What men really mean when they say #NotAllMen

You are my friend, my colleague, a follower on Instagram, my father, my boyfriend, my ex.

You are a man, in this world, where the power dynamics between genders has been systemically skewed and abused to give you privilege over women, and other minority groups.

You enjoy a position that has been created and upheld since ages to give you innumerable advantages over us. You have been the decision maker among the two of us; you have benefitted from this position that your fathers, and their forefathers created for you to enjoy and exploit, and I understand you want to uphold it for your sons.

I know it must truly be scary to suddenly be asked to share that kind of power which was bestowed upon you for so long that it started feeling like entitlement instead of plain blatant privilege which it actually is. 

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Love is Not Even Seasonal in the life of a Differently-Abled

“The wound is the place where the light enters you”

  • Rumi

Director Shonali Bose quoted Rumi in her film ‘Margarita With A straw” that is based on her own cousin’s life who has cerebral palsy (permanent movement disorders caused by brain damage). Hereby quoting Rumi, Shonali refers to the process of self-healing in which one comes out of the abyss triumphantly after going through the tough times of despair.

However, this would only happen if the external elements are stabilized and not when a differently-abled is constantly reminded of her/his shortcomings. The film gave us hope for the future of differently-abled in India but this utopia seems to be a distant dream when we take a quick glance of the real facts.

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Feminist Characters from Tagore’s Stories That Resonate Even Today

Like most Indians, I had grown up hearing about Tagore, reading Where The Mind is Without Fear” in our textbooks but never really delving into the vast body of his literature. While I had memorized his name as the first Indian recipient of the Nobel Prize, I could not say the same about his stories.

On the other hand, disillusioned by the lack of innovative and progressive shows on mainstream Indian television, I too had turned towards bingeing on western shows. That’s when I discovered “Stories by Rabindranath Tagore” on Netflix. Directed by Anurag Basu and first aired on EPIC Channel, the show is based on stories written by Tagore a century ago. As I binge watched it, it shone through for its relevance and ideas far ahead of its time.

What struck me the most was the portrayal of the female characters- so different from what I had seen before. They couldn’t be fit into black or white categories of the “sanskari bahu” or the vamp, neither could they be understood using an upright moral compass. They rebelled, they questioned, they desired and most importantly, they challenged the status quo of the society they lived in without fearing the consequences.

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India decriminalised homosexuality last year, why is Bollywood still homophobic?

The year started with a pleasant surprise for the LGBT community and support groups when a Bollywood movie centered around two queer women hit the theatres in February 2019. While no one can deny that Sonam Kapoor’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga in itself was path-breaking cinema, the movie in its effort to sanitize the narrative to make it acceptable to Indian audiences lost the essence of lesbian love. It fails dismally to portray how two women who love each other behave in each others’ company. In the film, the two lovers are only seen exchanging a few hugs and some forehead pecks, in fact, they are called out for doing just that.

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Why are Indian men still refusing to use birth control methods?

Sex in India is still not openly discussed, not even in urban metropolitan cities. There exists a cultural taboo in accepting it as a natural act, at least until after marriage, which results in general ignorance and fallacy on the subject. There’s a lot more to sex than the act itself, and to educate ourselves on it is crucial. Porn websites alone cannot be the only places one learns about sex from.

The importance of using protection and the types of protection available is an important component of sex education and something which very few equip themselves with knowledge of. If our staggeringly high population is not testimony enough, there’s plenty of data available that supports the statement.

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Why is it so difficult to break up with a narcissist partner: Story of my survival

My ordeal at the hands of narcissistic men started almost a decade ago, in 2009, to be precise. Even recalling it, makes me loathe the absurd amount of time I wasted wallowing in self-pity for years simply because I thought this is what ‘love’ feels like.

Walking away from an abusive and mentally draining relationship, especially with a narcissist takes more than courage and pep-talk.

Narcissism is often associated with being simply obsessed with one’s physical appearance. However, what most of us fail to recognize is, narcissism is more than just that – it is an inflated sense of self-importance and superiority that one attaches to themselves. 

I have been in three serious relationships, and the degree of narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) in each of my partners was distinctly different from one another.

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Why am I not surprised by Vivek Oberoi’s crass tweet about his ex

As distasteful and crass Vivek Oberoi’s tweet about his ex was, I am neither surprised by the tweet, nor by his remorseless, arrogant remarks after being called out for it. After all, he is a man. Men in our society are conditioned to mock, call out names, and even threaten the women who reject them. It is a right that society has bestowed upon them since eternity. 

The controversial meme featured three pictures of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with two of her past boyfriends and her husband, and was captioned “opinion polls”, “exit polls” and “results”.  Continue reading “Why am I not surprised by Vivek Oberoi’s crass tweet about his ex”

How Indian parlor aunties contribute to insecurities in young women everyday

Growing up, I would dread a visit to the beauty salon, but my mother simply enjoyed it. She would blow up a fortune on each visit, because somehow her skin was never soft enough, her hands too rough, her hair lacked lustre and shine, and her eyebrows unshaped. I didn’t understand it, the 9-year-old me thought that she was so pretty. But the parlor aunty differed. Every time my mom went,  the salon aestheticians would pass a battalion of deprecating judgements along with ‘valuable’ beauty advices to make her ‘beautiful’. As a result– dozens of herbal and cosmetic products would end up at my mother’s old wooden dressing. I figured my mom had rather grown used to this unsolicited criticism. It was difficult for a young girl to understand why her mother kept on visiting a place where people said her skin was dull, and her feet too cracked.

However, in an interesting but sad turn of events, I grew up to be this very woman that my mother was; I started visiting beauty salons to become beautiful. Slowly, the casual remarks laced with criticisms by the aunties started appearing normal to me. As a teenager, I would often partake in the jokes that would go around about the parlor aunties as me and my friends told each other of our most recent ordeals at the salon. Before we knew it, looking down upon someone with unkempt hair, bushy eyebrows, body hair, and open pores slowly transgressed from the walls of the parlours to our minds. We normalized this behaviour and in return became a passive contributor to the toxic cycle. Continue reading “How Indian parlor aunties contribute to insecurities in young women everyday”

Simple, hard-hitting and one of Netflix’s finest Hindi cinema, SONI

In the backdrop of the movie there are two female police officers from two completely different classes, struggling to find their power and identity in a male dominated profession; at the forefront of the movie there are two women battling everyday hypocrisy, sexism and misogyny thrown their way at every step.

In the current scenario, a movie like Soni is a breath of fresh air, and shifts our focus to realistic cinema while raising some relevant questions. It does an important task of depicting everyday misogyny and male entitlement throughout the reel with the help of ingenious but thought-provoking scenes.

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My body is not an apology: The Delhi aunty incident

Women have reached to the moon and back, have to their credit successful scientific inventions, nobel prizes, a whole gamut of laureates in diverse fields, and yet here we are, being shamed and called out for wearing what we want, something that amusingly still offends an entire set of self-claimed moral police mob.

What was supposed to be a peaceful holiday on a fine Wednesday turned out to be a day filled with disturbing and probably life-long traumatic events for a bunch of girls who went out for a quick bite. The Internet (as always) continued to be divided on opinions on a viral video shared by a group of women confronting a middle-aged aunty who shamed them for wearing short dresses to lure men. That is sadly not the first time that a regressive public incident like this has come to the limelight. Men in our country on their high horses denying patriarchy altogether,  the mike-blaring leaders on stage disgracing women for wanting their basic right and of course the neighbourhood aunties judging the length of your skirt from their balconies have often limited women’s existence as the torch-bearer of maintaining cultural integrity (apart from raising men, of course) in the society.

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