A crisis of stereotypes

This is going to be a personal post not a fiery commentary on ‘issues’…this blog has gotten to being quite aggressively feminist. Ever since I started writing XXFactor, I seem to have gotten an image of a feminist, which I’ve been hotly protesting. Now see, that is the whole point, isn’t it? Its not about what I believe but how passionately I believe it and how vehemently I express it. I still maintain that having an opinion doesn’t make me a feminist, it only makes me opinionated…and that much I am willing to acknowledge.

Why am I so anti-feminist? Well, as a matter of fact I do not believe that women are the superior sex. I don’t like stereotypes and the feminist point of view is as rigid a stereotype as the male chauvinist one….this whole new woman, (a la Cosmopolitan or whatever mag is propagating it) and the ‘kill the men’ syndrome. Like Sensorcaine once said, “I’d like to know where they’d all come from and what they’d have to talk about if it weren’t for men at all!!”

It struck me this morning that some of my opinions are probably very little to do with real belief. My revelation for the day is that I suffer an identity crisis. No, not an identity crisis in the sense of the “What kind of a person am I?” I pretty much know the answer to that and it is that I’m the kind of person who always has an answer to that, only it’s a different one from minute to minute. No, my identity crisis has to with gender. I have never strongly identified myself as female. Before you jump to any conclusions about my sexuality, I haven’t ever strongly identified myself as male, either (“a man trapped in a woman’s body” and all that…phooey, I didn’t say that). What I am trapped in is a stereotype-obsessed society.

Coming back to the crisis….would it be a crisis at all if people didn’t insist that it matter as much to me as it did to them? I was a tomboy in my childhood, then a near sexless being in my adolescent years, surrounded by a bunch of hormone-ridden boys who never even noticed I was female. And now? I’ve learnt the trappings of this stereotype. So I dress a certain way, talk a certain way, behave a certain way.

No issues then, no one has mistaken me for a man for many years now. Now oddly enough, when I started blogging, in the early days, before I wrote about the woman’s role today, my readers assumed that I was male. It irked me then. Just like it irks me now that people assume I’m a male-hating feminist now. And oh, this being described as a ‘chick-blogger’. It is the most mortifying experience on the blogsphere!! I mean, what the hell….on a medium where people have never seen what I look like or sound like, only read my views, all I am is a female body?

In a circuitous way, I’m going to backtrack to why this is offending me so much. My problem with each of those descriptions is that I don’t see them as any part of my identity. My gender…is simply the way my body is built….and it has very little to do with my real identity. Dammit then, I don’t want to be seen as a headstrong woman or even a strong woman. I want to be seen as a strong person.

I suspect some of this conflict comes because I grew up identifying far more with my father than with my mother. Freud could probably explain the mixed-up gender roles that followed from my wanting to be ‘like dad’, being attracted to men who were like him but also wanting to please them all by being the complement….and oh, I’m out of steam by now. But I’ve made my point I think.

Like the Godfather said, “Everything’s personal.” Incidently, quoting that character is a more masculine habit than feminine but I was referring not to the movie, but the book(which is a feminine thing to do since women are supposedly more verbal while men are visual.) :p I’ll shut up now. Whew…rant over.


About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on September 21, 2006, in Flying solo, Times, they are a-changing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. fellow human, for whatever my opinion is worth,you do come across as a strong, yet vulnerable “person” through your blog expressions.imo, Gender associations are as much a product of mental formations and conditionings as anything else, a kind of projected ideal.

  2. I agree with Sundar. I think you a have a very strong personality and that you are easily annoyed by people with frivolous arguments with no basis. What you are looking for is someone who can dominate you, someone who has a stronger personality that you do. And when you do meet someone like that, you will drop your guard and be the person that you really are, compassionate and caring. And then I may be absolutely wrong 🙂 You tell me!

  3. @ Sundar: We are all vulnerable somewhere. And creative expression involves tapping into that vulnerable side so I guess you see me that way.

    @ Yeda: 🙂 People who are dominating are very rarely truly strong…which I’ve found out the hard way. Leads to yet another contradiction, doesn’t it?

  4. Applies to you too? Everyone with a strong exterior shell has a soft core.

  5. @ Yeda: Everyone wears masks. 😉

  6. From wht I believe in.. feminism is rubbish. Because the idea of feminism arises from the thinking that men are at so-n-so level and women are at so-n-so level. Which then contradicts the very idea of feminism.. so in short its utter hyprocracy. Everyone is at the base of it all an individual, whether its a man, woman, gay, lesbian or transsexual. And every deserves respect. No levels in the respect, just a flat basic regard which no one cannot take away from anyone. No matter what. In my opinion, that is.

  7. @Pragni: If your ‘idea of feminism’ is about equality of sexes, I didn’t quite get what you meant by ‘…which then contradicts the very idea of feminism.’ Please delineate. Cavil- man, and woman are genders, gay and lesbian are sexual preferences, transsexual is a sexual identity. They are different. Also, I am glad that the idea of retaining individuality is mostly on paper. In reality, the herd-mentality wins.

  8. @ Brad: Is not! You and I are prime examples of human beings trying to fight to retain individuality even while subconciously following the herd-mentality. That’s why every now and then, one of us groups our similiarities together and defines the other as an alter-ego and then immediately tries so hard to oppose the other person to show how so ‘not-you’ we are. Makes sense?

  9. sometimes, teh expression of individuality falls into the trap of getting into “reactionary” mode; just shifting into an alternate concept; and acquiring a positionality from there; everything is but a concept, we are comfortable with some; the expression of individuality demands a heightened and dynamic awareness and the manifest of a suitable response to events and people around us, as different from a reaction..

  10. Brad- My idea of feminism does not exist at all. You compare two things when either one is lacking or less in any way. And I dont see how anyone can be less in any way, except intellectually. About the man, woman, gay, lesbian, transsexual bit, your definations are correct, but the people who want to deride these identities and preferances, use man/woman as a weapon against the rest. Which is niether valid not correct. In reality the herd-mentality wins yes, but THAT wave is exactly what I’m trying to ride against.

  11. @iS: That makes sense; but I never consciously thought about what you said. May be, I do it on a subconscious level.
    @pragni: It’s the patriarchial society that paved way for feminism; I concur.

  12. @ Brad: And I concur too.

  1. Pingback: Electra and Oedipus on a date « XX Factor

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