The Cracked Glass

Guest Author: Vibha Shetiya

Originally published here: https://feminismandreligion.com/2017/04/30/the-cracked-glass-by-vibha-shetiya/

I haven’t shared this story with too many people, yet it is one that has always remained on the back burner of my mind.

I was almost thirteen and as boy-mad as an almost-thirteen-year-old could be. I remember me and my then best friend coming of age in Zambia, our experiences manifested in squeals of “Oh my god, I think he’s looking at us” or in the life-and-death decision of “Ooh, should we really walk past them?” for the ultimate target of a not-really-necessary packet of crisps, the “them” referring to equally silly, starry-eyed boys.

I thought these were universal expressions of puberty; shyly glancing over to catch someone’s eye, wanting to look your best while Jello-ed legs and a temporary loss of voice inhibited your ability to say a simple “hi” to the object of your very existence, the raison d’etre of your life, well, at that particular moment anyway.  Or deciding to spend the afternoon at the movies, never mind what was running, so long as cute guys would be hanging out for pretty much the same reason as you were. Of course, all of this was accompanied by the attention span of a freshly pubescent brain with expressions wrapped in innocence, with harmless and fleeting murmurings of the heart.

Very quickly, however, I learned – the hard way – of the power of cultural expectations and norms. At a family wedding soon after I had freshly arrived in India “for good,” a 19-year-old cousin of a cousin took a certain liking to me. We chatted, laughed, and at one point, even held hands. And then after the celebrations, I went back to my life, and he to his. Or so I thought. A few months later, he declared his love for me. I was at a loss – I hadn’t thought of him even once since then, although ashamed of my “shallowness,” I lied that I had.

Of course, by then, I had also been amply introduced to the ways of my new surroundings.  A woman’s character was like glass, you see. No amount of adhesive, soldering, covering, coaxing could hide a crack. I still remember the effect this declaration by an aunt had on my adolescent brain; what did that “crack” represent? What constituted a crack? Had I inadvertently caused a crack when I had gotten friendly with that young man? Did a crack necessarily mean my entire life would be worthless? I was suddenly very scared… I now realized that talking to boys was a sign of overt sexuality, perhaps sexuality gone out of control. I had learned a lot in the short months I had already come “back home” to India, notably about that famed chastity belt worn by women, and how it had to be kept under lock and key at all times until, of course, the wedding night when the key would miraculously resurface, whether you wanted to take off that belt or not.

By now, my fickle adolescent brain had layers of “Indian womanhood” to it, rather layers of what good Indian womanhood ought to be. Of course, there would always be bad women; women who drove men to do unsavory things, and whose own wicked ways caused that most sought after chastity to crumble, never mind crack a little. No way on earth did I want to be that woman.

I was a quick learner. I learned to suppress my blossoming sexuality; to feel that even having a silent crush on someone was wrong, that admiring a man’s good looks was unbecoming, that speaking to someone of the opposite sex would mean I was secretly having an affair with him, and hence tarnish my compromised image, which I was desperately trying to save after that disastrous encounter with the cousin-in-law. That didn’t stop me from having crushes though. Nevertheless, it was always a dichotomous experience – a crush would relieve some of the internal pressure, but I always ended up feeling it was wrong, and ended up hating myself for secretly being “in love” with someone, that something was wrong with me for being “boy mad.”

These injunctions slowly began to pervade other areas of my life. I began to feel the need to always be a “good girl,” to always say the right things, sit the proper way, wear the right clothes… I began to feel like a pressure cooker waiting to explode. While I never really did explode, the long journey towards implosion had begun.

I had forgotten my one week “fling,” but he hadn’t. Ten years later, I learned of his intention to marry me. A few years after that, he said I had promised to marry him. Not only was my reputation at stake now, my integrity was too – I had reneged on a promise. It didn’t matter that I had said nothing of the sort, and that the whole one week “affair” had climaxed into all of a holding hands session. People began to gossip. Someone even asked my mother: “Was it true?” To her credit, she dismissed the whole thing, a courageous act considering her own standing within the community was on the line as a mother of a young, out-of-control woman, a mother with a now potentially unmarriageable daughter on her hands. After all, what did that say about her child-rearing capabilities? I’m sure even today there are stories circulating of me and my “wildness.”

As I have grown older, I realize that this could be categorized as obsession and abuse of power given the fact that I was a minor. But as Bollywood movies often depict, the refusal to let go, and a dismissal of the other’s wishes, is supposedly an indicator of true love (on the part of a man). Decades later, I’m still trying to process the whole thing. Was I indeed an “over-sexed” teenager? After all, my cousins knew better than to chat with an unfamiliar male, never mind “flirt” with him. Did I ruin his life? I hear that he has pretty much turned into an alcoholic. Was it because of me? Was it my “Western” upbringing that had led to this confusion and mess? Maybe I was a bad person at the core. Or maybe I was someone who just enjoyed playing with people’s hearts.

As my (American) husband keeps reminding me, the fault was not mine but of extreme patriarchal expectations. On a rational and intellectual level, I know that. And I have definitely come a long way since then. But on the emotional, every now and then, I still find myself struggling, years later, with feelings of guilt and shame.

Vibha Shetiya was born in India and raised in Zambia before moving back to India as a teenager. She has been living in the US since 1999. She has degrees in journalism and religion and a Ph.D in Asian Cultures and Languages. Vibha moved to Albuquerque in 2014 from Austin where she completed her dissertation on feminist versions of the “Ramayana,” an ancient Hindu epic. She teaches at the University of New Mexico.

Questions from Priya:

  • why is a woman’s sexuality feared so much?
  • why is a woman’s desire seen as shameful?
  • why is a crush seen as a full blown committed relationship?
  • why is rejection (in romantic relationships, especially rejection of a man by a woman) seen as such a terrible thing?
  • Going beyond this post …….
  • a woman who has many casual relationships is seen very differently from a man who does – she is a “slut” while he is a “stud” – she is demeaned while he is simply “scoring”
  • what are your thoughts and experiences with dating?  how are man/woman relationships different/similar in today’s India compared to the past? cities versus smaller towns?
  • do men still require virgin wives while they feel this doesn’t apply to them?

Related Posts:

Teenagers!

Inter sex mingling in coed schools – permitted or not?

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

Who benefits from criminalizing consensual teenage sex?

Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

Don’t fall in love NOW!

An email: “Even after marriage, he shows absolutely zero interest in me. It’s been SEVEN years.”

Sharing an anonymous email. 

“I even asked my husband if he was maybe gay, in which case I just won’t tell anyone about it…”

 

Dear IHM,

I’m in a very unhappy state and so confused with what to do..

I have been married for 7 years (known my husband 2 years before that when we “dated”)… while we were dating, nothing sexual happened between us (not even a kiss, no heart racing stuff)… while I didn’t give it much thought then, now I feel I should have!

Even after marriage, he shows absolutely zero interest in me. It’s been SEVEN years and through these years, I have fought, cried, reasoned out, explained myself, allowed him to be the way he wants… basically everything that I could do.

I have told him openly I miss the “sex”, not as a physical activity but more as an emotional one.

I have told him I’m okay with doing anything and that he needs to feel comfortable and rest assured I won’t judge him incase he has weird tastes (I was thinking “fetish” or “role play”).

I even asked him if he was maybe gay, in which case I just won’t tell anyone about it, we would work on the  pregnancy thing through alternatives.

But he just doesn’t give me the input I need. There is zero cooperation from his side.

He keeps saying there is no problem (evidently there is!)… and he says “we will do this week”, “we will have sex next week” etc

And SEVEN years have passed already.

I’m am  at an extremely depressed stage. I do not know what to do.

I cry randomly, I feel sad… and I’m crying as I type this.
I’m scared that I’m getting into depression without me even realising it!

And I feel so worthless through it all. I feel like there is no one really for me (my parents are no more) and many a times I have thought about divorce.

Few things…

1. 98% he’s not gay (saw some porn details on his mobile history. Regular porn, no fetish types or gay types)
2. I’m extremely hygienic and smell good
3. Our environment is sex friendly
4. I’m a good looker and quite attractive (not to sound vain, but wanted to clear certain basic questions that might pop up)

Can you PLEASE do a topic on this, I feel like I need to see things from a fresher perspective..

Thanks a ton!

Related Posts:

Can a woman marry and change an uninterested (in marrying her) man into a responsible, loving husband?

And what would have happened if this man had declared that he was gay and hence would not marry a woman?

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

A comment- ‘Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.’Depriving wife of sex is cruelty, Mumbai court rules

Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high courtQuestion about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?

Gird Your Loins – Aarti Sethi, Kafila

“Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender.”

An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

‘I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

Does it hurt the first time you have sex?

Post by Boiling

My research on this topic started when K got engaged. She shared that she was scared of getting intimate and having sex with a guy she had not interacted with much. “How the hell is one supposed to do that with a guy we have known only for a few weeks?”,   she asked. I did not have much knowledge in that area so I could not offer much advice. On top of that, I had the same fears and doubts as her and was not sure how I would work out in the whole arranged marriage thing. All I knew was that it hurt the first time and because it is such a taboo topic nobody talked about it much.

  • K confided in another friend who was married: J. J said that her husband waited a week to have sex and one day when they were finally about to have it, she started crying due to sheer nervousness and he got angry. She felt sex the first time was quite painful and slightly painful for her husband as well. She empathized with women who were raped after that because if consensual sex was so painful, rape would be even more painful. J also mentioned another of their friends whose husband forced her every time into having sex.
  • I asked another married lady and she told me they had sex on the first night. All her relatives gave her only one piece of advice: “Do whatever your husband wants you to do.”  She said sex per se was not painful but she could not walk properly for a couple of days after because her legs hurt a lot.
  • Another lady told me that she felt off colour the next day and she walked a bit differently and her relatives were smirking because it showed what happened on the first night.
  • I searched online and a lady had similar fears as K. Many ladies told her it would be painful the first few times but “after pain comes pleasure 😉
  • Other sources like books and movies seemed to indicate the same thing – that sex was painful for women the first few times at least. Take for example,  ‘Fast times at Ridgemont High (1982)’. There is a scene where two girls are talking and one of them said it kinda hurt her and the other girl tells her it will get better with time. The girl just seems to be a passive participant in sex and doing it because everybody seems to be doing it.

Basically, every source I turned to told me that first time sex was painful and this made me dread it so much. I was scared of having sex because I was afraid that my vulva would hurt real bad. When I had sex for the first time, I closed my eyes in anticipation of the pain that would follow and laughed loudly when I did not feel a bloody thing. I waited for my legs to start hurting or see if I walked differently and I did not feel or see any changes. Life went on as normal. Not being a virgin did not seem like a big deal at all.

Everybody said it was painful because saying it was fun the first time would make them seem like loose characters. Another common thread I noticed was lack of arousal and adequate lubrication for the female. People just rushed into it even when they were tired after the wedding with expectant relatives giggling and asking questions indirectly the next day. Also, in most cases, no contraception was used on the first night.

I did not get why everybody made such a fuss about how painful it was or maybe I did. This was just a way to control women, their bodies and their sexuality. Sex is not painful the first time, if the woman is aroused and properly lubricated.

P.S: I hope this helps someone who was searching for answers like me. 

Readers, did it hurt the first time you had sex?

Related Posts:

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

‘I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?

Indian loses online bid to buy Brazilian student’s virginity

An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

Tightey-whitey vaginas: The boys are depending on us

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

Gird Your Loins – Aarti Sethi, Kafila

“Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender.”

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

“…if this thing comes out my husband will think my wife is after all not that ‘pure’ or is not that ‘untouched flower’”

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“Girls need to be little bit aware of the consequences. Men – will enjoy …”

Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high court

“Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender.”

“I think that sexual education, and porn education, is more vital and effective than censorship.”

When we consider banning porn who are we protecting or punishing?

Those involved in the making of it? Those who watch it? Those who are affected because of the way porn influences the society’s ideas about sex, objectification of women and women’s sexuality?

In this interview Feminist erotica director Erica Lust talks about how ‘traditional chauvinistic porn are part of a patriarchal structure’ and more. In her opinion, “porn is a discourse about sexuality and works like an educator about sex and gender.” 

She makes a lot of sense.

Porn needn’t be smutty: Feminist erotica director Erica Lust

Let me share some quotes.

1.

“…why do you think more men than women watch porn? Because most films cater to the male gaze only! Alternative erotica offers more diversity, higher production standards and exciting narratives that both genders can enjoy!”

2.

In chauvinistic porn, the sad reality is that women are often taken advantage of, abused and forgotten when they have been “used.” I want to have an alternative to that! There is no reason sex in film should all be done in a smutty, shady, exploitative manner – it can be done in a safe space, artistically, humane and with respect for everyone involved.

3.

My performers, men and women, … are all sex-positive and smart people, who understand that sex is a beautiful thing and nothing to be ashamed of!

4.

Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender– so if a massive part of the cultural landscape, meaning traditional porn, is chauvinistic in its portrayal of women and embodies regressive ideas about women, sure those ideas are going to rub off when they are presented time and again. That’s why it’s important to have positive alternatives.

5.

I think sometimes as a woman, it can feel as if your sexuality has been hijacked – maybe by society’s ideas about sex, social stigma, mainstream porn, unrealistic beauty standards. To enjoy sex, you have to think about what you want, what desires and fantasies you want to entertain and what makes you happy, and also what doesn’t make you happy.  It’s good to know that all the images we see about sex are not necessarily true.

 

Another link,

It is no secret that adult content available caters largely to men; it is “disturbing”, says Manchanda how much of it is misogynistic. More than 90% of all explicit adult content contains violent imagery and derogatory language towards women…  [Read more: Saying it explicitly: Why Indian women watch porn]

Related Posts:

Ban on porn? Many adult sites inaccessible from Indian ISP

‘a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women.’

Who benefits from banning of Porn sites?

Does porn affect how men view sex, women and children?

An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

What the hell is difference between a homemaker and a porn star?

Three Ministers, including the Women and Child Welfare Minister caught watching porn in assembly.

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Several well-known businessmen arrested in Hyderabad on Sunday for being involved in a high profile prostitution racket.

“Such mannequins will excite men and pose a danger to women.”

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

The Guwahati mob molestation video and the Gurgaon mob molestation video.

Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

 

“I’m baffled that Indians (not just men) truly think that virtue stems from being sexually chaste.”

Sharing an email from Anonymous. 

Subject: Link regarding a wife’s sexual past

Hello IHM,

I am a reader of your website.

I had run across a link that I thought you and your readers would find interesting (maybe). It details a man dealing (badly) with the strong possibility that his wife has some kind of sexual history.

The comments in the article are interesting from both sides of the debate.

I also wanted to include a link to a similar discussion, from a Western point of view. It’s a link to an American sex / relationship advice columnist. I don’t always agree with the advice he gives, and there are problems I have with his point of view, but I do find it interesting that his advice is quite similar to the advice given in the original article.

Incidentally, Dan Savage, the American, has occupied an interesting niche in US popular culture. The US actually has a fairly conservative view of sex; however, Dan has set himself up as a no-boundaries type of columnist. You can ask him literally anything. This has led to some really interesting questions being asked of him over the years. In that time, the questions have evolved beyond technical questions regarding sex, and more about ethics in relationships.

RANT WARNING:

Why in the world am I going on and on about this? Because, even as an Indian female who was raised in an Indian culture, in the Middle East, I never understood the hangups Indians have about sex.

Even so, I tried to be a good girl and never dated, never dressed provocatively, never drank, never smoked or did drugs, and hadn’t even kissed a boy when I got married (I had moved to North America at college age). I got out of my marriage with my virginity intact (sorry for the graphic detail), because my body rejected my husband – I simply wasn’t attracted to him. So much for the rewards for being a good girl.

After my divorce, I thought ‘to hell with this, I’m going to live!’ and I dated and did everything that went with it.

I’ve now decided to put myself on the meat, er, marriage market again, and again, I find I’ll pretty much have to go into that shell: to get married, I have to project myself as a robot, who functions to keep house, make money, and timidly accept whatever her husband deigns to give her, with no reciprocation (because after all, where did I learn *that* from? Answer: the internet, dummy).

I’m baffled that Indians (not just men) truly think that virtue stems from being sexually chaste.

END OF RANT

Anyway, the links are below:

http://www.loveinindia.co.in/wife-sex-before-marriage/

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/savage-love/Content?oid=889937

(the letter I was referring to is the first one)

Happy Reading!

Related Posts:

“let me ask – how many girls in city remain pure till marriage ?”

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?

‘I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.

An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

“…if this thing comes out my husband will think my wife is after all not that ‘pure’ or is not that ‘untouched flower’”

‘I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal ‘Consequences’ for women.

Madam so many rapes don’t happen in Germany coz girls don’t refuse to have sex.’

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

‘Rape is theft of the victim’s potential to fulfil her destiny from birth, the pivot of her existence, her marriage.’

If pre-marital sex if here to stay, then so are HPVs and other STDs.

“I am terrified of confiding in my husband, though I really really want to just cry on his shoulder.”

“Girls need to be little bit aware of the consequences. Men – will enjoy …”

“See – UNICEF has figured it out. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out.”

The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal ‘Consequences’ for women.

The ‘My Choice’ video, below has angered many.

I read comments fearing it might influence gullible Indian women into having sex outside or before their marriages, without understanding the ‘consequences’ of such irresponsible behaviour’.

Here are some of the offensive lines. The more offensive ones in bold.

My choice to have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage, to not have sex.

IHMAll the video is saying is, it’s women’s bodies, women’s choices, and of course women’s consequences. Rape, acid attacks and murder are not included in legal or acceptable consequences; Divorce, Heartbreak, Lessons learnt, Experience gained,  Break ups and Moving on are.

The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages, violence etc that are viewed as normal Consequences for women who are not able to follow the impossible to follow How-to-avoid-getting-Raped Rules. And often also for those women who do everything as they are told.

But for many, it seems, it’s annoying enough to imagine Indian women hearing about having a Choice in anything, but to tell them that they own their own bodies and sexuality is clearly going too far. This video could give some women the idea that having sex before marriage does not mean they have to marry the person, or be killed by their fathers and brothers (etc), or be ready to be raped by anybody because now they are no longer marriageable.

Or women might imagine or claim that having sex outside marriage is almost a legal right. What kind of videos give women ideas that they can think of sex as something they have a choice in? Do they think they are men? Men are different, and anyway we don’t make videos telling men they can have sex outside marriages, we just have an entire system in place that ensures that men have access to sex outside marriage and ofcourse we don’t approve!  We do roll our eyes at ‘these men!”. Women are different, they are our mothers and wives and honours.  And women have the responsibility to make sure nothing changes in this system that keeps them dependent and controlled.

Also, who should be held responsible for women (misguided by this video) and acid attacked or honor killed for sex before or outside marriage?

Or for thinking they can refuse to have sex with the man they have been ‘married off’ to.

Videos like this can break up the Social System that’s working so well and keeping women Safe and Empowered.

 My Choice to love temporarily or to lust forever. My Choice to love a man or a woman or both.

IHM: Obviously lust is a vice (specially for women) and Indian women only think of sex as a duty they must provide to the pati parmeshwar, who has been chosen for them by their family elders.

To love temporarily is unthinkable for Indian women – once married-off they belong to the pati parmeshwar. Even if they are widowed.

The idea of temporary love is so abhorrent to us that rape victims are offered the option of marrying those who  have sexually assaulted them. It’s all about sexual inexperience and ‘permanence’ in women’s relationships it seems.

Also note how love, marriage, purity, character and sex are connected.

My Choice to come home when I want. Don’t be upset when I come home at 4 am. Don’t be fooled if I come home at 6 pm.

IHM – This is a response to the general idea that good  women reach home before dark, and women who stay out till after dark (or after 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, depending on the the preferences of the person passing the judgment) ask to be sexually assaulted.

And here’s a response from Shail Mohan. Why is this so difficult to understand?

Dear people making fun of the *choice* video (you all know which one),
We all have the choice (yes, to have sex outside marriage too), and suffer whatever consequences it may lead to (it could be the divorce court). Choice also means the choice to make mistakes. The point is outsiders (the moral policing goons or any other outsiders) have no say in all this. Besides no one is asking YOU to have sex outside marriage. Are they? So why all the drama?
Yours
Someone who cannot understand the whole lot of noise being made.

This second video is a response to the My Choice video. This video gives an idea of just how much some of us are worried about women being given choices.

Do watch. What do you think?

The general outrage is not really surprising in a society where polygamy (by men) is tolerated, and where marital rape is still legal. Where married men (well known and respected married men) still have, not just sex but also marriages, children and relationships outside their marriages.

Deepika would have found more support had she  talked about,

A virtuous woman’s right to marry (against his wishes) a man she has had consensual sex with.

Or a woman’s right to save her marriage to an unwilling partner.

Violence, castration and humiliation for a man accused of having consensual sex with an unmarried adult woman from another caste/community. (Because this can’t be made right with marriage)

A woman’s right to marry her rapist.

A woman’s right to supplement her family’s income by working in night shifts.

Related Post:

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.” – Rape being viewed as Sex outside marriage.

7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court

Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Please watch Queen.

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

‘Madam so many rapes don’t happen in Germany coz girls don’t refuse to have sex.’

Do you see this comment as a step towards convincing the world that Indian men (and society) respect women?

A female professor of Germany refused to accept Indian student coz of rape cases in India. I want to say – Madam so many rapes don’t happen in Germany coz girls don’t refuse to have sex.[www.facebook.com/KRK.Kamaalkhan]

What do you think does he mean? Others before him have said the same thing ofcourse.

How do you think does Kamaal R Khan define rape?

Does he seem to respect a woman’s right to consent or to refuse sex?

Does he seem to view women being raped as virtuous and moral (She was too pure and sanskaari to desire being violently and sexually assaulted); and does he seem to view women having or desiring consensual sex as immoral?

Related Posts:

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

‘The victim should have surrendered when surrounded by six men, at least it could have saved her intestines’. [Anita Shukla]

The girl could have called her assailants brothers and begged them to stop.[Asaram Bapu] –

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.” – Rape being viewed as Sex outside marriage.

7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court

Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”

“I will not sit back and allow the image of India’s men to be tarnished by an article that does not articulate other sides to India.”

 

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

A Guest Post by Rucha.

As someone who is still figuring myself out, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a country where I could explore my sexuality via the Internet *ahem* to see what I liked and disliked, even though I live in a VERY conservative family, I wonder how it would be for young adults living in India who have such repressed ideas about sexuality and a tremendous focus on studies and getting a job. When it comes time for arranged marriage, they are automatically expected to marry the opposite sex and then usually have intimate relations on the first night! Even in US fundamentalist circles, there is a year given to getting to know each other. But in Indian arranged marriages, you have to decide in 1-3 meetings if you like each other or not (never mind getting to know each other-the elders think that can happen AFTER marriage!)

Never mind figuring out what TYPE of sexuality you have, how do you even know you HAVE a sex drive/sexuality if you are pushed into it like that after repressing it for that long? How many Indian couples are actually physically attracted to each other? There is no room for not being “sure” of your sexuality, it is assumed that you are straight and like men/or women even if you have never had a relationship before! Also what if you find out on your wedding night you are not attracted to your SO?

I think this happens to women more than men, because men often place importance on a woman’s beauty during the marriage search, but if a woman sees an unfortunate-looking man but with a high salary, her relatives will often try to downplay the importance of physical attractiveness because of the higher financial stability. I know that happened to my mom, when she was meeting a guy who had glasses and did not look very good but came from a rich house. Her aunt and uncle tried to convince her that you have to take everything into consideration, including education, good family values, etc, not just the face. Another trick is to say that good physical appearance is temporary and will go downhill with age.  Fortunately she did not end up marrying him or I wouldn’t have been born!

I read a story about how a devout man, who had never watched a porn film in his life was married to a similar devout woman. On their wedding night, he had no idea what to do and had to call his parents for steps! I think that it is truly more sad than embarrassing. How can you get married with putting something as important as sexuality on the back burner and just hoping the problem will go away or resolve itself with time?

I read another story about a woman who was best friends with a guy and so when pressure started for her to get married, she married him. In 10 years, they had intimate relations only 2 times and it was only when she was pressured to have a child she figured out she did not like sex with men, wasn’t even physically attracted to him, her relationship with her husband was more of siblings, and she was a lesbian. Imagine how much pain and heartache could have been saved for all if she explored her sexuality before getting married. But again, there was the assumption that of course she is straight, why wouldn’t she be and that if there is a problem the couple will figure it out themselves behind closed doors.

I am interested to know what your readers think about my above questions and comments.

Also posted on – theindianamericanfeminist.blogspot.com.

Related Posts:

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

And what would have happened if this man had declared that he was gay and hence would not marry a woman?

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

Of Love, Lust and Respect

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her?

Here’s why a 6-year-old rape survivor was ordered to marry alleged rapist’s 8 year old son.

“…offenders who raped unmarried (and virginal) women got higher sentences in contrast to men who raped married women”

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”

And what would have happened if this man had declared that he was gay and hence would not marry a woman?

Would he still risk being arrested under the same Sec 377?

It seems the crime he is being arrested for is not that he cheated the woman (for that we have options like asking the victim to adjust), but that he is gay.

But what options did the legal system permit this citizen here? Stay unmarried and pretend he is not gay?

Sec 377 slapped on Infosys techie after wife catches his gay acts on spycam

Though they had been married for a good six months, John allegedly refused to touch Lisa and did not initiate any physical contact with her. The two even slept in separate rooms, according to the dentist.

“I first spoke to John and advised him to get a medical test done, thinking he did not want to get intimate with me because he was impotent. However, he flatly refused; so I had no option but to approach his parents. Imagine my utter shock when they blamed me for their son not being attracted to me, saying he was ‘perfect’ and that I was flawed in some way…” Lisa recalled.

 

[Newly wed Sweety faced the same pressure to ‘attract’ Smartu in this case. – IHM]

 

…Finally, the dentist decided to take matters into her own hands. Turning detective, she installed hidden cameras…  she was aghast to find recordings of her husband’s homosexual encounters with another man. … armed with the evidence, walked into the nearest police station to file a complaint.

 

“I have also accused my in-laws of cheating me since I believe they knew their son was gay, but intentionally led me to believe he wasn’t. They have cheated me and ruined my life by getting me married to him,” the dentist rued.

Related Posts:

“If I was born somewhere else, sometime later, in a more liberal family, in a more equal world…”

Can a woman marry and change an uninterested (in marrying her) man into a responsible, loving husband?

“Homosexuality is criminal offence, Supreme Court rules.”

The Liberals will Live And Let Live…

Who is the victim in this crime?

How do you define Sin?

How Do You Distinguish Right from Wrong?

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

Maybe it’s because we are still a young Democracy…

 

Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage, Deepika Padukone slams leading daily.

I think this is a positive. This simple statement makes so much sense,

“Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage.” 

It should start a much needed dialogue and hopefully influence in some small way, the way women’s bodies are viewed. As of now, everybody in India seems to know who owns women’s bodies – including the bodies of women in public spaces.

I also hope we hear more about how offensive it is to those who are directly affected, than to the brothers, fathers and husbands of some of them. We also must consider the possibility of some women not having willing male relatives to feel outrage of their behalf.

At the same time, it’s not surprising that many Indians can’t quite understand what  Deepika Padukone could possible mean. Because, the point for them is just that: She should not forget that she is a woman, and has breasts and a cleavage.

These comments on the internet should be read without anger or outrage,   because those who are saying this, probably believe what they are saying.

1. For this commentator – It’s all about Men.

Why on the first place show ur body to Men? Beauty is not skin show only . Deepika must realise it someday.

What men find beautiful. And what women must realise about men’s preference, i.e. women’s skin showing versus women’s skin covered. 

It’s not surprising that they think this way – because even when we talk about the Skewed Gender Ratio, we hear it’s a concern only because men need wives. And when we talk about protecting women from sexual assaults, it’s because they are men’s sisters and daughters. 

When do we hear about women as people with rights and feelings and Bodies of their own?

 

2.

I condemn the TOI article. At the same time, I sincerely think that by showing their physique only, most of these cine-stars make their living. So there is controversy here. I think we should condemn both.

Why do you think is this comment condemning ‘both’?

There is no doubt in his/her mind that a woman ‘showing’ her body is wrong – and that women need approval and deserve condemnation for attempting to view their bodies (and minds) as their own business.

So if a woman steps out of her home, and doesn’t keep in mind the preferences of men in the street outside, what else does she expect?

 

 

3. 

This comment is why objectification of women needs a post, many posts, maybe a tag. We should talk more about all the ways in which women are objectified. And if and how it influences women’s lives and safety.

what about item numbers ? what about leela ? dam maro dam . They show if they get money , when no mone?y. Rape and crime against women are increasing and they play a important part in that.

Also, rapes and crime against women are not increasing. The silence of survivors is ‘decreasing’. The confidence to report rape is increasing.The fear of being shamed, blamed and named is decreasing.

* * *

Many more misogynistic but mostly heart felt opinions on the links below.

Do these opinions matter? Do they influence women’s lives? I am sure those who hold these opinions do control the lives of ‘their women’ – their sisters, wives and daughters.  I am confident that Deepika Padukone’s assertion is a step in the right direction. Specially since she did get a male friend or relative to speak on her behalf.

Deepika Padukone Should Consider it a Compliment: ‘Defence’ of Cleavage Tweet

Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage, Deepika Padukone slams leading daily; Bollywood stands in support

OMG: Deepika Padukone exposes cleavage!

Some related Posts:

A double mastectomy in a world where a woman is seen as ‘packet of behinds, thighs, hair and lips’.

That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it.

Kangana Ranaut’s interview.

If pre-marital sex if here to stay, then so are HPVs and other STDs.

My skirt is not your license, pervert. – A splash of my life…