Recognizing Emotional Abuse

Guest Post by wordssetmefreee

The last post and some recent emails brought up the subject of abuse within families.  I’m glad that the email writer moved out.  She is able to analyze her situation quite rationally, which indicates that she got out in time.  Although the majority of these emails tend to come from women, men can also be victims of abuse.  One recent email from an American woman detailed how her Indian boyfriend was being emotionally blackmailed by his parents.  Many commenters advised her to stop dating him because he needed to gain control of his own life before entering into a relationship.  In my own extended family, my cousin, who I grew up with chose to not get married.  After delaying his parents’ attempts to get him married for a few years, he finally came out in the open and declared he doesn’t ever want to get married.  He is an only child and  has been subjected to emotional blackmail (such as daily threats of illness and suicide, hysteria, self-starvation) from his parents.  Five years since he announced his decision, they are still around, but I do see that he is worn down, tired, and stressed most of the time.  He was a happy, fun loving child, always following me around (I’m eight years older to him) asking me to play hide and seek with him.  It bothers me when I see him become a hollow version of himself.

Emotional abuse is a potent method of damaging someone’s psyche, especially a person’s sense of self worth and dignity.  It is potent because it often goes unrecognized.  Its incognito status allows people to inflict substantial damage on victims – as much as that through visible forms of abuse such as aggression and violence.

Socially sanctioned forms of abuse are the hardest to recognize.  In many cultures, parents have unlimited authority over their children.  Any situation where authority goes unchecked is a fertile environment for abuse.  Another culturally sanctioned form of abuse occurs with other authority figures such as teachers, boarding school staff, clerics and law enforcement officers.  This is not to say that all parents, teachers, clerics and police are abusive; but if their authority is not subject to checks and balances, there is potential for abuse, and support when it does occur.

It is important to note that in the case of parents, spouses, and intimate partners, they may not always be aware that they are turning abusive.  Although it is difficult to empathize with the abuser, he/she could also be caught up in a destructive cycle that cannot be voluntarily broken, without professional help, and distancing from the victim.

In the Indian context, parental abuse often goes unrecognized because there is an entire network of constructs, rules and operations that have been built around it.  Recognizing parental abuse threatens so many existing power structures that cultural walls have been built around it to safeguard the unquestioned authority of parents.  Accusing one’s parents of the smallest wrongs is tantamount to treason.  There is so much fear and guilt surrounding this discussion that many sons and daughters don’t dare to broach their parent’s fallibility.  Any attempt at doing so is often accompanied with tremendous guilt and self-reproach on the victim’s part.

However, problems, especially when they are deep-rooted, cannot be pretended away.  It is important for us to recognize abuse.  People are often shocked at the word ‘abuse’ when it is used in the context of their loved ones.  Ironically, it is loved ones who are the most likely to inflict abuse – their increased proximity to the victim and their sense of entitlement, and in some cases, co-dependence make intimate relationships more prone to abuse than relationships that are one step removed.

Who can inflict emotional abuse?

– Spouses/partners

– Parents on their minor children

– Parents on their adult children

– Adult children on their aging parents

– Relatives on children in the family

– Siblings

– Bullies at schools, colleges, and in cyber space

– Police on people in their custody

– Teachers and school authorities on children

– Managers on their reports

What forms does emotional abuse take?

– humiliating, excessive judging/criticizing, shaming, slandering, ridiculing, being dismissive, labeling, condescending

– controlling, taking away choices (requiring permission for going out, controlling spending, controlling routine choices like dressing, showering, eating), infantalization

– accusing (being overly suspicious, reading into every move), blaming (holding victim responsible for abuser’s problems and happiness)

– unreasonable or impossible demands

– emotional distancing, silent treatment, alienating, emotional abandonment or neglect (withholding affection, love, support, withholding communication and expecting mind reading)

– excessive codependence (treating the other person as an extension of themselves, not respecting boundaries, knowing what is best for you, being constantly needy)

– threats and intimidation (loud voice and aggressive body language meant to induce fear, direct or indirect threats to the other person, her reputation, her children, her parents, her safety)

– emotional blackmail (threats of suicide, ill-health or becoming an alcoholic), hysteria (disproportionately intense reaction to mistakes), and self-injurious behavior or threats on self-harm (cutting oneself, burning oneself)

– baiting (deliberately provoking anger through false accusations, preying upon weaknesses)

– creating no-win scenarios (asking someone to choose between two bad options – “you either starve or you apologize for something you didn’t do”, “you either cut off with your brother or cut off with me”)

Some less common forms of expression

– Symbolic suffering (setting fire to a toy or favorite object) – inflicting suffering on an inanimate object or a small animal meant as a threat or intimidation

– Engulfment – showering excessive and suffocating amounts of attention, constantly checking whereabouts, inducing guilt (when victim enjoys something) and fear, exhibiting pathological jealousy

– Stalking – either physical or via phone/email

– Gas lighting/brainwashing – omitting or twisting information to favor the abuser and make the victim doubt their own memory or understanding of events

– Recruiting – making the other person an accomplice in questionable activities

What It Feels Like

The victim often feels confused, hurt, and frightened.  (I will begin to use the female pronoun but this applies to both men and women.)  She loses confidence and begins to doubt herself.  She may doubt her own opinions and beliefs.  She may even begin to doubt facts and her own memories.  There is a sense of one’s reality slipping away.  This makes the victim feel powerless.  Most of the victim’s energy is focused on “being careful” around the abuser’s moods, trying to “read” his signals, and working hard to earn his approval.  The victim is filled with a feeling of dread; there is always the feeling that something may explode (even when things are going well).  The victim begins to blame herself when things get ugly (“if only I had been more careful, if only I got home earlier, if only I cooked his favorite meal”).  The abuser and victim go through cycles of “good” and bad phases.  During the “good” phase, the abuser regrets his actions, tries to flatter or please the victim, and makes peace.  The peace is invariably temporary and is shattered for the smallest and most unpredictable “reasons”.   Initially, the “good” phases serve the purpose of locking the victim in the destructive relationship; however in later stages, the victim begins to understand the hollowness in the kind gestures, begins to recognize the pattern to the point of being able to predict what is coming next, but is unable to break out of it.

How To Cope

There is only one way to cope with abuse.  And that is by putting physical distance between oneself (victim) and the abuser.  At first, this might mean leaving the room and refusing to engage in abusive interactions.  Eventually, moving out of the abuser’s life is necessary for survival.  Leaving requires 2 things – planning and support.  A practical plan is necessary – where will I live temporarily, how will I earn my living, etc.  The victim also needs the support of another human being – a close friend or relative who will help the victim not give in to her fears and go back to the abuser.

Even after getting away from the abuser, many victims continue to suffer the effects of abuse – they will continue to suffer from a lack of self worth, make harmful or self-destructive choices, become close to people who are another version of their previous abuser, and continue to be unhappy.  Victims need to work with a counselor and take the support of strong, reliable friends/family and work on the process of self-healing.

The abuser can recover only through psychological counseling and doing the hard work of recognizing, understanding, and modifying his own destructive behavior patterns.

Victims of abuse cannot be told or expected to “snap out of it”.  Recognizing and dealing with abuse, and supporting the victim practically and emotionally are the only ways to authentic healing.

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Is Goodness Perceived as Weakness?

Guest post by wordssetmefreee

Is goodness seen as weakness in our culture?

What are some ways in which ‘goodness’ is displayed in our culture?

A woman is ‘good’ when she

  • seldom disagrees
  • fits in with society’s norms
  • respects the wishes of those who feel they know better than her, what is good for her (parents, in-laws, husband)
  • keeps the peace, maintains the status quo rather than tell others they are wrong

In all of the above, ‘goodness’ is seen as meekness and compliance. There is nothing surprising about this interpretation of goodness in women, as our culture (like many other cultures around the world) tends to be sexist.

But, when we look at goodness in men (since they are more free of sexist expectations), it becomes more interesting.

How is goodness perceived in men? Who qualifies as a “good man” and is goodness a quality that is admired in men?

Indian men who are considered good tend to

  • be honest in their dealings, especially at work/business
  • not bribe people, lie or cheat
  • remain unassertive in their personal lives and cannot say ‘no’ to domineering parents
  • feel genuinely pained by their wives’ suffering in joint families but are helpless and cannot stand up for them
  • behave with kindness and understanding toward their children
  • in some cases, allow their grown children to take advantage of their meekness
  • be passed over for promotions, in favor of other ‘aggressive’ men who are willing to lie, cheat, or at least fudge the numbers
  • may passively watch wrong and unfair behavior among their families and in public spaces without objecting

In other words, our culture seems to define goodness as meekness, regardless of gender. There are very few examples of strong and good people that we see or hear about, be it politics, business, or popular media.

When I was 16 and about to take my driving test, my uncle suggested to my father that he could get me a driver’s license without going to the test. All my father had to do was pay a certain amount of money to someone my uncle knew.

My father got upset with him and said, “Aren’t you ashamed of flaunting your dishonesty in front of a child?”

To which, my uncle responded, “We can’t all be Gandhi – or we’ll starve like him.”

Lying, cheating, bribing, cutting in line, indiscriminate rule breaking, and cutting corners are seen as strengths and the qualities of the capable male. And the alternative is presented as meekness and the willingness to be a doormat.

Goodness, kindness, honesty, and compassion seem to be associated with unassertiveness, personal unhappiness, and professional failure.

Taking a step back, let’s look at the misconceptions embedded in my uncle’s Gandhi reference. We may not agree with everything Gandhi did. Some of his decisions can be called into question. He was not without flaws. But here was a man who was anything BUT meek.

Gandhi’s strength came from his conviction. He had an unwavering set of values that served as his internal compass. He stubbornly persisted with his goals. For a physically diminutive man, he demonstrated immense mental courage and grit in the face of the mighty British Empire. He presented supreme confidence in the face of their condescension. Here was a display of a strong kind of goodness.

People who’ve made me understand this

Some good and strong people I’ve known in my own life –

  • My father who fought against my entire extended family for my aunt’s right to wear all colors (after she lost her husband), to get back to school, get an education, a job, and the right to get remarried. Which pretty much brought an end to the tradition of “widows in white” who remained marginalized all their lives, within my extended family.
  • My son’s kindergarten teacher, a small, kind woman who fought with the school authorities to keep ADHD and ASD children in her classroom. She fought for their right to be educated in a regular classroom with supports and not be isolated and “written off” as failures.
  • My grandmother, married at 12, sent to her in-laws at 15, fought for her daughters’ right to be educated. In a generation when most daughters were barely allowed to graduate from high school, she fought with her entire joint family to make sure her daughters (my mother and aunt) graduated from college, went to work, and married the men of their choice.

Some public figures whom I admire for this combination of goodness and strength –

  • Aung San Suu Kyi who continues to fight for the slim chance of a democracy in Burma.
  • Carl Sagan who forewent a lot of research funding when he took a stand against Reagan’s Space Defense Initiative, and shoved the “climate issue” into policy makers’ faces.
  • Bill and Melissa Gates who could remain content leading a privileged life, but choose instead to be involved with solving global challenges that affect us all.

I especially admire privileged people who could easily spend all their lives unaffected by unfairness, poverty, and illness, but CHOOSE not to. They choose goodness. It is an active, conscious choice.

This is why I like re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird because Atticus Finch chose not to sit back and enjoy his white male privilege. This is why I keep going back to A Separate Peace. Because Finny gets it and Gene doesn’t, not until the very end. Not until it’s too late. Both Finch and Finny chose goodness and fairness. It takes discipline and strength to hold on to a value system that demands nothing less than generosity, compassion, and fairness.

The Connection

The connection between goodness and strength is really quite simple. Goodness requires you to abide by a value system. Adhering to a value system requires self-discipline and active vocalization of our beliefs. Self-discipline imbues us with quiet inner strength. Vocalization of our beliefs in the face of opposition, disapproval, and possibly even hate builds an extra layer of strength, a protective armor, if you will.

The other way to look at it – Strong people take control of their lives. Control over one’s own life gives one the luxury of being in a position to help others. Strong people are secure enough to acknowledge their own weaknesses. This allows them to be empathetic to other’s flaws. Strong people persist in overcoming their challenges. This gives them the know-how to mentor others. Thus strength also leads to goodness.

Strength and goodness can thus feed off of each other and become inseparable.

Misconceptions

Goodness is not meekness. Strength is not meanness. It is much harder to remain honest and true to oneself than it is to “go with the flow” and lose our identities. It is much harder to remain fair even to our enemies than it is to paint them in an unflattering light. It is much harder to fight for the underprivileged than to ignore or pretend away their plight with cynicism. It is much harder to forgive those who act in ignorance than to take revenge on them. It is much harder to give a voice to those who lack one than to remain silently sympathetic.

Sometimes, I feel meek people inflict a lot more damage than mean people – such as  people who stare at a woman on a bus and allow her to be harassed. People who passively stand in line and allow certain people to cut in. People who don’t take bribes but watch others do. We are inflicting harm when we do not take a stand, when we don’t use our privilege to help others, when we allow crimes to happen, when we don’t fight for anything worth fighting for. There is a terrible relationship between the mean and the meek. Meek people become the enablers of those who are mean.

Goodness, in the true sense of the word, is therefore a difficult, risky, conscious, active, courageous, and powerful choice on our part, and not a meek, passive reaction to the domineering forces in our lives.

Can we judge a writer by the book?

I did not like ‘White Tiger’ and I am not surprised the man who wrote it feels this way,

“I appeal to those who have migrated from the north to teach their children the Kannada language, and to learn something about Kannada culture. Please develop some sense of ownership and belonging in Karnataka — for the sake of your own children.

Tamilians care about Tamil Nadu, and Malayalis about Kerala. Kannadigas, wherever they are — inside the nation or in Silicon Valley— must become more active. Many excellent NGOs have sprung up across the state, and if you spend a few minutes scanning the internet you will find one that is right for you. Strengthening the Kannada cultural identity is another part of the solution. But do pay attention, my fellow Kannadigas — Gowdas, Murthys, Sheikhs, and D’Souzas, all of you. Ten years from now, if the residents of Bihar tease you for coming from India’s most lawless state, don’t say that you had no warning.”

[Read more: Kannadigas, stand up for Karnataka – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-toi/all-that-matters/Kannadigas-stand-up-for-Karnataka/articleshow/6762547.cms#ixzz12ctwSDJR]

Do you agree with the comment below?
Rajesh (Gurgaon)
17/10/2010 at 03:30 pm
Had similar views posed by Shivsena in Maharashtra, the hell would have broken out agaist such views, The whole piece smacks narrow linguistic fundamentalism.
Or with this one?
Vande Mataram (New Delhi)
17 Oct, 2010 02:04 PM
Dear Arvind, your thoughts are surprising. I have read your books. I believe culture, religion and way of life are personal preferences. They survive or vanish if individuals wish to. Nobody can force practice of culture or religion. Change is permanent and bound to happen and so is the society. Shift towards Hindi is to get aligned with the nation and towards English is to be global. May be after a decade it may be beneficial to learn Chinese. I love people of Karnataka, they are truly gentle and cultured. It is this fundamental strength which have made them and the state successful. Finally, we cannot stop change, it is bound to happen, what we can do is to give it a positive direction and that can be done by every individual and cannot be imposed by government. Forgive me if I am unwise.
In UP, Mulayam Singh Yadav wanted to save Hindi. He said, ‘the party is against English medium education and the use of computers‘. I am sure Adiga will join anti-English language tirade too. Or maybe he won’t, because he won The Man Booker for a book he wrote in English. (I am not getting into how undeserving it was, just compare it to ‘Animal’s People‘).
I also wonder…
What about those Kannadigas who are living outside Karnataka, should they adopt the culture of the places they live in or preserve and propagate their ‘own’ culture in distant/foreign lands? What happened to harmonious intermingling of cultures?

Also, can cultures and languages be ‘owned‘? If yes, then does one need the right DNA, Voter ID Cards or College Degrees to own them?

Or is it like everybody be a bullying, thuggish Tiger (White or Black or Saffron) only in their own land?
Should there be a ban on marrying outside one’s community/state/country?

Do we need restrictions against living outside one’s native country, state, city, village?
All to make sure we do not change the way we live, speak, celebrate, marry, raise our children, cook, dance, paint, sing...
His warning about the residents from Bihar ‘teasing‘ the residents of Karnataka about lawlessness reminded me of ‘The White Tiger‘.  One of the things I disliked about his book was the author’s total lack of affection, or even empathy, with the lifeless characters he created*… maybe his prejudice hindered him.
Does such thinking help this country stay united? Can we still talk about being Global Citizens.  Or about Human Values beyond borders?
[* Contrast this with ‘Animal’s People’ – where you can’t help but feel affection/empathy for even the seemingly undeserving characters – simply because the author truly knew and understood his characters, and through him we did too.]
Update:

What makes a woman look beautiful?

What makes a woman look beautiful?

What do you think of ‘feminine beauty’… was it created by nature or is it a human creation?

I think all women and all those who have daughters should watch this video.

Does being considered beautiful help a person, specially a woman, live a better life? If she does not make a career out of it, how does being seen as beautiful affect her life?

Would you agree with this,

“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.  ~Alanis Morissette, quoted in Reader’s Digest, March 2000″

Would you agree with these lines by Maya Angelou? Would you consider such a woman beautiful?

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say
,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman…

It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.”


Finally if your confidence comes from being beautiful, how confident would you feel surrounded by women who fit much better into general definitions of beauty?

Bikini vs Burka: The Debauchery of Women

I have received this link more than once. My first reaction was to ignore it in disgust, but when it landed in my mailbox a second time  I realised ‘Bikini vs. Burka: The Debauchery of Womenby Henry Makow Ph.D. was being taken seriously by some.

What Makow says is in black, my response is in red. I wish I could make this post shorter, but nearly every sentence made some baseless claims and required responding.


On my wall, I have a picture of a Muslim woman shrouded in a burka. Beside it is a picture of an American beauty contestant, wearing nothing but a bikini.

The bikini should be compared to the burkini.

The burka can be compared to a pair of jeans, a sari, a salwar kurta, a dress or a skirt. This is what women who do not wear burka wear when they go to shop, work, fetch water or drop their children to school etc.

One woman is totally hidden from the public; the other is totally exposed.

One has a choice to wear anything she finds comfortable, the other can be flogged for as much as showing a strand of her hair. These are the two extremes.

These two extremes say a great deal about the clash of so-called “civilizations.”

Civilisations? More of a clash between a civilisation and another society that needs to stop flogging and stoning before it can be considered ‘civilised’.

The role of woman is at the heart of any culture.

It’s time the rest of the population was given the opportunity to protect and be at the heart of their own cultures. I am sure Muthaliks of the world would love to set good examples by respecting women and  leading peaceful, non violent, democratic lives.

Apart from stealing Arab oil, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about stripping Muslims of their religion and culture, exchanging the burka for a bikini.

You mean women are forced to go grocery-shopping in bikinis? Or are they permitted to acquire education, take up jobs and if they choose to, give up their burkas without fearing a flogging or stoning?

I am not an expert on the condition of Muslim women and I love feminine beauty too much to advocate the burka here. But I am defending some of the values that the burka represents for me.

Women’s wish and women’s convenience, not your love for their feminine beauty, should decide if they wear or reject the burka. The ‘feminine beauty’ happens to have a thinking mind and a heart full of (unfeminine?) desires.

Your love for feminine beauty having the power to decide how they dress is called objectification of women.

For me, the burka represents a woman’s consecration to her husband and family. Only they see her. It affirms the privacy, exclusivity and importance of the domestic sphere.

The dictionary meaning of ‘consecration’ is…  a solemn commitment of your life or your time to some cherished purpose ”

(religion) sanctification of something by setting it apart (usually with religious rites) as dedicated to God”

Does the ‘privacy and exclusivity of the domestic sphere’ help a woman live a life of her choice/liking (with the freedom she deserves as a human being)? What if she dreams of a lot more from her life?

Are dreams of running free on a beach (may or may not be in a bikini) considered condemnable or does she have a choice like any other individual? And if she does choose to run on a beach, does it mean that she’s any less ‘dedicated’ to the ‘domestic sphere’?

What if she is forced by circumstances to seek employment or self reliance? Does her ‘exclusive’ status come in the way of her achieving as much success as the next person with equal ability?

And what about the husbands ‘exclusivity’ to the wife.

The Muslim woman’s focus is her home, the “nest” where her children are born and reared. She is the “home” maker, the taproot that sustains the spiritual life of the family, nurturing and training her children, providing refuge and support to her husband.

This was expected from women everywhere. As we became civilised, we started realising that women also need a partner who shares the nurturing and training of her their children. And ‘providing refuge and support to’ a partner frees both men and women from rigidly defined gender roles.

In contrast, the bikinied American beauty queen struts practically naked in front of millions on TV.

And this bikinied woman knows she can continue to work, have children, marry and live even after thousands of male eyes have fallen on her bikinied self. And strut.

A woman is more than her skin and curves. She is a person. And every strand of her hair, every drop of her own blood, and every inch of her skin is all her own.

She can display it or cover it, feed a family by marketing it – it’s hers. Nobody is free to abuse her because she displayed more of herself than they approved.

A feminist, she belongs to herself.

Who should she belong to? To a man with a whip? Or to the moral police?

Wearing a bikini does not make a woman a feminist. Knowing nobody else can dictate what she wears makes her a feminist.

Feminists are well known for being against both beauty pageants and burkas, as both are seen as objectification of women.

And in a fair and just society, each one of us must belong to ourselves. Nobody is anybody’s property. Nobody must be taken for granted.

In practice, paradoxically, she is public property. She belongs to no one and everyone. She shops her body to the highest bidder. She is auctioning herself all of the time.

She is in control of her own life and body. She can auction herself or she can buy the auctioneer.

It’s her life, her choices. She knows, like anybody else, she can even afford to make wrong choices.  She knows a single mistake would not be the end of her life.

Western culture doesn’t collapse if one woman displays more skin than some other equal adults can handle.

In America, the cultural measure of a woman’s value is her sex appeal. (As this asset depreciates quickly, she is neurotically obsessed with appearance and plagued by weight problems.)

Not just in the West, women are under pressure to fit into local ideas of beauty/sex appeal all over the world.

In traditional societies where a woman’s life revolves around her husband and family, looking good or being fair is considered very important and since this is not something a woman can always control, this can be traumatic. In a civilised society a woman should be able to lead an independent, happy life no matter how unattractive her husband thinks she is.

As an adolescent, her role model is Britney Spears, a singer whose act approximates a strip tease. From Britney, she learns that she will be loved only if she gives sex. Thus, she learns to “hook up” furtively rather than to demand patient courtship, love and marriage.

Britney doesn’t need to teach her ‘she will be loved only if she gives sex‘. Something along these lines is actually taught to women in all cultures. This 1960s lesson in UK would be  still acceptable in the Middle East, even in India today and in many other parts of the developing world too. Many societies do not see marital rape as wrong even today. To find out how much she can ‘demand patient courtship, love and marriage’, watch this video. 🙄

As a result, dozens of males know her before her husband does.

Assuming this applies to all the women who do not wear err… ‘modest clothing’ – how does it help a girl to know nobody until she meets her husband? How does it help her live a happier, more fulfilling life? How does it make her a better, more self satisfied individual?

There is more to a woman than who she sleeps with. She is a real person with dreams, fears, passions, ambitions, anger, humour, whims… can we stop seeing her as an object of sex please? Female Genital Mutilation is another form of this same obsession with sexual-exclusivity, virginty and sex life.

And I wonder why doesn’t the virginity rule apply to the rest of the population.

She loses her innocence, which is a part of her charm. She becomes hardened and calculating. Unable to love, she is unfit to receive her husband’s seed.

Noorjehan and Cleopatra – amongst the most charming women in history, were not ‘innocent’.  Both married emperors. Both had been married more than once.

The same ignorance that is said to add to her ‘charms’ puts her at the mercy of the not so innocent and worldlier humans.

I wonder, how is innocence lost when knowledge is gained, or from meeting people, or even from sexual experience? Does she loose it then, once she is married? Does that mean she becomes boringly experienced or ‘charm-less’ after she is married?

A guy who demands innocence is probably missing the person behind the charm. Intelligence, wit, humour, confidence, poise and knowledge (and not innocence) seem more reliable and longer lasting even if ‘charms’ is what a girl requires to ‘receive his seed’.

I suspect this is a convenient brainwash to ensure she never becomes ‘hardened and calculating’ enough to question or walk out of a miserable or abusive relationship. She may never learn what she is missing (warmth, support, humour, camaraderie) because she never meets any men except her husband.

And most importantly isn’t there more to a person than her ‘charm’ and ‘innocence’ and being fit for ‘receiving her husband’s seed’?  Can we stop objectifying her?

The feminine personality is founded on the emotional relationship between mother and baby. It is based on nurturing and self-sacrifice. Masculine nature is founded on the relationship between hunter and prey. It is based on aggression and reason.

This is what little girls and boys are taught to believe, and it leads to a lot of trauma because a vast majority finds it difficult to fit into these rigid stereotypes.

This article, for example has no reason or logic (E.g. Men treat their partners or children like a hunter treats a prey?) – but it is written by a man. I have also read similar articles written by women. ‘Lack of reason’ I am afraid, has no gender.

Feminism deceives women to believe femininity has resulted in “oppression” and they should adopt male behavior instead. The result: a confused and aggressive woman with a large chip on her shoulder, unfit to become a wife or mother.

Why not just be oneself? Why ‘adopt’ any feminine or masculine behaviour?

The society needs bold, confident women and gentle, caring men. There is place for everyone. A healthy society allows each individual to be their best, without forcing them to fit into stereotypes.

Hypocrisy and deception doesn’t work. How long can a person pretend to be someone he/she is not?

Women (or men) who do not wish to be parents should not become parents. Every baby should be truly wanted by the parents.

This is the goal of the NWO social engineers: undermine sexual identity and destroy the family, create social and personal dysfunction, and reduce population. In the “brave new world,” women are not supposed to be mothers and progenitors of the race. They are meant to be neutered, autonomous sex objects.

Liberating women is often given as an excuse for the war in Afghanistan. Liberating them to what? To Britney Spears? To low-rise “see-my-thong” pants? To the mutual masturbation that passes for sexuality in America? If they really cared about women, maybe they’d end the war.

Liberating women means liberating an entire society from the rules made by a few for their own convenience.

Women (and men) should be empowered to take personal decisions. Members in a healthy society do not (and should not) force their views on all other members. There is no compulsion in religion but all societies use religion as an excuse to control individual lives.

A healthy society would not condemn a teenager to prostitution if she is seen wearing low rise ‘see my thong’ pants or if she is pregnant before she is married. The purpose of civilisation was to ensure happier lives for all. In oppressive societies everyone is compelled to follow rules set or interpreted by a few.

Parenthood is the pinnacle of human development. It is the stage when we finally graduate from self-indulgence and become God’s surrogates: creating and nurturing new life.

Parenthood was err… prevalent even before ‘human development’ 🙄  Only after ‘development’ did we restrict it to matrimony.

All living creatures become parents, so perhaps they all become God’s surrogate…  🙄

The New World Order does not want us to reach this level of maturity. Pornography is the substitute for marriage. We are to remain single: stunted, sex-starved and self-obsessed.

Pornography can never substitute for marriage, because marriage is much more than just sex.

Self obsessed? As in  Live-in relationships or same sex relationships? Forced marriages and child marriages worry me, but never self obsessed singles.

We are not meant to have a permanent “private” life. We are meant to remain lonely and isolated, in a state of perpetual courtship, dependent on consumer products for our identity.

This is especially destructive for woman. Her sexual attraction is a function of her fertility. As fertility declines, so does her sex appeal. If a woman devotes her prime years to becoming “independent,” she is not likely to find a permanent mate.

A permanent mate is equally important for both men and women, and yet if one is to live a happy life, one must not depend entirely on finding this ‘permanent mate’. If one does not find or if one loses a permanent mate, life must still go on and happily too.

If a woman’s happiness depends on the presence of a ‘permanent mate’(husband/ boyfriend/ partner) in her life, it can make her insecure and unhappy. This insecurity can lead to an obsession with looking young. A woman, like anybody else, needs to be seen above and beyond her ‘sexual attraction’ and the ‘function of her fertility’.

Her long-term personal fulfilment and happiness lies in making marriage and family her first priority.

And if she is divorced, widowed or remains childless then she has no fulfilment and happiness? Why not allow her to find a little more from her own life, just like everybody else does?

Feminism is another cruel New World Order hoax that has debauched American women and despoiled Western civilization. It has ruined millions of lives and represents a lethal threat to Islam.

I am not advocating the burka but rather some of the values that it represents, specifically a woman’s consecration to her future husband and family, and the modesty and dignity this entails.

Feminism has given women the right to vote, it has made it easier for them to be self reliant. Feminism made women equal partners to their spouses, it got them custody of their children, it provided them the courage to fight against sexual harassment. It has made it possible for them to walk out on a man who has been unfaithful or abusive –  Feminism is good for the society. No religion and no civilised society can find anything wrong with any of these.

Modesty is subjective and obsession with forcing women to be modest and dignified (Izzat) leads to flogging, stoning, stripping and honour killings etc all over the world. Their obsession with a women’s clothing, sexuality and bodies  might make an average god-fearing citizen suspicious of religious leaders. 😐

The burka and the bikini represent two extremes. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

The two cannot be compared 🙄 One has to walk on egg shells hoping she breaks no rules, the other can strut on a catwalk and knows, if she is wrong she can try again, and if she is right, she can rewrite the rules.

Comment moderation is enabled.

A guy who expects innocent charms is probably missing the person behind the charm.

Where ever a blogger goes… ;)

Today was the last day of Surajkund Crafts Mela, a colourful celebration of crafts and cultures from all over… I love the ambience and the festive feeling there.

Everybody looked happy 🙂

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Pink continues to be the Indian male’s favourite colour 😉 😆 😆

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I couldn’t resist bringing this Valentine’s Day gift for our moral police 😉

First there were men and women walking hand in hand!  😯 (Took this picture to capture the beautiful ‘darwaza’)

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And then there was this lingerie display 😉 🙄

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How I wish a blackened face could save us from this ashleeltaa 😉

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A traditional Rajasthani dance…

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And Shehanshah Akbar e alam looked like he needed a hair cut 😉

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We ate gobhi , mooli and aloo paranthas with radish-pickle and kabuli-chana. Two women on the next table thought (aloud) the pickle was bland. Here’s how they thought it should be made 😉

Radish, peeled, sliced and cut into 2 inch pieces. Ground mustard seeds, red chilli, turmeric, salt and oil mixed, kept in sun for two days.

Try it?

Instead of bothering about lingerie display…

‘‘Your mannequins should wear sarees, not underwear. From now on, keep all undergarments inside. Show it to the customer when he or she asks for it. Five days from now if undergarments are still hanging outside, we will light a bonfire of the lingerie,’’ Chandra Shekhar threatened.   [Link]

Is it legal to threaten to ‘light a bonfire of’ something we do not want displayed?

And what is their objection to the display of lingerie? Culture is not good enough a reason because Prudery was not a part of ancient Indian tradition or culture, it came to India with the British and the Victorian morality they imposed on us.

The traditional saree, they approve of, was worn without a blouse or a petticoat.

“… Sculptures from the Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta schools (1st-6th century AD) show goddesses and dancers wearing what appears to be a dhoti wrap… a long, decorative drape in front of the legs. No bodices are shown.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it is indeed documented that women from many communities wore only the sari and exposed the upper part of the body till the 20th century. Poetic references from works like Silappadikaram indicate that during the sangam period in ancient Tamil Nadu, a single piece of clothing served as both lower garment and head covering, leaving the bosom and midriff completely uncovered.[3] In Kerala there are many references to women being bare-breasted,[5] including many pictures by Raja Ravi Varma. Even today, women in some rural areas do not wear cholis.” [Link]

It would be better if they left the women’s underwear on window displays alone and focused on things like street sexual harassment. They could follow Italy’s example – ‘Italy Ban On Public Privates-Scratching.’ [ Same news,  another link.]

Or they could focus on this: http://twitpic.com/y6enk [click to see] by Brainstuck. (Thanks for the tweet and the link Poonam). Not as interesting as women’s  lingerie, but if they take interest, they get their free publicity, we get cleaner cities.

[Cartoon from : Communalism Watch, Hindutva attack on lingerie – R Prasad Cartoon in Mail Today. If Communalism Watch or the cartoonist R Prasad or ‘Mail Today’ have any objection to the cartoon being used here, please let me know, I will remove it.]

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Edited to add : Mr Balvinder Singh’s posts are a must read for those who still aren’t convinced that we need no moral policing.

About Konark Temple –

http://balvindersingh.blogspot.com/2009/01/pub-club-or-temple.html

Another one about Nagaland –

http://balvindersingh.blogspot.com/2009/02/journey-continues-to-nagaland.html

If someone dislocated your jaw…

If someone dislocated your jaw in one of the many violent beatings they gave you, how would you like to try to live with them and win their love?

23 year old Neha committed suicide on January 1st. Her family alleged that her in laws “used to beat her up...” [Link] “Once she was beaten so badly by Dalal  (her husband)  that her jaw got dislocated and she also lost her job as air hostess,” Atul Ahlawat, Neha’s cousin, alleged.” After losing her job as an Air Hostess, she found a job on the Cruise liner where her husband was working. [Details in the video below.] Allegedly he continued to beat her here and one day she just couldn’t bear it any more and killed herself.

I am trying to understand what kind of compulsions could make any parents let their child go back to a spouse who allegedly dislocated her jaw. What did they say to her when they asked her to go back? Would they have said the same thing if the child being beaten was a male child?

Why was it so difficult to let this financially self reliant adult walk out of what they allege was an abusive and violent marriage? I have blogged about this in ‘When a daughter refuses to go back’. I can never understand why we don’t trust our daughters when they say they are unhappy… why would we rather they died than walked out?

Here’s the translation of what the mother has to say. I know other Indian mothers who would have said exactly the same thing. My response in red.

“My daughter tried her best. (At best the beatings would become less frequent. The fear and mental abuse will stay. At best physical pain, indignity, embarrassment, humiliation and the lies to cover the bruises will become a part of her life.)

She did not want us to face any kind of unhappiness. (What about her unhappiness? Could she say the same thing for her parents?)

Neha was being tortured mentally. Physically too. (Why didn’t she have the confidence to walk out and save her life? Did she have no faith in her parents’ love and support?)

She told me this many times but I kept explaining to her that it will all be alright after a while. (It never gets ‘alright’, the threat of violence is always there and there is always a risk of injury and death)

The last time when she gave me the phone to speak to Ankit (the son in law) Ankit did not speak to me. And I heard Neha’s pained cry… like someone had hit her or something… then the phone was disconnected.” (This is a violent crime happening, and just because the criminal is a son in law does not make it okay. The parents should rush to the daughter’s side and if she has been brought up with any self worth and if she  trusts them, she will come back with them.)

I also feel violent men sense that the wife’s family would consider an odd dislocated jaw or broken bone their right as husbands. Nothing can be more encouraging for any criminal.

Dowry and Domestic Violence (DV) might lead to death by beatings or by suicide. Counselling and campaigns should be aimed at not just the victims but also the victim’s parents who see Domestic Violence as a domestic matter not a serious crime.

If it’s mine it can’t be wrong?

Sometimes I receive comments that insist that Culture, Customs, Religion & Rituals and Traditions cannot be wrong. They say there is a reason (often not obvious to an average follower) for each one of these  and if I find something unreasonable I can always ignore it.

But do I want to ignore my own Culture, Customs, Religion& Rituals and Traditions? I don’t think so. They are a part of me.

And if I do ignore them, someone else might not. This other person might not even realize that what’s hurting them can be questioned. Should we just sit and watch them suffer?

One option is to blindly accept, and even defend all wrongs. Deny there is any harm in them.

Like the custom of calling daughters ‘paraya dhan’, or tradition of widows wearing dull colours or the ritual of kuan poojan only when a son is born (in Haryana). Do we realise the serious repurcussions these have on our society and our daily lives? And anybody who says these are optional is not aware of what actually happens. 😦

The other option is to face that we aren’t perfect. Do we think our parents are perfect? And when we don’t, do we love them less? Then why this aversion to any mention of Culture, Customs, Religion & Rituals and Traditions as anything but perfect?

One reason could be a fear that ‘others’ might see our imperfections. But in this age of information, do we really believe that what we do not discuss, cannot be seen? Why not let ‘others’ see how open we are to discussion and reform, and maybe set a good example?

I received a very long comment (3000 words plus) that defended a large number of ills we blindly follow in the name of Culture, Customs, Religion& Rituals and Traditions, I hope to discuss these in forthcoming posts, but first I wanted to know, if it’s mine can it still be wrong? And if it’s mine and ancient can’t it still be wrong?

Or anything mine and ancient must be rationalized and proven perfect?