My Sins Against Gender Stereotypes.


If you are a woman,

Have you ever wanted something that is considered ‘manly’ ? Like a basketball, a cell phone, a dog, a camera or a new laptop? A new car or motor bike? Ever wanted to be a pilot? A doctor or not a nurse? And the manliest want of them all – The remote! 😉

As a kid did you enjoy playing with a bat and a ball?

There was a time when books were considered ‘manly’, women authors had to pretend to be men – would you say books are still rather manly – women should want to embroider and crochet?

If you are a man,

Have you ever wanted something that only women are supposed to want – like bags, shoes, clothes, creams, perfumes, babies, flowers? A peaceful home and a happy family? Have you ever been afraid of the dark or of insects?

As a kid did you ever want to play ‘teacher-teacher’, cooking or did you like playing with a doll? Have you ever enjoyed cooking? Bought something in pink? Loved chocolates?

Are magazines and books, TV News and blogs for men or for women?

Religion and God? Pets? Politics? Air planes and cars? Technology? – Who should want them, men or women?

So here’s a tag – Please list at least ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to.

The tag is called ‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’. And you must tag twelve blogging friends 😈 or else you will be cursed to wear blue clothes pants if you are a woman and pink shirts if you are a man – for next twelve years 😈

Since I asked, here’s my list of ‘manly’ things I have done or wanted 🙂

1. Played football in school and now watch the world cup.

2. Have always exercised, loved strength training.

3. Invested in the stock market.

4. I find jewelery cumbersome in everyday life.

5. Dislike shopping (for past many years)

6. Love dogs. And cats and all animals. Even snakes.

7. Love technology – camera, cell phones and laptops (‘men’s toys’).

8. Love books, driving (including an SUV) and new gadgets.

9. I don’t like chocolates.

10. I like red and turquoise (a blue 😯 ) more than pink 😯

And yet, I love clothes, lipsticks, healthy food, dancing, kittens and puppies, birds, perfumes, flowers, window shopping for kitchen and home, decor, soft rock and I cry easily.

I tag Monika, Ritu, Sandhya, Sindhu, Deethi, Shail, Desi Girl, Deeps, Starry, HDWK, TBG, Philip, Nandini, Winnie the Poohi, Indian Pandit, UmmOn, Neo, Vishesh, Gopinath,  Sunder, Nimmy, Hitchwriter, Shilpa, Scorpria, Sraboney, Blabberblah, Vimmuuu, Kanagu, Prerna, Imp’s Mom and Uma. (Can’t tag anybody else, because  then  there would be nobody left for others to tag and they will end up wearing the ‘wrong’ colours ! ) 😯 🙂

UPDATE:

All Sinners are welcome to join Sinners Against Gender Stereotypes (SAGS) on Face Book.

Small Print: You know what happens to those who don’t? Pink footwear for men and Blue beer mugs for women for twelve years 😈

Seven things about your friendly neighbourhood blogger :)

Apu tagged me to write 7 random things that people don’t know about me, I twisted the tag just a little to make it ‘Seven things people do not know about me as a typical Indian blogger’.

Some of these would apply to many other bloggers I guess.  Do tell if these apply to you too…

1. I find WORD VERIFICATION on Blogger blogs discouraging. Sometimes I read a post but don’t comment when faced with the challenge of Word Verification.

I did not use it when my blog was on Blogger, because I didn’t think it was nice to make it difficult for a reader to comment 🙂 I had enabled comments moderation and and it took one click to delete spam comments, if any.
I once blogged about it here, in “Do you hate comments?

2. I find reading updates in Google Reader convenient. 😆

Also… although plagiarism is a risk, and Shetal Shahs do exist  😐 I still prefer an entire post instead of a snippet in the reader.

I don’t understand why some blogs do not give easy options for subscription. 😯

I have made sure nobody misses this icon on my blog!  😉

If you missed it – click at once and subscribe. 😈

3. I think a lot of us also click on comments to follow commentators to their blogs. If the url or blog address was filled in the column provided (while leaving a comment), then you have left your foot prints behind. This makes it easier for anybody who found the comment interesting, to reach your blog.

4.  I use  READ IT LATER – a one click wonder to save pages one plans to read later. This also means there is no need to keep 10-15 tabs open and slow down the computer.

Readitlater, a Firefox add-on can also be added to Ipod or Iphone. [Click here to install]

5. Shareaholic [Click to install] is another one-click-wonder – I use it to tweet any posts I like, including my own updates.  Shareaholic can also be used for tweeting our search engine terms 🙂 Or with Gmail, Facebook, Google Reader – though I have never tried these.

6. I miss using Windows Live Writer on MacBook. I wish there was something equally convenient that could be used on MacBook 😦  Any ideas?

7. I completed one year on WordPress on April 5.  Spent an entire day adding badges, updating links on old posts, adding a new page called ‘Headers‘.

And exploring Blog Stats 😆 I found that the most fascinating of all 🙂

I was amazed to find what people were searching for when they were directed to this blog 🙂 Some of the terms were funny, but some of the searches reveal a lot about us as a society.

Let me end this list with another list…

Search Terms 🙂
The largest number of search terms on any web site are I suppose always the blog and the blogger’s name, so I will ignore the ihm, ihm on WP, indian homemaker etc.

The next most popular terms were these.
(Will soon link them to relevant posts)

joru ka ghulam meaning   143   [Post: Some Joru ke Gulaam I am proud of 🙂 ]
bougainvillea 71
when did women start working 68  [ Post: When did women start working?]
meaning of joru ka ghulam 17
Joru ka Ghulam  16
when did women start to work 20
when did women begin to work 17

Some made me sad…  😦
what cultures approve of teen marriages?  1
indian girls life so sad 1
joint family system bickering and fight  1
indian mothers donot care for daughters 1
mumbai girls wear jeans  1
daughter-refuse-to-talk-scared-of-father  1

And a shocking number of these. (These terms were spread over a year, but still are a lot) – I have never believed all women are suited for, or should be expected to enjoy motherhood, this makes me doubly sure.

i don’t like being a mother 18 [Post: What I don’t like about being a mother.]
don t like being mother 17
hate being a mother 16

It’s obvious that we need posts like ‘Sex education has nothing to do with Blue Films’

how to handle your daughter pre(marital sex) 1
does smoking ruin a womans sex appeal ? 1

And many more single searches of similar kind.

And…  I wish this blog had answers to these ones!  🙂

how to be witty like shahrukh  1
speech on gulmohar tree  1

I would love to read similar lists from whoever would be kind enough to pick this tag 🙂 Please do!

Fast, Furious and Danceable Songs

Destination Infinity tagged me to make a list of five fast, furious and danceable songs.  I am choosing some that have not been listed so far by other bloggers…

1.

2.  Whigfield’s “Sexy Eyes’ is also good.

3. Petre Andre -Mysterious Girl

4. All that she wants – Ace of Base

5. Goan masala mix 🙂

6. The original…

Or find the more popular version here…

7. The best.

8.

‘Rang biranga paani peekar,

Seedhi Sadi Kudi bigad gayee

Dekh ke mujhko hansta gata,

Sard gayee yeh duniya sard gayee’  😉

Sounds like she is saying this to a certain Mr M.  😉

9. And this with no comments 😉

10. Scatman Jon

11. Cotton Eyed Joe

And here’s a fun video of a bunch of teenagers trying to dance to Cotton Eyed Joe   🙂

Why Indians Don’t Hate Hitler.

[Another one from those 104 drafts :)]

Hitler was never unpopular in India because he was considered the ‘Enemy’s Enemy’, i.e. Britain’s enemy. School principals or strict teachers in India are nick named Hitler all the time. All we knew during our school years was that he was a dictator.We were ignorant. Unlike now, Indian schools did not teach European History we never learnt much about exactly what Hitler did. Hitler’s Cross Restaurant in Mumbai is an example of our ignorance, not malice.

CBSE syllabus has changed recently and WW I and WW II have been included. Thank God! Why do I care whether we study Hitler or not? Because the biggest benefit of studying history is to learn from the mistakes our ancestors made.
Here’s a video that shows what the allied soldiers found when they reached one of the concentration camps. Holocast crimes were taken very seriously and even today you will not find any statues of Hitler anywhere there. India could learn this lesson from the West, human life and human rights are taken seriously over there.
(Graphic images. User discretion is advised.)

Do you know, there are many in India today who quote Gandhi one moment and next talk about Hitler as a role model, Raj Thakre and some History text books are two such examples. It’s sad because the guy they worship would have sent them to holocaust too. Hitler was strongly racial, he was against Romanians, Blacks, Slovakians, Gypsies, (we come in this category, for Hitler, no matter how much ‘fair & lovely’ we apply), homosexuals, physically and mentally disabled and anyone who opposed him.
I also doubt the veracity of the sporting folklore that Hitler was so impressed by Dhyan Chand’s sorcery with the stick that he offered him an officer’s commission in the Wermacht.

1.Here’s a book that is not just about Jews but about a Polish woman (although I have provided a link I recommend don’t read it, it’s a spoiler), just read the book, called Sophie’s Choice. If you don’t wish to read the fat book, follow the link. The book was so disturbing it was banned from some libraries (Wikipedia), no banning is required they should just warn the readers. It isn’t physical cruelty but a choice the mother had to make that made me not just cry but for a while hate the book.

2.Night by Elie Weisel is a young boy’s story , about how he is afraid to help his father because he is afraid of the soldiers….read summary here. It’s a part of syllabus in many schools.

3.Anne Frank’s Diary – I think everybody has read this one. It’s like reading the teenager’s blog posts.

4. Boys from Brazil by94 men must die, all around the same age, 59 if I remember correctly, all in similar jobs, living in many different countries all over Europe and America…all have young wives and sons around the same age. The sons are all light skinned, blue eyed, artistic, sensitive, very bright boys who are very close to their mothers…
What’s this book got to with Hitler? Well if you know enough about Hitler you should have guessed by now! If you don’t then the book will be a learning experience. It’s a thriller. Very engrossing.

5. Shadow Life – (Bought from Scholastic book fair, basically meant for kids) What happened to Anne Frank after they were discovered by the SS Guards? Read about ‘the final days of Anne and Margot, as well as other rarely seen details.’

Do add some more books and movies to the list.

I wish those who talk of Hitler’s achievements will talk of Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr, and John Lennon …

Men Will Be Men :)

Some Joru Ke Gulam, JKG I am proud of : )
[Edited to add: In India it takes a lot of guts for a man to take a stand against customs that oppress women, it’s worst if he is fighting in support of his wife, or his Joru! All such acts of courage are rewarded by labeling them as JKGs i.e. Joru Ka Gulam. Literal meaning: ‘Slave of Wife’]

My grandfather in 1950s-1960s telling his four educated daughters that financial independence came before marriage.

My Dad at 21 in 1960s, traveling ticket-less to break a sister’s engagement – without letting his dad know, just because she didn’t like the boy and wrote to him from her hostel. (She lived a very happily married life, with my late Uncle. None of the horrible things my grandparents foretold happened to her because of the broken engagement.)

The look on my brother’s face when someone suggested he at least finds out if his unborn baby is a girl or a boy.

Also my brother saying, “… let me discuss with my wife before deciding.”

My husband, brothers in law, Dad, friends, friends’ husbands saying the same thing.

My husband putting his foot down when I attempted to serve him hot hot chapatties, the way my mom had been doing. (I really thought he was going too far).

My husband supporting my stand against the ritual of kanyadan.

A friend’s husband wanted to touch his mom in law’s feet, she jumped away, “Sons in law don’t touch feet in our side, they are poojya.” He touched her feet anyway, saying, “But Sons do? Right?”

My brother in law (Husband’s elder brother) asking a gathering of relatives of all backgrounds, “Anyone for tea, I am making masala chai for myself …?” – on my first day at my in laws place. (I nearly swooned.)

Dad rejecting proposals because NO girls in this family will be married into joint families.

Dad making sure all the married daughters and sisters attended all the functions/parties at their parents’ house. And once when he sensed some resistance, he landed there to pick her. (Of course he picked her, with the nicest smile too … )

All those friends’ husbands who pass tea to us while we are gossiping, just because they were making it for themselves anyway.

My son – well, everything about him, I guess. He has no idea he is in anyway privileged because he is a boy. He is a future JKG for sure!

Some favorite bloggers’ families : )

Some favorite bloggers 🙂

My nephew refusing to accept an Air gun as a gift (he was ten then), he wanted a guitar and didn’t care how unmanly the older generation thought it was.

Son sitting on the kitchen counter, passing me shelled peas, talking about this and that while I give tarka

Son making sandwiches.

Shah Rukh khan ; )

Feel free to add more to the list!

Edited to add: Read more about JKGs here 🙂

Beauty Without Cruelty

Thought Room‘s comment on my last post made me check if the eye pencil I was using had blinded a monkey, or my shampoo had been poured into a rabbit’s eyes (forced open) to keep my eyes safe. Did I indirectly support animal testing?

Peta (People for Ethical treatment of Animals) says:
‘Hundreds of thousands of these animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year in outdated and ineffective product tests for shampoos, household cleaners, cosmetics, hairsprays, and other personal care and household items. Although more than 600 companies have banned all animal tests forever, some corporations still force substances into animals’ stomachs and drip chemicals into rabbits’ eyes.’

Companies that conduct cruel tests on animals.
SAY NO TO THESE
L’Oreal
Maybelline
Clairol
Clorox
Colgate-Palmolive Co.
Cover Girl
Dove
Dial Corporation
Johnson & Johnson
Lever Bros.
Olay Co./Oil of Olay
Pantene
Sally Hansen
Suave
Hindustan Unilever (Lakme, Vaseline Intensive care etc.)


WILL YOU HURT AN ANIMAL WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO?

To my relief I found I could still use shampoos, eye pencils, lipsticks and moisturizers and send a message to companies that are still testing on animals. They need our support to continue their cruel experiments. If we refuse to encourage them by buying their products, they will stop their cruel testing on animals.
We do have a choice.
Buy only from companies that DO NOT test their products on animals. Here are some easily available good products that have not been tested on animals.(click on the names for more information)

THESE PRODUCTS HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED ON ANIMALS:

Avon
Oriflame
Revlon
Himalaya
Bodyshop (there’s some controversy, judge for yourself)
FoeverlivingProducts
Lotus Herbals Ltd
Biotique
Fabindia (written on the label)
Liz Clairbon…and many, many others. (click to read a longer list)

Would you use human placenta for eternal youth?

HOW MANY FRIENDS DOES A WOMAN NEED?

Ten things that attract me to my friends:

1. I am generally reasonably tolerant, but there are some things I cannot stand, malicious gossip or any attempt to tell me something personal about somebody else puts me off. Let’s say we are above all that AND such people will probably tell others some nonsense – true or false, about me.

2. Support System/truest friends – Some friends are not just a lot of fun to be with, I know we are there for each other. These are the ones I confide in, they are rare, cherished gems and I look for any opportunity to repay their goodness. They took care of my child when I had to rush to Delhi unexpectedly, they are always there. And I make sure I am there for them too.

3. Friends to yack yack, chatter chatter, gup shup, giggle etc with until the phone wire is so hot it’s burning – Working friends, busy friends, angry-with –their-other-half friends, fed-up- with- lack-of-drive-in-today’s-children friends, problems at work, autocratic MIL friends, angry with the system/politicians/news friends etc. We are all counselors cum sounding boards for each other.

4. Old, old friends. A friend I went to school with. A friend from college. Friends I met just after I got married, through my husband/his friends’ wives. We learnt to make cheese omelette and dal tarka together..Cooking was a big thing then! A friend who understood my enthusiasm for having the best baby in the world, and played Tanpura while I sat (very bored) and listened so the baby will develop a taste for classical music.(She didn’t) Friends who came running with a bottle of Paracetamol when a toddler had fever and I was convinced it was some life threatening unknown disease.

5. Mothers of my kids’ friends. We share the same problems! Long conversations reassuring each other that there is hope after teenage, and cursing the Indian education system, Lack of compulsory PTA in schools, the misuse of Internal Assessment by schools (to bully the parents). In the end we became good friends.

6. Shopping, Clothes and Party friends –Not at all frivolous..we have grown up (and sideways) together, shopped together, bought our first spaghetti straps together, hunted for the best (and the most reasonable) gowns and formal wear, discussed in detail every aspect of the suitability of an outfit for an occasion. Hair styles, foot wear and lipstick colours. And when I feel ‘over the hill’ they appear with smart, white framed, new sunglasses and ask “Guess where I got a new tattoo?”

7. Friends who love animals. Then I have friends who will come running (or driving) if I see a hurt animal needing help. (I will do the same for them). Over a period of time, we have become good friends and will come running or driving even if the crisis is of some other kind.

8. Friends into Stock Markets – We console each other when things go bad (and recently there’s been a lot to console about). Earlier we celebrated the bulls watching CNBCTV18 in our own homes, on the phone…

9. Gym friend – One makes Gym such fun with her bubbly chatter. We talk about other things too, but I have hardly ever met her outside the Gym! The other shares her Thera band and borrows my dumbbells…With her I can shamelessly discuss an extra cm without being branded narcissistic.

10. Internet addicts – Friends who cannot survive without the life giving supply of a minimum of 250 kbph. We know who to threaten if our Wi-Fi needs to be replaced / repaired or if the connection is too slow…and we always have that odd cable wire/splitter/phone number that the other urgently needs and just cannot find anywhere – in the middle of the night.