My Stalker Of The Decade Award Goes To This Guy

Hi sweet readers, today I have a juicy award announcement for you all.

You all know that a stalker is like the unwanted element in your life that you just don’t want to think about. But when the stalker approaches you in the form of a friend and you just never imagine this person to make a move on you and then he does and you tell him that it’s not happening and he takes rejection like a 3 year old kid (only the stalker harasses and abuses violently…) then what.

Have you seen movies where one second the guy is all knees down, totally in love with the girl and the next minute as she refuses his proposal, he is threatening to spill acid on her face?

This guy is a slight version of that film. A friend from high school who keeps making a move, and then I keep explaining that I don’t like him that way and then he refuses to understand until I get totally pissed off.

This is a decade long story, if I start to tell you from the beginning, this post will turn into an Indian TV Soap Opera.

But there are two super cliche things that happened this time which I wanted to share with you all;::

1- When the woman talk intelligently and question such men back, they instanly call her crazy, lonely, depressed, moron and

2- Guys who see women living a happy independent life on their own (without needing a man, specially not them), will go tooth and nail to suggest that she needs to ‘get married’ because she has a missing element in her life. 

The same guy, who thinks of himself as some sort of expert on women, also recommended few days ago that I should relax because my articles and blogs are about serious issues around women’s lives. (Referring to my post in the Telegraph about the murder of Qandeel Baloch).

According to him, women writing fiction love stories and other romantic stuff are happy and likeable while women writing on serious nonfiction stuff are somehow in trouble.

Friends,

time and again I face this harassment from people I know. They see me succeeding, my voice being heard in international media, my books being read by women facing hardships and my personal one-to-one HEART CHATS with any person who needs some advice or just a friend to talk to.

These people see me happy, content, truly peaceful in my zone. AND THEN THEY RECOMMEND I GET MARRIED.

Why such people don’t feel ashamed that this is NOT THEIR BUSINESS?

WHO ARE THEY TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIFE?

WHY DON’T THEY QUESTION THEIR STATUS BEFORE ASSUMING THEIR ADVICE IS NEEDED AT ALL?

I blocked this person from my life years ago.

And then in 2-3 years he would find me on some social media and get in touch.

And since I’m busy building my life and have totally moved on from his last idiotic thing, I would forgive him for old times sake and ask him how things were.

And within a week he would again make a move. I would then block him.

This has been happening for a decade plus now. Fortunately I’m not in the same country.

He also spread rumors in my school community that we dated back in school. What a loser! I just feel pity for him and more for his wife. Poor woman, how is someone ever going to put up with his bi-polar personality; one minute ‘Harry Met Sally’ and next minute, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’

Anyways, my STALKER OF THE DECADE AWARD TOTALLY GOES TO HIM.

Please find his conversation below and see how his motives change.

Also, please comment below and share your stalker stories and raise awareness about ‘friends-turned-stalkers’. 

Peace out friends!

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Even Women Are Not On Women’s Side (3 Evidences)

There are two major assumptions about women in our society:

The first one is:

1

And the second is:

2

The TRUTH:

Good women that support others (both men and women) exist AND so do awful women exist who find happiness bringing everyone down.

However, as a feminist, it seems so logical that as a woman I’ve got to be on MY side, right? How can I be a woman and NOT be in support of equality for womenkind! Totally absurd.

But as absurd as it sounds, there are women that I come across everyday who not only have no idea how they are being oppressed in the name of tradition, religion and trends… they actually are high on victim blaming for rapes and domestic violence. One might expect women to understand the pains of other women simply because their experiences might be similar and hence they might have compassion.

But as much as its wrong to assume that all women are enemies of each other, it’s also a mistake to assume that all women would understand each other’s troubles and fight for equality.

Millions of evidences exist, here are three:

3

Read this: 9 Female Celebrities Who’ve Bad-Mouthed Feminism

The second is:

4

And last among the million others is because:

5

If that wasn’t the case, this show wouldn’t be so famous in India. Read Why I Stopped Watching Comedy Nights With Kapil years ago, here. More like Patriarchy Nights With Kapil.

Friends, in a misogynistic society, we all need to develop our critical thinking skills and EDUCATE ourselves about things that make an impact on us. Women are half the humankind, why would we not support their equality and human rights, regardless of our gender?

If you do come across such demeaning jokes, messages or incidents, please do your due diligence and become an active bystander. Begin by learning from videos like this:

What to do when you see gender violence around...

Please share your thoughts and stories.

Love,

Shahla

The Damn Indian Wedding Season: 8 Excuses To Pressurize & Manipulate Single People To Get Married…

I have seen Reese Wither-spoon and Katy Hie-gel romantic comedies as much as the next person. Sharukh’s romantic gestures and Hugh Grant’s soulful eyes  bring tears and choke my throat as much as the next persons but that doesn’t mean I must jump into marriage with the next Melvin that asks me out.

Winter season in India means two things:

1- Lavish, show off weddings and

2- Ruining lives of all the single people by making them feel guilty. 

Now, if you don’t know a lot about the Indian culture, you might ask, why would you feel guilty by being single. It’s your life after all, you making any personal decision doesn’t impact anyone but you.

But that’s NOT the case in my society. I NOT getting married is apparently causing insomnia to my parents, their neighbors, their friends, the far off relatives who I haven’t seen in last 8 years, the street dog, the local laundry lady, the house help and every single thing that moves in 2000 mile radius.

The 8 most common excuses used by family to manipulate you and emotionally blackmail you into getting married are extracted from a real conversation. Tell me how many have you come across?

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I believe whether it is the decision to marry or divorce; it must be self motivated without doubts, fears and obligation. That’s it. Is it really such a difficult thing to understand?

To Dream Or Give Up- Mindy Project Just Got A Little Too Real

Can ambitious women ever have a good family life?

Last night’s episode of The Mindy Project got a little too surreal.

I’ve been a long time fan of the show and was always able to relate to the character of Mindy Lahiri in many ways.

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After the glorious and fun dating phase ended, the show descended into the more serious and deeper problems of a matured, grown up couple.

Now its all about baby responsibilities and adjustments. While marriage is something Mindy always wanted, now that it’s happening… it’s taking a toll on her. 

Yes, its easy to say that now we live in a liberated society where career women exist and several cool companies like Netflix are making it ever more possible for parents to juggle work and family.

But I suppose, you reach in that stage once you find a guy who is willing to be half responsible for a baby. May be, it’s just me but I don’t know how many men in general are happy to clean up baby diapers while mommy is away? If you have one, you’re really fortunate. But I’m sure there aren’t many. At least not around me, so before you judge me to be sexist; just assume I’m unfortunate.

So what about the rest? Should we compromise and give up on our careers and dreams to stay home and make babies?

Or do we stay single and may be adopt or make one with a donor, as and when we might like?

More importantly, why wouldn’t men want to take half the responsibility of raising a child? I asked this question to few and most of them said “that’s what my father did. That’s how the grand father did. They never got involved with anything baby. It was all the mother’s job”. 

To that I said “your grandfather and father used to ride horses and donkeys, why are you driving cars then?”

As usual, the conversation pretty much either ends there or gets messy. You know that stage when someone know how stupid they sound and they have no logical reasonable explanation but they rather stick to their self illusions rather admit they need to change.

It’s all about convenience, isn’t it?

Just because it is convenient, you are driving a car and not riding a donkey like your grandfather.

But raising a baby is inconvenient. It needs patience, sleepless nights, hard work… so why don’t we use the same old tradition,woman’s place and all those bull shit excuses and simply don’t partake any role in parenting.

There are dads that I see who flaunt their fatherhood on social media profiles boldly. And it gives me hope… hope that not all fathers are too distant, too manly, too aloof to be dads, not just fathers.

My mother stayed at home by choice and father participated in raising us despite working. I guess when you live in another country away from your family then its only the two of you who have to be there. You cannot rely on your mother-in-law or sister-in-law to help out. Hence the dad has no excuse but to be there. That worked out greatly in our favor but dad has participated equally in raising my little brother even when things changed. He wakes my brother up, gets him ready for school, drops him, picks him, arranges his school things while mom helps with homework and other regular chores. And its perfect…

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When Danny was giving Mindy a hard time for starting another business venture, she did her best to explain that the kid will not be neglected. And if Danny was so worried, why doesn’t he give up on his career and stay at home! That’s where most men falter, because they have no other excuse but the same old, I’m a man and I can’t stay home. Well, why should she?

I loved the movie The Intern starring Robert Di Nero and Anne Hathaway in which her husband is a stay at home dad despite being previously a super successful professional. Having a partner who understands your dreams and is willing to see you fly, is such a blessing.

The Mindy Project has been my super fav show and I’ll continue watching it but the problems are getting too serious and I really hope to see some good resolution of this career or home dilemma, the character is currently facing.

Love,

Die-hard fan of TMP 🙂

Fired and proud? I most certainly am! Female Academics and the Dress Stereotyping

This article is an extension to the discussion on female academics and their dressing initiated by Francesca Stavrakopoulou through her article ‘Female academics: don’t power dress, forget heels – and no flowing hair allowed’.

Francesca has very well put the policing and discrimination of women’s bodies by the society and in particular academia. There is no doubt about the sexist assumptions about a woman’s intellectual capacities based on her appearances. However my story went a little too extreme.

I was offered a position at a university in Dubai (name of institution remains anonymous). I was in the UK when I got the job offer and fascinated by the charm of the golden land, I decided to pursue it.

The first shock hit me during the induction by our HR where my male colleague signed the employment contract for a salary of 17000 Dirham per month while I was offered only 12000, despite negotiation.

Fast forward 25 days, I got fired! Reason: I objected to the management’s notice that was circulated to female staff ordering them to wear skirts and trousers to look ‘professional’ (read: sexy). It was the first year of the university and in order to attract students, the management wanted to sexualize and objectify female staff (bodies) which would give the students the impression that we were a modern and progressive culture institution.

As a female academic, it offended me deeply because there are times of the month when I want to be really comfortable and most importantly, my contract did not specify that I was supposed to be wearing a uniform as such. In a multi cultural institution, how can all female academics be forced to wear in a certain way?

I wrote back to the HR explaining my concerns but as I doubted, it was not the HR lady behind the circular, it was the VP and the male management. Despite the email confidentiality clause in every academic email, he got involved in the matter and called me in to harass me for voicing my opinion. He wanted me to apologize and beg to keep the job. I only said that it wouldn’t happen again and left.

When they harassed me again, this time in group, I took the matter to Dubai Courts. They instantly fired me. I did win the initial arguments and got flight tickets back to the UK which they gave just so I wouldn’t go ahead with my allegations in the court. I didn’t because I had run out of my savings staying in hotels and needed to get a grip of my life as soon as possible.

I returned back to the UK without a spoon of my own in the country. Began life from scratch. Yet, I learned few substantial lessons:

  1. No matter what’s in my brain, people judge me by my body and what I wear.
  2. No matter what, I must always stand for what I feel is right no matter what the price.
  3. Getting fired from a job can be an adventurous story.

I know some people would say that I went too far to be politically correct. I should have gone with the flow like the other twenty female academics. Why did it matter so much to me?

As the HR lady once told me in secret, “just play along and give fake smiles until you find a better position elsewhere and the moment you do, dump this job and laugh on their face.”

I know that most people there were just faking hard work because all they wanted was to move ahead, as they told me themselves. But I found it unethical to just play along when I wasn’t comfortable with the harassment and constant critiquing by the male management staff. Within a few days of my work, I had arranged five field trips for our students at Dubai’s most exciting businesses and factories. I was a competent employee and couldn’t fake hard work like others advised me to.

Being a woman in this world is difficult enough and academia is no exception. I am a person of color and twice I have been questioned what I was doing in the staff area at my university in the UK since students are not allowed to be there. When I would flash my staff card, they would get embarrassed and say “you look so young; I mistook you for a student”.

Francesca raised a wonderful point that when men dress in a jeans and hoodie, look shabby, they are too occupied in their work as presumed by the society. God forbid a woman dresses that way!

Why do Indians Continue to Reinforce Ignorant Messages About Feminism and Gender Based Violence?

Feminism gone wrong

Recently a Bollywood film called ‘Mardaani’ was released starring the famous actress Rani Mukherjee. The movie is kind of inspired by the famous Hollywood movie ‘Taken’ starring Liam Neeson but with a female Police inspector. For instance, Liam Neeson shoots one bad guy in the end and says “it was all personal to me” that has been changed to “every war is personal” in this movie.

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The film itself may be great for pure entertainment but since it has been promoted in the name of ‘raising awareness’ about human trafficking and inspiring girls to be ‘mardaani’ which means MANLY in English, it is a classic example of feminism gone wrong.

As a feminist and an author in gender based violence prevention, I am outraged with the widespread ignorance of the director, writers, actors and the media that is promoting the movie. Recently, the actress, two activists and a Police Commissioner were on a show called The NDTV Dialogues – The Business of Human Trafficking where they further discussed it and promoted other myths about rape prevention and feminism. Here are a few pointers:

  1. The title of the film Mardaani

Activist Ruchira Gupta pointed out the title of the movie in the very beginning and Rani defended it in a very lame and vague manner quoting ‘khoob ladi mardani wo to Jhansi waali rani thi’; a quote that was written in the honor of the Queen of Jhansi who was a leading warrior in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In English it means, the queen who fought like a man was the queen of Jhansi.

The poet who wrote these lines considered the word mardani (meaning manly or like men) appropriate in 1857 because it was the age when women did not vote, barely worked outside homes, certainly were not self reliant and had no rights. It was brave of a woman in 1857 to go to war alongside male companions hence the comparison makes sense in 1857.

In the 21st century however, promoting a message to women that to survive in this world, you’ve to be manly is absolutely ridiculous.

To put it in the words of Allison Pearson

“Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman.”

But this goes beyond just the ridiculous title.

Promoting messages like this reinforces the misconceptions about masculinity and femininity in the society. These are the specific myths we are trying to fight against to teach healthy and positive gender images in the minds of young men and women. Teaching women to enjoy womanhood the way they like without feeling guilty and ensuring men break their so called gender box of masculinity and breathe free like a human being.

In the Western world we are fighting the ‘you throw like a girl’ mentality and what Rani mentioned about the title is exactly the opposite of that.

Im-very-definitely-a-woman-and-I-enjoy-it.Marilyn-Monroe-quotes

  1. The emphasis on Martial Arts as a method to prevent rape

Few times Rani mukherjee mentioned about her ‘research’ and encouraged women and men to take up martial arts to prevent rape. She goes as far as making it mandatory at schools for children since the age of 3 to learn how to kick and punch.

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I can understand that she did some kicking and punching in the movie and the adrenaline rush in her veins is excited about it but sorry, Rani is wrong again.

I do not have a problem with learning any form of self defense. But mentioning self defense in the context of rape reinforces ‘victim blaming’.

It creates the false notion that if you know how to kick and punch, you can escape rape. Let me ask you a few questions:

What if the rapist has a gun or a knife?

What if the victim is a baby or a 70 year old woman?

What if the victim is physically challenged or mentally ill?

What if the victim is a dead body lying peacefully in her grave?

(I am asking these questions because this is the reality of rape)

In no case, anyone must blame the victim or make her feel that “aw poor you, only if you took those self defense classes I recommended when you were in high school. But don’t worry, now that you have been raped, you know better”.

This is a way of placing the responsibility to prevent rape on the victim instead of the rapist.

Research also suggests that one of the biggest myths about rape is that the rapist is a strange nasty man who comes in the dark and does his nasty and disappears in the night.

Acquaintance, date, and spousal rape is dramatically more prevalent than stranger rape. In a study published by the Department of Justice, 82% of the victims were raped by someone they knew. The Department of Justice also found that among victims 18 to 29 years old, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the rapist. 

These women are manipulated into love, promise and abused later. Where is the chance to kick and punch as Rani suggests? A ton of researchers also point out the impact of trauma on the human brain- the fight, flight or freeze response. Which means; no matter how much you practice kicking and punching, you may or may not have the same reaction towards a rapist when attacked. There is a whole lecture that I can offer you on the neurobiological impacts of trauma on the brain but for now you need to know that self defense is NOT the main tool to prevent rape. And also, all people have different reactions to trauma and attack.

  1. Being powerful can prevent rape and sexism

This also brings me to another myth about power and self defense. Men are supposedly more powerful than women, right? Yet men get raped too. Rarely do they report it because of the social stigma attached to it and our so called glamour of masculinity that convinces men to believe that they are not manly if they have been raped.

Excluding men from the category of rape victims is sexist and ignorant.

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Please stop seeing and propagating rape issue as ‘men vs women’ issue. The reality is that rape and human trafficking impact both genders, although not equally. But as long as the community of men in general is attacked in the media, of course men will defend themselves and a wall between men and women is created.It is NOT about power. If you don’t believe me, go to any social media platform and read the comments underneath any political figure’s sexist remark.

It instantly becomes a gender war. It does not have to be like that. Women and men have to be friends, be allies in the war against gender based violence and only then these weeds can be uprooted.

  1. Failure to differentiate between voluntary sex work and human trafficking

Whenever there is a discussion on human trafficking, the subject of voluntary prostitution always comes up and it is crucial for every individual to know that there is a difference between the two.

Yes, there is a group of women who prefer to work as a sex worker out of their own free choice. The subject is highly debatable and there have been very strong debates around the world on it. You are entitled to your opinion and follow it with pride but making others uncomfortable about their choices isn’t right.

Law

India is a country where prostitution is legal yet sex workers are treated like criminals.

The most recent case was the arrest of Shweta Basu Prasad, a young former actress who was arrested for prostitution. Why would a prostitute be arrested in a country where sex trade is legal? You can read the BS here about her case.

During the roundtable on the NDTV show, there was no mention of these voluntary sex workers and Rani even loudly defended that no woman wants to be in the sex trade. Clearly, another display of ignorance.

There are unions of sex workers in Karnataka and other states and the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee is a collectivization of 65,000 of them.

The police, the law and Indian citizens that make up the society of India have acute double standards towards sex work due to orthodox religious and cultural norms. Probably this is why no one mentioned it in the talk.

Whether or not prostitution must be sold as a commodity is NOT the question here. When India legalized prostitution, this was already decided, so it is said and done. The issue to talk about is the criminalization of prostitutes and victims of human trafficking alike when neither is guilty.

If a country’s constitution guarantees the rights while the society and law officials fail to provide those rights, it is either ignorance or plain hypocrisy.

This roundtable was a good platform to discuss and differentiate between the two and encourage society to respect sex workers and accept them and inform practitioners and the society about it.

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  1. Lopsided view of Human Trafficking

The title keyword of the movie promotion and the show was human trafficking. In reality, Human trafficking is when a person is forced, coerced, or manipulated to work against their will. This work includes anything from domestic servitude to sex trade and everything in between. The victims of human trafficking are young children, boys and girls as well as men and women.

Yet, when human trafficking is discussed in the media, sexual exploitation takes over. Specifically in movies (Umrao Jaan, Chameli, Chandni Bar, Mardaani) the emphasis is only on sex trade. Why? Simply because “sex sells”.

There are a huge number of people involved in the organ trade and migrant work. Hundreds if not thousands of migrant workers travel from India and Nepal (and other countries) to the Middle East in hopes of a better life but return home in coffins. But who would watch a movie with twenty dark skinned poor laborers packed in a tiny 5 by 5 dorm?

A migrant workers' labour camp, Qatar.

Just watch the trailer of the movie Mardaani and all you’ll see is nudity and a strong character oriented police officer (like millions of other movies). There is no raising awareness as Rani claimed in the round table because if it was, at least in the interview they would have discussed other forms of modern day slavery extensively.

This view is also sexist because it favors or rather sees only children and females as victims. I am a woman and all for women’s rights but I am a human first and from how I see it; human trafficking affects both genders and we must raise awareness and support to help both, not just the females. Doesn’t feminism protect men’s rights as well?

The movie reminded me much of Taken but Taken was way better because it was NOT promoted as a movie on human trafficking but rather as an experience of an extra ordinary cop and a father. There is a reason why documentaries and other movies don’t fall under the same category.

Conclusion

There are several other ways in which the roundtable and the movie could have been a highly rewarding and informational platform to shine the light on human trafficking yet it was nothing but an emotional outburst or a film promotion stunt in the name of raising awareness. When people say that thanks to the movie, the topic of human trafficking is at least in the mainstream media, they are just kidding themselves.

Just talking about an issue in the mainstream media is never enough. India has been talking about rape for years but rape statistics are still alarming because what the politicians, actors and journalists comment is not always informational. On the contrary most of their remarks are either sexist or filled with myths which reinforce the opposite of what needs to be achieved. It does more harm than good when words are chosen without thinking and research.

I believe the intent of the movie and the show might have been to raise awareness but half knowledge is extremely dangerous. Specifically when people speak on large platforms like this where each word they say is heard by millions of their fans who almost worship them, they must be more careful and make a genuine effort to actually learn about the issue first.

 

The deepest disturbing fact about India is not rape or human trafficking. It’s the prevalence of ignorant people with access to media who reinforce myths about these issues in the name of raising awareness.

 

The Last Thing You MUST Know About #Blurred Lines

#Blurred Lines has been one of the most talked about phrases since the song based on the same name created havoc last year. 

In case you haven’t heard it, you can easily find it on Youtube. It was banned at many student organisations due to the sexist lyrics and for promoting misogyny and rape culture. 

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On the one hand you will see feminists protesting against the usage of this phrase completely rejecting its premise while on the other hand you will find a large number of young people who believe otherwise. Let’s dig deeper and find out what it means and why it’s important.

In the hook up culture, sexual double standards prevail, we all know that. This means, women who are open about their choices, dating preferences and lifestyle are often labelled as ‘promiscuious’ (using the better word).

Those women who want to date or have random one night stands but without being called promiscuois must do it the ‘good girl’ way- meaning, they should reflect blurred lines. 

If you believe this, you are in for a loooooooooonnnggggggg trouble!

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The TRUTH About Women- for Men

Gone are the days where girls had to pretend to be anything. Most women now are open about their choices. If they want to be with a man, they will not only tell him but also fight for him when needed. Whatever name you call, women don’t really care anymore because they are much more open mided than you think. If she is not going for you, she really really really doesn’t like you. Instead of taking that on your EGO and trying to convince yourself that she wants it, you must take some lessons in handling rejections and get on with your life. You cannot rape everyone who rejects you and you cannot murder every employer who trashes your CV. The earlier you learn this lesson, the better it is. Most of the times, it is not even about you. Don’t take it too personal and move on.

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The TRUTH About #BLURRED LINES- for Women

You may be dating someone or you may like them and you have or haven’t thought yet about sharing a bed. 

No one but you, has the right to decide whether you want to sleep with someone or not, and when.

Sometimes, you just meet someone, you like them, you feel the chemistry but you dont want to sleep with them instantly. You don’t even have to have a reason for it, you just don’t. This can happen with men too by the way.

The moment you hear the other person say “oh come on, you know you want it”… my suggestion is………..

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RUN!!!!

Run as fast as you can, and don’t look back! Trust me you won’t regret!

 

Why am I so confident?

When people say “oh come on, you know you want it” what they really mean is “I cannot use force or aggression straight away because I fear prison, so I am trying to MANIPULATE you into thinking that YOU are the one who wants it”.

There are many sorts of rapes and the three most common you hear are:

  1. Date Rape
  2. Acquaintance Rape and
  3. Stranger Rape

We fear most the last one, the stranger rapes because most often there is a use of a weapon or force. But guess which one of the three kinds has the largest number of victims???

Its the acquaintance rape! It is also the most UNDER REPORTED rape kind.

Date rape is usually in a car or somewhere quiet after a date but acquaintance rape happen at people’s own homes and hang out areas, dorm rooms, libraries etc. This is because there is an element of trust involved. The rapist is a trust authority or friend and the victim has no idea of what is coming. Taking advantage of someone’s trust is plain crime, there is no blurred line about that. Just because someone trusts you enough to be with you, does not make give you the right to break that trust.

Blurred lines is the phrase used by these offenders to:

  • firstly manipulate the victim to think that she ‘asked for it’ or ‘she liked it’ when she didn’t.
  • secondly to force her to blame herself post rape, that will ensure no reporting

Manipulation is more powerful and more commonly used in rape than a weapon.

When it comes to dating, we may take our time to decide whether or not we like someone to go out with them again. Even if we don’t and our friends or someone else thinks we make a good couple, sometimes we consider it and say “OK I will give it another chance”.

However when it comes to sex, there is NO #BLURRED LINE.

We know if we want it or not, straight away.

And if you have to try to convince yourself to have sex with someone, you are NOT doing yourself any good.

“I owe him sex, he paid for the dinner”

“He brought me that expensive gift, may be I must reciprocate”.

“I have to look cool, I have to do this to get popular”.

“I am married to him, it’s his right”. WRONG

Neither of these are good reasons to sleep with someone and the worst one is “he said I wanted it, may be I do but I just don’t know it yet”.

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Sex is an expression of your body and your connection with peace and pleasure. Who you have it with, must be your choice based on your feelings. Even if you want it and half way though you change your mind for whatever reason, you still have the right to STOP and walk away. 

There is NO blurred line even if you stop halfway through the sex.

I hope that clarifies the never ending blurred lines debate and make sure everyone understands that blurred lines mean plain and simple manipulation. Now you know what to do next time when someone says “you know you want it”.

 

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The Story of Maryam Mirzakhani and a Misogynist

It began when I met my friends, a married couple for coffee.

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Hey Adam, did you see this news about Maryam Mirzakhani?

No, what is it about?”

“Well, she is a professor at Stanford University, now the first woman ever to win the Fields Medal, the highest honor possible for a mathematician and she is from your country!” I boasted as I shared her photograph on my phone.

After a moment he said, “She doesn’t look very pretty”.

My brows creased instantly “what do you mean? This is not a beauty contest. This is the highest honor in an academic field”.

He casually responded “Well, yeah but for a woman it is more important to be pretty and sexy.”

At this point I pause and ponder. This is a man who loves his wife, helps her equally with household chores, provides for her, supports her, is all for respecting women and he still has such a perverted and orthodox view about women.

I remarked “you know what Adam, a woman’s dignity or value is not attached to her face or body but rather to her personality and her contributions to her family and the society”.

“Yeah well, blah blah no one believes in that crap. Soon enough she will marry a ———— and then ————- and…” and I stopped him right there.

“Adam, if you cannot speak well of anyone, please don’t speak ill and especially not about some woman who deserves so much respect” and I left.

In this story above, I have changed the name of my friend and his actual comments about Professor Maryam’s appearance. His remarks were derogatory and vulgar. In pure and simple words, this is sexual objectification. Despite the remarkable achievements of a woman, she is not appreciated by all people equally because she is a woman and needs to be objectified first. What a pathetic society we live in…

 

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Misogyny is much farther spread than you think

We all are tied in social bonds with many different types of people at work, school and home. We also usually have assumptions about them and think that we ‘know’ them. We see the news of killing spree’s like the one that happened last May in California. The killer Elliot Rodger is our typical example of a Misogynist; a young man who was allegedly seeking ‘retribution’ against women and ended up killing both men and women in double numbers. In this article, you can also read about the typical misogynist societies and forums running online where men like Elliot can find a platform to share their violent and hateful ideas.

Nevertheless, these forums are not the only places where misogynist dwell and these young men are not the only men who hate women.

Ordinary, married men like Adam are misogynist too. They pretend to be all loving and caring for their wives, sisters and daughters but their love and care is highly flawed. They do care for people who they love and would offer place to a woman on a crowded bus. But they also believe that women must be kept at home. They see women as an object of desire first and may be a human second, if at all.

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These are the ‘in-betweeners’ of the misogynist and feminist men. In public they say they are all for women’s education and rights while in their homes they fail to practice it. In fact, thanks to the feminist movement, one great thing that has happened is the loss of prestige for such people. If a man disrespects a woman publically, or makes a sexist remark at work or even at a public space, chances are people will frown and even confront the man. Evidence can be seen from the very many episodes of What Would You Do where strangers in public places are seen openly speaking up against sexists and abusers. This has led to the discrediting and loss of prestige for those who used to think it is manly to be sexist.

This phenomenon of two forces against each other has created a new category of men: the hidden misogynist. I suppose these are men, confused within them. They can be seen through either the glass half full lens or the half empty lens.

One can argue that these are men were told to dominate women for years until recently and they are now coming to terms with their masculinity and feminism.

Or on the other hand, these are the men who only superficially pretend to be supportive of women’s rights in social situations to maintain a good status.

Either ways, misogyny is deep-rooted in our culture and beliefs and both men and women can be misogynist. Don’t be surprised when I say women because I have literally met women who believe that they deserve to be battered by their husbands and that their ‘eternal salvation’ will be cancelled if their controlling freak of a husband is unhappy with them.

My suggestion: QUESTION YOUR IDEOLOGIES

  1. Whether you are a man or a woman, question your assumptions constantly.
  2. Learn and educate yourself about feminism and humanism.
  3. Follow the always SPARKLE philosophy:
  • Status of respect
  • Power of speech
  • Access to freedom
  • Right to happiness
  • Knowledge and education
  • Love not lust
  • Existence as an equal

If you have all these elements of a SPARKLE, as a rule of thumb you are not a misogynist and if you wish the same for all men, women, trans, children, elderly and even animals alike, you are not a sexist either.

I hope that more people celebrate brilliant women like Maryam Mirzakhani and believe the wonders that women can do only if provided an opportunity. From Hollywood to Bollywood, I see women dancing around in skimpy clothing as if this is the most they can do. That’s their only potential. This is pure misogyny and dehumanizing on every level.

On the contrary, I would love to see more Maryams and Baroness Warsis not just in academia  but also in movies, music, arts, business and politics and I can only wonder how beautiful the world would be then.

“That’s the true beauty of a woman Adam, remember that”.

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