones you usually write.. My own opinions on this topic are so detailed that i could myself write a post on it 😀

    Btw did you know a woman cant be tried for adultery in India even if its with her consent?… Its the man who gets convicted even in that case 😉

  2. hahahaa……………………good one man. i am in full support. your article encapsulates my feelings perfectly.Bravo

  3. Great post! And I completely agree !

    However, it is not entirely false that women have had to prove themselves twice as much as men to prove that they can be like men too. It comes from years of being bogged down and seen differently by the society. Even to this day, although there are many people that believe that women are almost on par with men, there are many many more that think otherwise.

    Unfortunately, in such circumstances, men do not want to support the women. They say the same thing as you did on your blog – why do they need men to support them if they think they’re equal? Whatever effort has been done by women themselves in the past (and in the present) it has never been recognised enough. Instead, men think that it is a vain effort on the part of women to “try” coming up to their levels.

    So now you know why women are always striving !

    Demanding equality is not because of any other reason but for some very prominent issues in the society. Like the right to work, right to equal pay, equal opportunities, not making a discrimination based on gender, etc. Its mainly for such issues that women are striving. However, I agree that men and women cannot be equal for obvious reasons.

    I’m just rambling off…..stop me stop me… :))

    • @ snippetsnscribbles

      You say you agree in line #1 of your comment and conclude with an exactly opposite sentiment – yet another of the self-contradictions adding to the 3 already stated in my blog. 😉

      I have mentioned, and i reiterate, that i don’t undermine the worthiness of one over the other. I see the effort itself as futile not because women can’t stand at par with men but because women should create and define the top level in their own terms. The other way of stating that is, even if all of womankind manages to stand at par with us in all respects, you have only equaled us!!!

      To draw a parallel, who is a genius – Shakespeare or Einstein? My answer is ‘Both’! It would have been ridiculous for Einstein to pen poetry ‘to try and match’ the amazingly high standard of genius set by Shakespeare centuries ago. And i think the theory of relativity and the concept of non-static time is as brilliant as the verses in Macbeth or the portrayals of Romeo and Juliet.

      Agree?

  4. FCB’s… Well, I had thought about it as well, but a slight mod. Female Complicated Bit**es.. 🙂
    And I had the exact same female through the post in mind that u were talking about 😉

    • @Paddy-

      Attaboy! We think alike!

      So who is that female you had in mind? I didnt have any in mind, beats me! 😛 😛 😛

  5. @PADDY & HRIDAY:; you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    about the post – quite true!! I think mostly whatevr u said is true! In most of the cases the intraclan fights are the root cause of downfall for a member!
    I wud say that with man and woman, there is a variety and its the spice of human life…

  6. The idea in her Gtalk message was all about women being capable and proving the same to society. So there is no question of one proving better than the other. How did you conclude it that way? 🙂

    “I have mentioned, and i reiterate, that i don’t undermine the worthiness of one over the other. I see the effort itself as futile not because women can’t stand at par with men but because women should create and define the top level in their own terms. The other way of stating that is, even if all of womankind manages to stand at par with us in all respects, you have only equaled us!!!” – Equality is what the whole idea is about. It is not about trying to prove better than men and thats what I meant in my message. Maybe I should’ve articulated it better 🙂

    And effort as being futile, I will not agree. You say women have to define the top level on their own terms. Wont that require an effort? That is exactly the effort that women are putting in. Twice as men. And in that process, we have had to prove ourselves twice as much better than men. That, however, doesnt mean that wmen are trying to overpower men and go one step higher. Twice the effort is only to reach that equality. Unfortunately, our society demands it.

    And lets not even get to Shakespeare and MacBeth!! Thats going too far 🙂 We have to deal with the little things first 🙂

    Also, I’m reminded – Feminism is also on the same lines. Being a feminist doesnt mean we want to prove ourselves better than men. It is only about equality. Equality in all the spheres of society.

    I hope this message makes some sense 🙂 You know what? Maybe I’ll do a post sometime 🙂

  7. //I feel that men and women can never be equal and in so saying, I am not undermining the worth of either over the other.//

    Couldn’t have said it better. I can’t say “they need to complement each other for the system to function, rather than be two (wo)men and tip the balance” without sounding like Captain Obvious. There. I said it anyway.

    I even dread the day feminists will expect grammar distortions like “The man left his/her hat on the rack”, but I digress.

    Came across your blog looking for blogs on cryptics. Didn’t find much other than the ‘aphis’ post. Do you have happen to have a cryptic crossword/cryptograms blog as well?

    g

    • @gauri-

      Glad you stopped by my blog and commented your thoughts….though i must admit they are quite ambivalent/obvious/digressive or perhaps that was the very intent?? 😉

      Litterateuse! i wonder why an attempt at feminizing the word litterateur? 😮

      No, i dont have any blog on cryptic crosswords. I have been solving them for a long time now but didnt find many who were like minded. hence saw no need of a blog.

      But i tweet on cryptics quite often. So join me on twitter if you pls.

  8. //though i must admit they are quite ambivalent/obvious/digressive or perhaps that was the very intent?? 😉 //

    Why, I thought the obviousness itself was pretty conspicuous. Must give it to you for figuring it out, though 😐

    //Litterateuse! i wonder why an attempt at feminizing the word litterateur? //

    I see you changed that question to a more politically correct one. Let me keep my er…attempt at a rejoinder to myself, in that case 😉

    I’ll add you on Twitter. I have a cryptic crosswords e-group. Unfortunately dormant now, but I plan to resume it soon. I generally try to send clues every week. You’re welcome to join in. There’s a convenient rack for wise-cracks just outside the door too 😐

    g

    • @ gauri –

      ooooooh! you got a sting, huh? and your grammar has significantly improved since the last comment! Thanks to me?? 😉

      Thanks for adding me on twitter. And yes, i must admit it is great fun to join a dormant community – cos i have never done that before. Will send the request right away!!! 😛

  9. I don’t see what the problem is…men have to work twice as hard to prove themselves good at what is considered women’s forte.. and those who disagree r plainly saying that they women have no strengths unique to them !!!

    and to comment on the literary piece that u almost always effortlessly compose…i really enjoyed the thought behind the last para

    • @ Myrtle Rego-

      I wont disagree with you and i am glad you like my literary touch in the last paragraph. That helps me make good pocket money and you are well aware of that! 😉

  10. I thought you restricted the “Offense is the best defense” technique only to telling people they’ve put on weight first 🙂

    So you’re either banking on your readers’ blind faith to take your word regarding anyone’s grammar, or plain questioning their intelligence & ability see for themselves. Anyhow, if you tell me how my grammar is any different – (bonus if you say how it’s improved) – I’d be happy to take tips from you.

    Perhaps if I practice enough, I will learn not to capitalize standalone I’s, proper nouns, letters that begin sentences, and use classier language like ‘cos’ and ‘pls’. And no, I won’t forget to thank you for it 😉

    g

    PS: Are you always hostile to everyone who visits your blog the first time and has something nice to say about your post, or am I special? Even nastiness is more fun if it has tact and subtelty 🙂

    I won’t comment here after this one. So whatever you say after this, you have the last word. I know this will go into moderation and you’ll conveniently choose not to publish it anyway.

    • @ gauri-

      Well, not exactly, especially since i dont know how heavy you are 😉 On which side of 80 kilos are you?

      If i minus your deliberately induced smileys, i wonder if your comments are anything but raw-hide, wherever i could make sense of ’em. Oh! Perhaps that’s what you term as tactful and subtle nastiness huh?!

      You seem to have derived new interpretations regarding my expectations from my readers. Frankly, it is NIL but readers who fancy a sense of humor, tactful and subtle or otherwise, might want to stay ready for a not- so- tactful/subtle response. (Deliberately induced smiley follows>> 😛 )

      Yes, you certainly are special because you are the first one to go over my comments and “incorrect grammar” with such fine detail. Hey, why don’t you scour through my entire blog and dig out more such instances? I might want to engage your nitpicking-for-free talent to improve my blog! “Do you have happen to have” time for that??

      The previous comment was wonderfully drafted – almost impeccable. Almost. You unfortunately forgot to add ‘to’ between the words ‘ability’ and ‘see’ in the 2nd line of the 2nd paragraph! You might not have heard of Muphry’s law i guess? (Muphry’s not Murphy’s) 😉 I know what you are thinking, “Damn! There goes my 3 hours for nothing!”

      PS: If you really wanted me to have the last word, you might have avoided this very comment as well and you would still be right. But since you didnt, i was compelled to reply to prove you’re right. 😉

      And again, your last sentence was certainly a way of ensuring your comment gets published so i “inconveniently chose to publish it” and prove you’re right again. So don’t you still get it? You certainly are very special, mummy 😉

      PSST: What would have been the “bonus” anyways?? 😉 And i went through all your comments once again and failed to notice “something nice”. Ciao!

  11. ha ha ha ha…..for the first time, I’ve had even more fun reading the comments and ur responses to them than the post itself! 😀

    • @ priyanka

      If you were to read my chat msgs with “some of my mallu (aka mannagatti) blog fans” you would certainly have even more fun. they are more hilarious than the comments and my responses to them 😀 😛

  12. DAD D!

    too good man! 🙂

  13. Great post. please publish my comment!

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