“These people saw my jeans. What they did not see was how much I fought everyday to assert my right to wear them.”

Sharing an email from The Vamp.

Dear IHM,

I am writing to you today, just to say thanks.

I wrote to you because I find a kindred spirit in you; reading this blog has saved my happiness and life.

Earlier, being a part of the patriarchal system as a DIL married into an orthodox household, I was upset without realizing what exactly I was upset for. Like I said earlier, I unsuccessfully tried to kill myself. Although I had been suffering from these suicidal bouts ever since I was in my pre-teens, the depression exacerbated itself after marriage when things got more real.

In your blog, I found some rationale for a lot of thoughts that were going on in my mind.

My parents were the best. Still, why was it that many of their thoughts upset me?

Why was I angry with so many people who were fat-shaming me? After all it happened to everyone else.

Why was I constantly pushed by a need to prove myself the best everywhere and constantly worrying about it, be it academically or professionally?

Why was it an ultimate feat for me to pass two SSC exams, one CLRI interview, and one public service commission exam, topping two university entrance tests, but without being really interested in them?

Why did I want to slap everyone who had ridiculed me for a totally unrelated thing (my being fat) with my academic and professional achievement?

Why did I dress badly and eschew feminine appearance just to prove myself strong, although I really loved delicate, flimsy and hot pink ‘feminine’ clothing?

Why did I take pride in being a tomboy in my teens even though I was quite the opposite internally?

Why was I trying to show off my skill with patriarchal beliefs, customs and traditions after marriage?

But even when being lauded for these efforts, why was I still unhappy and suicidal?

Though counseling helped me calm my mind, your blog answered a lot of these questions.

Today, I am still the same introvert. I am still what you’d call overweight, although pretty. But, I am at peace. I am no poster child for feminism. But, I have found my own comfort zone between conservativeness and liberation. At least I know what liberation looks like.

The most important change, however is, regardless of my beliefs, I am willing to push myself for others’ rights to live the way they want, whether or not I agree with it. I may not wear minis, but I will advocate someone else’s rights to wear them.

Some people say feminism goes too far. They think I have everything anyone would want so what is this whole fuss about? It seems that a woman being a postgraduate, wearing jeans and going to work in a corporate company represent the pinnacle of gender equality. It is not. As in my case, taking things for granted can kill you.

These people saw my post graduation. They never noticed that had I been less inhibited about myself living as a woman with limits, I would have done a doctoral in Scotland. They would have noticed that the very reason I chose Science was not because it was my passion, or I was good at it, or I was intelligent (the latter two, I am, truth be told), but because that was what my brother did and other peers considered smart. I chose this stream because I was ashamed of choosing English literature or History, lest I be looked down upon and teased further for being so benign. I abandoned my real passion and chose a stream that was considered more ‘male oriented’ and therefore, ‘intelligent’.

These people saw my jeans. What they did not see was how much I fought everyday to assert my right to wear them, no matter what others thought. What nobody saw was me walking into a clothing store to get a jeans my size (I’m not that big; I wear 34/36) and the shopkeepers giggling at me as if I had asked for a condom (which too isn’t fair). They did not notice how self-conscious I felt about my not so slim figure and always had reservations walking out, which my parents tried to fix by advising me “not to wear jeans as you don’t have the figure for it”. Nobody cared about all the subtle jibes and stares I was subject to, not because I looked bad in jeans (which is totally false as I know I am pretty and fashionable), but because I defied all those invisible rules set for overweight women, overweight fair women, overweight fair women from a conservative community, overweight fair women from a conservative community who wanted to look ‘respectable’. Finally, nobody stood by me when my in-laws passed diktats against jeans, citing that “married girls must look married” and that “you are not a college student anymore” and “what willchaar log think”. Nobody knew that the very act of wearing jeans was a battle I fought every day.

These people saw me working. They never noticed the compromises I made by moving in to my husband’s home after marriage, thus putting me 10 km further from my workplace. They never cared that after ‘work’, I had a second shift at home. They thought I had a maid so I must be having fun at home because after all that’s what working women do; neglect the home and go mad about their career. They never cared that my in laws have an eating/sleeping schedule which just does not support the wavelength of an average corporate employee. They watched me go to movies with my newlywed husband but never noticed me falling asleep on his shoulder due to severe exhaustion.

Feminists told me to get a divorce. Patriarchs told me to suck it up. Feminists said my husband was a jerk. Patriarchs said I was a loser. Everyone said I and my husband were idiots. But, nobody helped me live. Nobody helped US be. Everyone said we ought not to have married, but nobody guided us, two confused people and victims of Indian culture, on the right path to go about.

Your balanced views, on the other hand, helped me find that right zone where I was happy, being a non-confrontational person, without giving up on my rights. For once, I knew what, considering my strengths and weaknesses, I had to do to protect my rights. Firstly, I got to know what my rights were. With this strength, I got about making my life happy. It’s still in progress, but I can say I and my husband have both found that place where we are happy and respect each other’s differences. We only have to walk up there.

Thank you IHM, for all this.

Regards

Vamp

And then in response to my email:

Yes, of course I am at this stand today because I staunchly believe in feminism, that is to say, the textbook definition of feminism. I don’t however, support radicalism or militancy that many people do in the name of feminism.

 

 

35 thoughts on ““These people saw my jeans. What they did not see was how much I fought everyday to assert my right to wear them.”

  1. What is this ‘looking married’ business? I don’t get it. :-O

    Also I recently read ‘The mother-in-Law’ by Veena Venugopal. What a shocker it was.

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    • Oh hell yeah N. They think young girls have to look like aunties to be perceived as ‘respectable’ after marriage.

      My community is quite conservative so I have heard this comment and other traditional sexism a lot and I am not very baffled as this is not something very new. Of course, I do not believe in it myself but I am just not very shocked or surprised.

      It’s also not a very big surprise for me to be expected to be obedient towards elders. I do not like it, but most of the time I do not have much qualms with it as I find most of these people too irrational to talk to. So I just make my act as non-confrontational and interact with them as less and impersonally as possible.

      Yes it is often not 100% the way I would have liked it, but like most youngsters from conservative communities, I focus more on things that demand more importance – like my passions, health, education, and career. Until these are trifled with, I am mostly fine.

      Yes it is annoying to be told to wear a bindi and jasmine flowers when I am dressed in western wear. But doing it before them for the time being and removing it the moment I step out of the house has lower risk, collateral damage and effort than rationalizing or even arguing with them. Let’s say I don’t like wasting my energy on stupid things and prefer being on autopilot mode.

      On the plus side, these people do notice that I am very nonchalant and indifferent towards them and sometimes try to come round. Arguments, talking and confrontations, on the other hand, always end badly because all ‘oldies’ seem to live with a grandiose sense of self-worth.

      I find most 40 plus people too stubborn and beyond logic to have any intelligent conversation with, so people like IHM here and a few of my 40-plus friends earn a lot of my respect, just for being an exception in their own generational crowd. I know it’s my arrogant 20-something self speaking, but I find even conservative 20-somethings more reasonable than 40+ somethings. I can be very wrong, of course, just something I have noticed. I don’t know how far this is true. I hope IHM can shed some light on it.

      So I totally understand if a traditional ‘oldie’ asks me to be traditional too. I would even have some respect for them as they aren’t asking me to do what they haven’t done themselves.

      Why my FIL’s comments bother me is because of the double standards. As tradition goes, it is unacceptable in my community for men to drink and be out of the house after nightfall, unless it is official work. Men are supposed to wear the traditional vibhooti/thiruman on their foreheads as much as women are expected to wear kumkum. Men are supposed to… well… for everyone’s convenience let’s call it “pray” every morning and evening at set timings. Men are expected to recite some scriptures and do some poojas also. Men are supposed to wear the traditional dhoti whenever women wear the traditional 9 yards.

      So although these traditions are quite gender-conformist, they were pretty equal in their responsibility and work distribution for men and women.

      My FIL does almost none of this. In addition, he smokes and drinks to the point of intoxication bang in the middle of the house. In my community, this is almost a mortal sin. If my FIL were a son or grandson now, he would have been thrown out of the house.

      So when he isn’t a beacon of tradition himself, he has no rights to tell me or anyone else to behave traditionally. Of course, he has no rights anyway to “tell me”, but these double standards annoy me even further. A drunk wife-beater telling me to stop wearing jeans because it is important for family honor. What a load of crap!

      Ironically, “chaar log” are more concerned about his drinking-smoking-wife beating habits with respect to “family honor” than my wearing jeans or defying tradition. Even these “chaar log” are less sexist in their discrimination than my FIL.

      I understand orthodoxy and rituals. What I don’t understand is these people who call themselves the upholders of tradition keeping only those rituals that they prefer and dissing the rest. Sometimes they wholly invent new rituals and claim that is is some age-old tradition.

      In my community, brides are supposed to wear 9-yards saree, known as ‘koorai’ on their weddings. Now, black and white being the universally ruled out colors, there is no specific mandate in any religious scripture that it has to be of a particular color. My grandmother wore a version of steel-grey, my other grandma wore something in green, my daadi-saas wore something yellow. In the 60s-80s, plain red/maroon 9-yard sarees with checked zari border (also known as LIC border) for weddings became a fashion rage. Soon, everyone started wearing that color, known as “arakku” in Tamil, and that specific saree started selling under this sweeping heading of ‘koorai’. Soon it became that the moment you stepped into a shop and asked for ‘koorai’, they would show you only that saree type.

      Now on my wedding, I got this tangerine colored saree with light yellow stripes. It was used to dress the idol of Goddess Lakshmi in a temple and therefore, was considered blessed. My ILs, especially MIL tried insisting that I have to wear the “arakku” as it is tradition. Somehow, because their generation preferred this fashion statement, it becomes a compulsory ritual. Ironically, her own MIL hadn’t worn “arakku” saree on her wedding.

      We all tried explaining but like I said, these people are basically beyond all logical laws of universe. They finally relented when I was adamant on my choice, but they bought and kept aside an “arakku” saree, just in case, “chaar log” found my choice objectionable on the wedding dais.

      I wore my own choice anyway, regardless of what others said or thought, but just used this example to explain how people tend to justify anything and everything under the banner of tradition, just because they prefer it.

      Months later, it was my cousin’s wedding. Now she happened to be wearing “arakku”. My MIL comes on the stage, blesses the girl and while I am sitting near she says,

      “You look really beautiful. “Arakku” saree eh? (then mildly turning towards me) Only “arakku” looks so beautiful.”

      Me thinking – ‘Meh, as if I care!’. I smile a wide obviously fake smile and she dashes off.

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      • “A drunk wife-beater telling me to stop wearing jeans because it is important for family honor. What a load of crap!”

        Yep, certainly, but the guy sounds like a typical abuser. “Family honor” is just another trick to exercise his violence.

        Congratulations on your great spirit ! I’m happy your husband and you found a way to lead a peaceful and happy life regardless of your environment.

        There is just one point that I find disturbing. If you were suicidal in your teens, are you quite sure your parents were so perfect ?

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        • / If you were suicidal in your teens, are you quite sure your parents were so perfect ?/

          I don’t know. And I cannot judge them. My whole memory of childhood is a little bleary except for one or two incidents that stay etched in my mind. On the whole I don’t remember exact events to point whether my parents were good or bad or whatever.

          Today I have a good equation with them. Not perfect. But good. I understand where they come from and they understand I am a modern woman.

          I said ‘perfect’ to indicate that I generally had a ‘superhero’ opinion about them, which upset me whenever I found myself disagreeing with them. That is the whole point of that question and the corollary is: they weren’t perfect, I was conditioned to believe so like most other kids.

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  2. Dear Vamp,
    Glad you are asking these questions. These questions represent your growth. I’m happy for you that you are able to find clarity in your life, with the help of IHM’s posts.
    I wanted to comment on one thing though – your references to feminism as “militant” or “radical” and “feminism told me to get a divorce”.

    Really what feminism is asking for is for women to be treated as any other human being, with the same opportunities and the same right to happiness and the same liberty to pursue one’s dreams. The terms “militant” and “radical” are sometimes used by those not willing to grant us an equal place under the sun because they find it extremely uncomfortable to grant equal rights to someone who has been suppressed for so long. This applies to many other sub-groups – domestic helpers in India, African Americans, Jewish people in some countries, Dalits in some Indian states, LGBT people everywhere – when they rise up and ask for the same rights as everyone else, it is seen as a nuisance, maybe even “radical” and “militant” because it is so unacceptable to the prevailing psyche.

    Feminism is sometimes also seen as “militant” when women demand of each other too much, too soon. This part I empathize with – I still wouldn’t call it militant – but I’d call it insensitive. A woman may not be ready for divorce, ready to take on society. A woman may not even be able to stand up to her own parents because her social conditioning is so strong. We must accept that each one of us is cut from a different cloth. Some of us crave belonging more than others. Some of us are less or more assertive.

    Even the smallest steps forward on the road to feminism must be celebrated. It is not all or nothing. If a woman is living at the mercy of her mean in-laws and her husband, she has no education and no job skills,no resources in her village to support her, and she tries to assert herself by going to the temple everyday and listen to the bhajan and get a small window of peace, then that is still a precious and worthy thing.

    Now coming to women like you – smart, educated middle class women – conditioning can still be a huge barrier and cannot be easily brushed aside. These women cannot transform themselves overnight. And when we force them to, when we belittle their attempts at change, there is the danger of retreating and not making any progress at all. When a person seeks help, it does no good to give them advice that makes them feel, “What’s the point? I can’t make that big a change. I just don’t have it in me. Might as well give up.”

    But not pressuring does not mean not having expectations either. We must carry within ourselves a picture of what constitutes true equality. And then work toward it slowly, step by step. At all times, small positive changes, however infinitesimal must be encouraged. So I agree with you that feminism is a process. A work in progress. And I’m glad you are on the path to finding yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Dear words set me free,

        Thanks for your encouragement.

        You pretty much summed up what I wanted to say.

        I identify myself as a feminist on all public forums, where I am not anonymous. I support, respect and uphold equality and parity of women with men on all aspects.

        /The terms “militant” and “radical” are sometimes used by those not willing to grant us an equal place under the sun because they find it extremely uncomfortable to grant equal rights to someone who has been suppressed for so long./

        Sometimes, this is true.

        On other times, I do find people identifying themselves as feminists making highly sexist or misandrist remarks. These people, who have little idea of how offensive they sound, abound in public forums. Somehow, the rational and level headed feminists do not get seen or heard or probably noticed.

        I have heard many ‘feminists’ claiming that men are natural rapists, men enjoy female on male rape, men deserve what they get etc. (You’d be interested to notice that early research on evolutionary biology shows that both men and women are highly polyamorous and chose the alphas of the opposite sex, no matter how many partners there already were. Marriage was created to ration men and women equally among each other so that no beta males and females are left out)

        /Feminism is sometimes also seen as “militant” when women demand of each other too much, too soon. This part I empathize with – I still wouldn’t call it militant – but I’d call it insensitive. A woman may not be ready for divorce, ready to take on society. A woman may not even be able to stand up to her own parents because her social conditioning is so strong. We must accept that each one of us is cut from a different cloth. Some of us crave belonging more than others. Some of us are less or more assertive./

        You just stole my words.

        I do not think putting up with oppression is a good thing. My MIL does and it annoys me, so I understand how others must have felt seeing my case.

        But I and my MIL have a very big difference. She is in a relationship where there is pure domination. I am not. Her husband is abusive. Mine is not, although he is confused as to how he should act and kind of lives an abused life himself. My MIL has a dominant-submissive relationship with FIL, he is the provider, she is the provided for, he is the boss, she is the secretary…oops…office girl… something of that sort. My spouse is a rational person who values me as a partner.

        My husband is basically a rational person who understands logic and equality. He didn’t pitch in actively in chores when we were newly married. Unfortunately, he has a bunch of bad habits and weaknesses that showed up at the wrong time and the wrong place and he ended up in a negative light.

        From what I heard from his roommates a little later, it is just his bad habit of procrastination and laziness and not really sexism. This is true because had he been sexist, he would have expected me to do those chores. But he actually does not. He doesn’t mind sleeping on a month old dirty bedsheet or piling a sink full of dirty vessels and rotting food for 3-5 days. He tells me too to sleep off the alarm and ignore the smell. Yes, he is definitely a dirty roommate but he is not a sexist.

        He has to be budged off the sofa to do chores. A sexist would tell or expect me to do it. He doesn’t do that. He simply says he will do it, but procrastinates. And he doesn’t procrastinate on chores alone, he does it for everything; even eating his dinner or drinking water when he is thirsty.

        But women kind of rounded me up for “supporting the sexist jerk” and told me to walk out on him because he is supposed to be an adult. I don’t understand why it is some sort of a mandate that all adults be disciplined, hardworking and punctual.

        Some are not. Doesn’t automatically mean they are sexist.

        This is a problem that can be worked on. If I think, “Well I don’t deserve a lazy/procrastinating partner in the first place, I am so perfect myself…” then I can move on and on and on but I will never love anyone, even my friends and family, because everyone has weaknesses. I do. You don’t walk out for things that can be negotiated and managed in the long run. That is what love is all about.

        I can live with bad habits as I believe they can change if loved ones put in some effort. I studied a tiny bit of counseling myself, so I know how far empathy goes in building relationships. This is a negotiable feature for me.

        What I cannot live with is a bad ideology. This is my non-negotiable. I dated him for 4 years, for chirssakes, so for once, I can assert that he doesn’t have a wrong ideology. People can stop assuming that I have some version of Stockholm syndrome.

        I know I wasn’t clear about a lot of things, but the extremism and the name-calling totally shocked me to tears. You are right about the part where feminists have to give space to other women. I was so hurt after putting up my first blog here, I did not dare looking at the comments section for days together. I had just recouped from my situation a little and was looking for some balanced insight – a calm, composed and workable solution for healing myself – but what I got was another round of abuse – this time from people who said they were supporting women.

        It’s supposed to be some sort of tough love. You can practice tough love when you know the entire situation and the person in question, not on the internet.

        Anyway, I am indebted to IHM here for helping me build myself as a person and a feminist (amateur). And to women like you who are not ashamed of admitting that you do make some un-feminist choices yourself, because that’s what feminism is all about – choice!

        Thanks,
        Vamp

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        • I agree with you, Vamp.

          And there is one question I often ask myself about a certain type of feminism. OK, some women are in abusive relationships, and it requires great courage to get out of these relationships for many reasons. But it is not by scolding these women that you help them. Then, when I hear about women who escaped from abusive relationships but stayed single forever after, I think, they are not truly liberated, for being a feminist, in my opinion, is also allowing yourself to love, trust and be intimate with someone who is good to you. This is what you are doing with your partner. So you are a feminist.

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  3. dear vamp.. most of your thoughts resonate with me .. I do not know why I have this tendency of proving myself.. It is as if I do not fear being labelled as bad but I fear being labelled as just because I am a woman I cannot do it..
    It is great that you found your space to be happy..

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  4. I agree word to word with what you write. I don’t understand how is a married woman told to be happy and suck it up because she goes for movies, wears “modern” clothes, goes to work and has a MIL who works in the kitchen too. Well, for some people, like me, I don’t want my MIL to work for me, I can do it, my way. I don’t like movies, I like reading books. I don’t want to work where I work, I want to start something on my own. I am ok with not wearing modern clothes, I just need my freedom at a place we call home and we ought to be at peace there, right??

    On the other hand, I also fail to understand the separation advise given to us when we talk about our issues. Does it boil down to “my way or the highway” in the end. In all of my troubles, I was never advised nor was my husband ever told that you two are a pair, a couple. Set things straight amongst you yourselves and no one has the right to judge the arrangement you come to. Not the grooms side, not the brides side. In India, people are just overly interested in other peoples business. “I will stay with my son and poke nose in everything because I am his wellwisher, always been, always will be” or “I will continuously keep advising my daughter how she is doing it wrong because I am her well wisher, always been, always will be”

    I mean why can’t we just tell them “Go and find your own balance. There is nothing like men should do this and not do that or women should do this and not do that. You find out what suits you best. We lived our marriage, its your turn, make the most of it, discover each other and be happy!”

    Sorry for the long rant. Well, I just spit out my frustrating morning thoughts!

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    • ‘On the other hand, I also fail to understand the separation advise given to us when we talk about our issues. Does it boil down to “my way or the highway” in the end. ‘ – it is just an advice.. You ask, you get. If you do not feel its appropriate fine.. do whats good for you ..
      What is the problem with the advice ?
      ‘Does it boil down to “my way or the highway” in the end. ‘ – well for two different people in same situation – it might boil down to “my way or the highway” for one and not for the other. Its just an advice.. You might feel it is inappropriate but I might feel its appropriate…

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      • I am sorry if my words were harsh. They were not intended that way. I rather failed miserably in what I was trying to convey.

        My point is that most of the times, when people come out to talk about the issues they have, they will, in most circumstances, fail to mention that they do want the relation to work. That they do think that they can make it work. That their spouse will understand, given some time and some trust that the wife is not here to harm him or his family in any way. Because, writing these emails is cathartic to many and most of the times, the first advise of separation may not be appropriate.

        The marriage would work if the husband understands and thats what most women want too. How do I make my husband understand my situation.

        Of course, we are not talking about extreme cases. But yet again, what is extreme might change from person to person.

        My personal view is that once you have entered in a relation, especially knowing that your spouse is a good person, there are chances that the marriage can be revived given some time and some efforts. And hence, I think that separation at the first tiff is not a good advise.

        It might be appropriate for someone and I am no one to judge and in writing the above response, I was not doing so. I could relate to what the OP is saying and in the excitement of that moment, went on ranting without thinking about the meaning that my words will convey.

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  5. Kudos to the Vamp – you nailed it – the middle path . I don’t think you need to prove anything to anybody ( not even the feminists – they are not the ones in your shoes ) .

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  6. I loved this letter. So honest and well written. You mentioned people trying to shame you- I’ve noticed that many times people who point out or mock what they perceive as other people’s shortcomings are usually insecure/have an inferiority complex themselves. They feel the need to put others down to feel good. Or else, they are thoughtless and insensitive and don’t deserve any space in our mind.

    I understand when you say your hubby is lazy, but not sexist. Some people just may not like to do certain chores! That doesn’t make them jerks! My hubby is quite liberal in his attitudes, but he doesn’t prefer to cook- at the same time he doesn’t expect me to, and is fine eating out of a can or eating out. But I usually do it anyway by choice. On the other hand I know men who are quite chauvinistic in their attitudes who love to cook, and are very neat, and hence do household chores. We cannot put everything in a box. I agree with you that it is the ideology that matters. Being with a compatible person who is messy does not make anyone a pushover. Like you said, we are not perfect, hence it is unreasonable to expect other people to be so, as long as they are making the effort to be better, it is fine!

    Also people like your FIL are so annoying!. Cant stand people who hold others to high standards which they are not willing to follow, and make rules for others and exceptions for themselves.

    Even I feel there is no need to confront every time. I guess I am also a non-confrontational person, and there is nothing wrong in that! Being tactful, averting a crisis, and doing whatever you want to do anyway is a good option too.

    Like another commentator said, you don’t have to bother with what anyone else thinks. When it comes to your life, do what makes you happy, and follow whatever works for you. Wish you happiness and contentment.🙂

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  7. You are growing comfortable in your own skin and your choices and thats your due🙂 congrats. I have learnt in my 40+ yrs on this earth, yes i belong to the over 40 crowd , i have always found that i must make myself happy first for anything else to work, any chocie forced on me or chosen by me must make me happy otherwise there is no point to it. if you look at it most choices we make for the most part doesnt hurt anyone else, sure huts their ego’s maybe but my wearing a small black bindi will never hurt anyone.
    I’ve also found after being married for close to 18 yrs and learning from my distant aunt.( who sometimes comments on this blog) that our ( me + spouse) joint decisions, happiness and joy are what is most important for a satisfied life.
    I have also learnt that for a relationship to flourish ( atleast ours) we need to give each other space, we dont live in each others pockets, we each have our separate interests yet share at the end of the day. mostly i have learnt if we support each other , back each other up and talk openly we are much happier.
    so as you both grow, best wishes to you and hope you have peace, joy,passion and fun. Life is really beautiful and to be enjoyed.

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    • Thank you ma’am.

      I am sorry if that 40+ comment was offensive. I just find so few people in that age group who are broad minded. I wish there were more or that I could meet more of them.

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    • Honestly, just an observation and I don’t have actual stats but anytime someone posts a problem here a good chunk of comments propose divorce as the only option not one of the options.

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      • I have not observed this. What I have observed –
        – advice is for husband and wife to work on differences and to become a supportive unit
        – advice if for husband not to pretend that it’s not really his problem when wife is in conflict with in-laws
        – advice is for husband to to grow up and take responsibility and take an honest look at what’s going on
        – couples counseling has been suggested several times on several posts (the counseling suggestion assumes that neither partner can transform overnight, need help working through problems, and avoids blindly blaming someone. )
        – The counseling suggestion also asks people to admit the existence of a problem (rather than saying, ‘you are just making a big deal out of nothing’)
        – with or without counseling, the advice on this blog has been to take responsibility – validate the situation, understand the problem, come up with suggestions/solutions, take a certain set of actions to implement solutions.
        – when all of the above have been tried with no success because one partner is unwilling to participate in the process or even admit there’s a problem, then divorce has been suggested.
        – At least this has been my impression. I think the only difference I see is the way the advice is given. Some comments are more empathetic and take on the view that not everyone can be equally assertive so it is better to encourage smaller changes to mindset when bigger changes are not possible. Some comments will say it like it is and may sound a bit harsh.
        – The former comments are based on the view that we are imperfect, all of us, and we all need a little help to see the light.
        – The latter comments are based on the view that once you are an adult, you need to take responsibility for your own life, and if not, face the consequences.
        – Both views are partly right – I very much believe in the ‘let’s be adults’ view but I also feel that even as adults, we can become misguided and could use some help and understanding.
        – So, my conclusion based on the above – the majority of the comments on this blog (minus random comments and trolls) are sensible and grounded in a common philosophy – equal rights for all humans – but differ in the tone and style that they are delivered in.

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    • ‘Feminists on this blog’ would be a blanket statement.

      Yes some people on this blog advised that. I wouldn’t blame them wholly as I wasn’t very clear in the beginning. But in that place I would have asked more questions instead of jumping to conclusions.

      I am also talking about real life people and other internet forums.

      I cannot post links because I wish to stay anonymous and links would disclose my identity. I am a professional writer so it matters a lot to me.

      And I have no grudge towards them. I can understand how internet commenting really gets to us. I am sure these same people would be very different in real life.

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      • “And I have no grudge towards them. I can understand how internet commenting really gets to us. I am sure these same people would be very different in real life.”

        That’s a really condescending comment.
        You put up your problems on the internet, you’re going to get a lot of advice.
        People are going to tell you to do what they think is right. You want detailed counseling specific to your case, taking into account your personality, your husband’s and the relationship between the two of you? Go to a therapist, instead of blaming people who have never met you.

        And FYI, asking you to get a divorce is not necessarily bad advice, its one of the ways of dealing with a problem.

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        • What is so ‘condescending’ about it? I am saying I understand how commenters feel. So basically you take offense no matter what?

          At any rate, it’s certainly not as ‘condescending’ as “Go to a therapist, instead of blaming people who have never met you.”

          I understand strong opinions. But I do not take disrespect, internet or real life. There is a tone and method of speaking the same thing. Internet does not give you a license to be rude.

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        • I’ll tell you why your comment is condescending : You assume that people who are telling you to get a divorce are simply giving you random advice just because they’re on the internet. And you’re graciously forgiving them for their “callous” behavior, never for once thinking that they’re probably telling you that from personal experience or because they honestly believe that’s the right solution.

          That’s a really stilted way of looking at things.
          And you’re the only one being rude here : “Oh people don’t know how to help me!”
          Shouldn’t you atleast be thankful that people WANT to help you? I assume that’s why you’re using the internet – to get a variety of perspectives on the matter.
          If you want perfect advice ,go to a therapist. Nothing rude about it,just plain common sense.

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        • Sorry I cannot comment beneath your latest reply.

          I will repeat I do not condemn separationist advice. But there is a way of saying it.

          “You are &*))*_)$*_)$, you should have divorced…” is not the right way to say it.

          Yes, for what I got, I am graceful enough. At least I do not call people ‘bigoted’, ‘idiots’, ‘fools’, ‘naive’ and what not. It’s worse becoming a secondary victim. These people aren’t helping me. They are just venting out their own frustrations about the whole issue.

          If you don’t know how to give advice, better don’t. There is a way and manner of saying it. Same point. Tone matters.

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        • ” Feminists on this blog’ would be a blanket statement.

          Yes some people on this blog advised that. I wouldn’t blame them wholly as I wasn’t very clear in the beginning. But in that place I would have asked more questions instead of jumping to conclusions.

          I am also talking about real life people and other internet forums. ”

          I’m referring to this comment of yours above. Clearly you’re talking about people who gave you coherent (but unacceptable according to you)advice, not people who hurled abuses.

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  8. It’s great that life’s worked out for you the way you wanted it to, but the end part of this post has me stumped.

    “Everyone said I and my husband were idiots. But, nobody helped me live. Nobody helped US be. Everyone said we ought not to have married, but nobody guided us, two confused people and victims of Indian culture, on the right path to go about.”

    What did you expect from people? How did you expect people to help you and your husband just be? What should they have done?

    These ‘feminists’ probably spent time and effort in responding to you with values that they believed in. If they thought your husband was being unreasonable and disrespectful, they probably told you so–and that they, themselves wouldn’t stand for such behavior. Does that make someone radical or militant?

    By labelling these women as radical and militant, keeping in mind that they actually spent time and effort in advising you (albeit in a way you saw as ‘too much’ from what I make of your post), aren’t you projecting your own internalized misogyny onto them?

    Personally, I think you got offended that people saw your husband as being disrespectful and you as passive for accepting such disrespect. If I’m wrong here, please feel free to produce examples of these ‘misandrist’ remarks that you’ve read in the name of feminism, specifically in response to your previous post(s) asking for advice.

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    • Well said Kay!
      Unless someone on this blog suggested violence as a solution to her problems I don’t see where she gets off labeling people ” radical” or “militant”.
      Yes, so people suggested walking out of your relationship. If you’re unhappy in it, that is one of the options. Millions of women have done it and found themselves extremely happy. There is nothing “extremist” about this view. Maybe its not what you want to do. I agree with Kay, I see a lot of internalized misogyny here.

      I for one would be thankful to have so many people taking the time to read my post and reply to it, instead of bitching about the fact that no one told me what I wanted to hear.

      And I cannot believe there are actually people here who seem to think that being a feminist is a bad thing.

      Like

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