Monthly Archives: June 2008

Empowered Little Woman

Meetu’s little girl is learning all about gender roles and what she can use to her advantage.

It makes me wonder whether the gender stereotypes are really learnt or whether women just are smarter. 🙂

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The Old Girls' Club

This account by HawkEye made me smile and my fingers itched to type back something acidic that only the female of our species would find funny. I desisted.

Like all urban woman, sustained on a balanced diet of chocolate, over-named cocktails and credit card bills, I’m an SATCist – a loyal fan of Sex and the City. Of course I was looking forward to the movie with bated breath. And yes, I did that cliched thing that most women did. Watched the movie on the day of its release, dressed to the nines and with a bunch of gal-pals. Every woman I know did it and several posted about it. Lalita Iyer at HT Cafe wrote about it in her column Chicklit. 🙂

I must have been sitting next to the only man in the theater. I could practically imagine him in a mental straitjacket, trying hard not to break down. One woman or two or perhaps even three he might have been used to. But a theater full of women must have become a mob in his eyes. We hooted. We jeered. We whistled and catcalled. We giggled. We gasped and pointed out shoes, handbags, clothes and jewellery. We ooh-ed and aah-ed and sighed. We whispered and then emboldened by the lack of frowny-shushes, our voices rose in pitch. I was almost sorry for him. Almost.

Well, don’t mistake me. I’m normally quite a kind person (yes, I am and who dares contest that??!!!) and I don’t like bullying. But some instincts are too much for even me to fight. I am part of that mob called the Old Girls’ Club. And when it out-numbers the rest, it’s all about loyalty to the tribe.

Is this is a natural occurance, only an imitation of the boy-gangs that have been around for years? The ones that tormented us in childhood by throwing away our dolls, then harangued us as teenagers by hanging around in packs and discussing our anatomy in gruesome detail? They hung together despite glaring differences with that one-minded dedication to the cause. Well okay, we picked it up a little later but here we are.

I don’t see this happening to the Princesses and the Barbie dolls I’ve been classmates (and *gulp* even friends) with along the years. The ones who’ve settled into the classic roles of little women are happy with their lives. It’s the rest of us, the Alpha Females, Modern Women, bitch-pack so to speak, riding the wave of liberation, basking in the alcohol/nicotine fumes and weilding economic and mental independence that join the club. Among our many memberships and subscriptions, we sign up for an Old Girls’ Club.

Friday night a galpal across the world buzzed me online to ask what my plans were. I replied,

Meeting four luverly ladeej. One is silent, sarcastic and so cool. Another is delightfully undiplomatic. Precious is a darling. And Raindrop is a real joy to be around. Being with my gal-bunch is soo much funner than being on a date!

She buzzed back a 🙂 in agreement.

I have any number of girlfriends, a relatively recent occurance for me since I grew up being ‘one of the boys’. I ‘do coffee’ (you never ‘do coffee’ with a man unless he’s gay) with them. I go window-shopping with them. I dress the way I normally – outrageously – do but I actually let them give me an opinion of my clothes (Who cares what a man thinks?? Whatever do men know about clothes anyway?). I join them in a mass-crib-fest about the stupidity of men in general with long, involved discussions about the actual man (men) in each one’s case. As self-appointed and then unanimously-elected wildchild, I amuse them by haranguing some man by making eyes at him and watching him blush furiously. They boost my ego when it’s flagging. In return, I write XXFactor. (At one point of the time, this blog’s tagline was ‘For a woman…by a woman…because I’m a woman.’ Now you know where that came from.)

I guess we haven’t really gotten used to independence as much as we’d like to believe. We still define ourselves by our relationships with other people. Except that, instead of a man, it’s a bunch of other women.

The Old Girls’ Club

This account by HawkEye made me smile and my fingers itched to type back something acidic that only the female of our species would find funny. I desisted.

Like all urban woman, sustained on a balanced diet of chocolate, over-named cocktails and credit card bills, I’m an SATCist – a loyal fan of Sex and the City. Of course I was looking forward to the movie with bated breath. And yes, I did that cliched thing that most women did. Watched the movie on the day of its release, dressed to the nines and with a bunch of gal-pals. Every woman I know did it and several posted about it. Lalita Iyer at HT Cafe wrote about it in her column Chicklit. 🙂

I must have been sitting next to the only man in the theater. I could practically imagine him in a mental straitjacket, trying hard not to break down. One woman or two or perhaps even three he might have been used to. But a theater full of women must have become a mob in his eyes. We hooted. We jeered. We whistled and catcalled. We giggled. We gasped and pointed out shoes, handbags, clothes and jewellery. We ooh-ed and aah-ed and sighed. We whispered and then emboldened by the lack of frowny-shushes, our voices rose in pitch. I was almost sorry for him. Almost.

Well, don’t mistake me. I’m normally quite a kind person (yes, I am and who dares contest that??!!!) and I don’t like bullying. But some instincts are too much for even me to fight. I am part of that mob called the Old Girls’ Club. And when it out-numbers the rest, it’s all about loyalty to the tribe.

Is this is a natural occurance, only an imitation of the boy-gangs that have been around for years? The ones that tormented us in childhood by throwing away our dolls, then harangued us as teenagers by hanging around in packs and discussing our anatomy in gruesome detail? They hung together despite glaring differences with that one-minded dedication to the cause. Well okay, we picked it up a little later but here we are.

I don’t see this happening to the Princesses and the Barbie dolls I’ve been classmates (and *gulp* even friends) with along the years. The ones who’ve settled into the classic roles of little women are happy with their lives. It’s the rest of us, the Alpha Females, Modern Women, bitch-pack so to speak, riding the wave of liberation, basking in the alcohol/nicotine fumes and weilding economic and mental independence that join the club. Among our many memberships and subscriptions, we sign up for an Old Girls’ Club.

Friday night a galpal across the world buzzed me online to ask what my plans were. I replied,

Meeting four luverly ladeej. One is silent, sarcastic and so cool. Another is delightfully undiplomatic. Precious is a darling. And Raindrop is a real joy to be around. Being with my gal-bunch is soo much funner than being on a date!

She buzzed back a 🙂 in agreement.

I have any number of girlfriends, a relatively recent occurance for me since I grew up being ‘one of the boys’. I ‘do coffee’ (you never ‘do coffee’ with a man unless he’s gay) with them. I go window-shopping with them. I dress the way I normally – outrageously – do but I actually let them give me an opinion of my clothes (Who cares what a man thinks?? Whatever do men know about clothes anyway?). I join them in a mass-crib-fest about the stupidity of men in general with long, involved discussions about the actual man (men) in each one’s case. As self-appointed and then unanimously-elected wildchild, I amuse them by haranguing some man by making eyes at him and watching him blush furiously. They boost my ego when it’s flagging. In return, I write XXFactor. (At one point of the time, this blog’s tagline was ‘For a woman…by a woman…because I’m a woman.’ Now you know where that came from.)

I guess we haven’t really gotten used to independence as much as we’d like to believe. We still define ourselves by our relationships with other people. Except that, instead of a man, it’s a bunch of other women.

A Woman Among Men

I went out this weekend with friends in an age group ranging from 22 to 30. It was an evening well spent in the company of people who could be variously described as intelligent, witty, cute, silly and fun. And I was one of the only two women in the bunch.

Was I then ‘one of the boys’? No, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to that. Relationships, romance, love, flirtation and sex just make you view the opposite sex in a way that never quite leaves you.

Was I then flirting and being flirted with? Well, not exactly. I believe that there’s an underlying current of sex lacing every male/female conversation, irrespective of age, geography or relationship. It is after all an awareness of how the other person is different from you, in a complementary or an opposing manner (depending on a lot of other factors). But the conversation flowed easily around the table and across it jumping from movies to technology to other topics of common interest. It’s been so long that I’ve done this that I didn’t realize just how much fun it could be.

On a date or in a relationship…anytime where the situation is charged heavily by sexual electricity, I think it’s difficult to really see all aspects of a person. The attraction and all the rituals that we perform to sustain it and build it, seems to leave very little room for other things. Even in groups of people, you can tell the atmosphere is nearly crackling sparks, if its members are expressing their sexuality overtly or otherwise. All kinds of by-plays happen that overlap and occasionally conflict with each other. Emotions ride high in all directions and it’s a potentially explosive situation. Not that I’m saying that it’s a bad thing. I’ve enjoyed being a part of these for long enough and there’s much to be said for the mating dance in terms of its sheer entertainment value.

However, a different situation stands out simply because it is so different. There’s no heavy flirtation happening, no competition for attention, no charades. That’s probably true of the first few encounters of any group of people – at work, at school and college and even in social settings. However those first meetings are alternately charged with an acute curiosity about each other as well as a need to fit in or ‘impress’ the others.

This weekend party was one that had neither which is probably why I found it relaxing even in a noisy, smoky environment. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to be myself, not having to impress anyone. And alternately it was good to not have to keep judging various contenders for my attention, juggling them and playing them against each. Does that surprise anyone? Yes, I do it just as much as the next woman..or man for that matter. The party was great for not having to do any of those things.

All I was, was myself. A blogger, a twenty-something professional, an amusing conversationalist, a woman in the company of men.

Another step in being comfortable with your own sexuality is realizing that you need not use it all the time.

Manguide 5: Bollywood Pin-Ups

And now that we know them by the cities they live in, the professions they pursue, the interests they devote their time to and the languages they speak, what’s left? The women they love of course! Here’s a look at what you can tell about a man by his favorite Bollywood pin-up.


Sushmita Sen: Isn’t it really obvious that is this a man who likes strong personality in his woman? I’m inclined to think that he’ll also be a shy sort, the still-waters-run-deep kind but also a tad laid back. He has no qualms in letting the woman run the show and what a good job she does of it, too!

 

Rani Mukherjee: She played a prostitute in a number of movies and yet she retains the image of a ‘good girl’. She was also the glam-ma’am who settled down to matrimony, motherhood and err..mortis. I’m hardly surprised that she’s one of India’s top actresses since she personifies the most common Indian male fantasy – the Barbie/Behenji. If the Munch girl is on his walls, you can be sure that Mr.Munchkin ain’t going to like your mini-skirts post marriage, even if he chases you only when you wear them!

Aishwarya Rai: I’m no fan of this green-eyed diva. But she sure is popular with the boys. This one appeals to the kind of man who wants a trophy partner, the kind that will be delighted to turn cartwheels for his marble princess but freezes when he realizes that she breathes, feels, talks and – horror of horrors – thinks too! Freeze in place and don’t even adjust your mascara till he’s out of the room, ladies. This man doesn’t believe that a real woman should perspire, shed hair or do anything that a marble statue wouldn’t.

Mallika Sherawat: Now I bet you won’t find too many men who admit to liking her. For that matter how many men actually admit to watching porn? You know I think the lady does have quite a nice face but well, who ever looks at her face? Watch for the dude whose eyes are permanently fixed a few inches beneath your chin. That’s not shyness, that’s a Sherawat fan. Quite likely he’s comparing you with her…down to the last millimeter. On the other hand, if he openly admits to liking her, he might be the ‘I do it differently’ sort. Fun boyfriend to have if you run with rebels. For all that though, a man’s basic instincts don’t change.

Kareena Kapoor: Now I don’t actually know a single man who professes an admiration for the Kapoor babe (except Saif and he doesn’t count since he doesn’t know me). And yet as reigning queen in Bollywood, she must have her share of hearts. I imagine she’s the kind that a lot of men fantasize about but won’t talk about it since they don’t think that she’ll ever ‘ghass-dalofy‘ them and what man would admit to that? The average Joe (or Janardhan, Jaani etc) who sniggers at the mention that he could have an eye on the firebrand is probably mixing some nervous laughter into that as well.

Bipasha Basu: This is one surprising one. A dusky woman who rules the roost in a country obsessed with fair skin. Raw sex appeal meets ubercool. But ooh, I’m nearly drooling. Hmm, what can I say about the man that likes her? They all do! If he doesn’t, assume he’s gay!

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