Monthly Archives: April 2011

Meet The Parents & Their Expectations

A friend was saying that he’d decided that most women were cowards because they would not stand up to their families, not stand up for the men they wanted to be with. For a fact, I’ve seen a good number of relationships end because of familial opposition – on the basis of religious, caste, linguistic and economic differences. It is truly sad for a relationship to end, not because of the couple’s differences but because of other people’s views.

However, I must also say that I have always had great regard for women who take their family’s desires into consideration while choosing a life partner. This isn’t quite the same as the Mama’s boy syndrome where some men unquestioningly gulp down whatever is shoved down their proverbial throats. The women I’m talking about, make their own choices and these choices definitely factor in their family’s ideas too. I so much stand by that.

The fact is that few people will ever care as much as your own blood family, misunderstandings and irritants notwithstanding. That said, they are no more than human and have a right to their own foibles and prejudices. My greatest admiration in this regard is reserved for two women, one a neighbor and one a friend. Both women met the men they wanted to spend their lives with and had to contend with parental opposition – due to differences in religion and in caste respectively. The families of both women (the fathers most particularly) ran the entire hullaballoo from tearful melodrama to icy coldness. Both women stood firm and held that they would not marry anyone else. And in addition, would not get married without their families’ complete blessings either. Persistence won out in both cases. The first couple has two children, both the darlings of their doting grandfather’s eyes. The second couple celebrates their fifth wedding anniversary this year, blissfully in love..and peacefully so too. All was certainly well that ended well in these two cases.

I guess not everyone is that lucky or even that tenacious. If it really came down to having to choose, I can’t imagine a man would be ‘right’ for me unless my family was aligned to my choice as well. Family is one’s own after all, and their well-intended perspective could be very useful in such an important choice. Does that necessarily mean that I am a coward, unable to go against them? Or does it make me any less independent – or feminist? You tell me.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* This is an earlier version of this post. A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

XXFactored Apr2011: Facebook Etiquette, Men’s (Inner) Style & Stereotypes In Toy Ads

XX Factor has been having a few adventures this month. I contributed an article to Femina.in (linked below). I faced down a copycat attack and with a lot of support from the onlineverse, got him to take it down. Quarter-year and I’m also looking at diversifying the interests of this blog and changing its tone. I think it’s time to take XX Factor from a personal confessional into a full-blown social commentary space. It’s been on that path for awhile, all that remains is to make it ‘official’. But nothing happens without your okay so please use the pollbox or the comments section to tell me what you think of this.

And after that, here’s what XX Factor is featuring this month:
Read the rest of this entry

What Dexter Proves

A man would rather follow a serial killer’s day on TV than have an emotional conversation with a woman.

I am definitely not the weaker sex.

Debra And Dexter Morgan
* Image from JuniorLayouts Free Dexter Images

** A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Copycat: Jignesh Thakkar’s Theft From XX Factor

Yet another copycat!

Here’s my post called ‘Inherited Relationships’, posted on 24 March 2011.

And here’s Jignesh Thakkar doing a repeat of that post on 1 April 2011.

Note now that the post ends with (in tiny lettering which is the online version of fine print),

Courtesy https://xxfactor.wordpress.com

Now here are some things to think about:

  1. Jignesh Thakkar did not ask for my permission to copy the post. That alone makes the ‘courtesy’ a laughable matter.
  2. The link on Jignesh Thakkar’s post does not go to my post but to the blog in general. For someone who took the effort to copy-paste an entire blogpost, including the title, this seems like a deliberate lapse.
  3. I am a writer and my content is literally, my living. I’m paid to write and distribute my content online. Copy-pasting my content is the online equivalent of picking up merchandise and walking away without paying for it.
  4. I don’t see how Jignesh Thakkar benefits from this action. This is the internet. The original article can be found with a simple Google search or even a click. Why would someone want to read copied content online? What’s more, what would a reader think of a blogger who cannot even post original content? And at the other end, the copied-from party, me is hurt too. The same content popping up in multiple places affects SEO, thus devaluing the entire article.

The comment I left on Friday has seen no response. I emailed Jignesh Thakkar at the address on his profile but I’ve received no reply there either. So today, I’ve been tweeting about it.

I’ve experienced copycats before, both in the offline and the online world. Online is where it struck me as most stupid, considering how easy it is to track down the original. Oddly enough, each of those times, I was advised to not make a big deal of it, to drop it and even to take it as a compliment since someone wanted to copy my material.

I don’t understand this. Would you be honoured that someone saw fit to steal from you? Would you take it as a compliment if someone came and kidnapped your child? My writing is my creation and hence no less important to me than a child would be to a parent.

So yes, I am choosing to take a stand on this. Stealing my blogpost is not permissible. If you agree with me, leave a comment here, at Jignesh Thakkar’s (copycat) blogpost, tweet about it, RT my tweet, blog about it or add your voice in whatever way you see fit.

Here are some of the people who already have:

Update: I tweeted about Jignesh Thakkar’s copied post. It got RTed, a number of people shared their experiences with content theft. Also a couple of people (some friends) thought I was making a big deal out of nothing and that such things were ‘commonplace’ online.

Update 2: Following the advice of two friends in the know, I notified Google (since Jignesh Thakkar’s blog is hosted on Google’s Blogspot). I did this by using the ‘Report Abuse’ menu in the topbar. Google sent back a notification of my complaint being registered.

Update 3: Exactly a day later, I received a notification from Google that the copied post was no longer on Jignesh Thakkar’s blog. They must have found a way to get in touch with him too (which I wasn’t able to) since I received a reply to my email. He also put up the following posts (1, 2) apologizing for the post he took from my blog and also announcing that he was reviewing his blog to clear it of any such cases.

‘Are You An Annoying Facebook Couple?’ – On Femina.in

Remember when I pondered the question of ‘Are we ready to Facebook this’? The social network continues to twist itself around our lives (or is it the other way round?). This month, I look at ten of the most annoying things that couples do on Facebook. Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of some of these myself. But that doesn’t stop me from going ‘Gah!’ when someone else on my feed does it.

“Are your numerous ‘open to public’ personal updates, goofy fights, uncalled for PDA and more urging the other on your friends list to mock you, ignore you and sometimes even block you?”

The article will be on Femina.in till the end of the month. Go on, read it (I know you’re dying to find out if you’re one of the annoying ones!) and don’t forget to take it with a big pinch of salt! 😉 And if you’re tagged in this post on Facebook, I hope you’ll see it as a compliment – you inspired me after all!

Everyone Wants To Get Into My Wallet

Late one night, as I was driving down the city, I looked up at a huge billboard advertising a jewelery brand and featuring an aspirational-lifestyle model/actress.

I exclaimed, “I really love that advertisement!”

My friend smiled and said, “You would. It celebrates you, after all.”

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

My first luxury retail experience was an emotional one, one of self-awareness. I wear my diamonds with pride, a pride that comes not exactly from their aesthetic value but from the knowledge that I earned the power to buy them for myself.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

A few years ago, I discovered something I think of as the Superwoman complex. I don’t know whether to be happy or not that it’s turning out to be prophetic. Take a minute to think about my words..

I am the center of a marketing model titled ‘High income single decision maker’
I am the brief given to fashion houses when they design the new Prada suit
I am described as ‘Joan of Arc meets Helen of Troy’

We are indeed, the hot new consumer demographic. Urban women, financially self-sufficient with all the trappings of our successful professional status – the need for new status symbols combined with the ability to pay for them.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Our parents’ generation saw the upsurge of women at work and all the initial beginnings like the glass ceiling, women bosses et al. Our generation is the one that gets to enjoy it (and be taken advantage of). We’re prominent for our purchasing power and marketers have been quick to pick up on the need for our own set of status symbols and paraphernalia. I speak as the target group of a woman who earns and has the independence to spend. I also speak as a marketing professional, seeing the other side of it, so to speak.

Successful men with high incomes, have been well tapped-into as a market and are induced to spend on everything from their own selves (personal gadgets, cars), social settings (restaurants, pubs, sports activities) and dating-related paraphernalia (presents for women, tokens of what makes them an ‘ideal partner’). What do their opposite numbers in our sex have?

We have shoes, clothes, bags, accessories, jewelery, make-up and personal grooming services. If the men-targeted products homed in on the traditional masculine need to be macho and an alpha male, we are being targeted for our vanity and need to be ‘the babe’.

The more expensive products are obviously affordable only to a certain type of woman – she has a career, she’s ambitious and wants to be respected for her intelligence, she doesn’t want to stand in anyone’s shadow, she has a personality of her own. And hence diamonds, super-expensive shoes and clothes come with the messages that they respect your individuality, celebrate your independence and will take Visa as well as American Express.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I was invited to the premier showing of the big Hollywood release of ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. I saw the movie with a group of girlfriends and all of us identified with the heroine. We would, she’s based on us after all. While the movie is meant to be a really light-hearted comedy, it points to something deeper.

I got to wondering about the phenomenon of shopaholism. Is it a reality that we’re likely to be facing very soon? All manner of excess is driven towards filling a need that hasn’t been satisfied earlier. So women who binge are thought to be unconsciously compensating for a lack of affection in their lives. What unmet need are we trying to plug with this excessive buying?

Becky Bloomwood in the movie nails it on the head when she explains her addiction,

“Because when I shop, it feels so pretty, so nice, so good! And then it doesn’t so I have to shop even more!”

True to all successful marketing strategies, this one also gives us a taste of what we like and then leaves us begging for more. Shinier hair! Higher heels! Bigger (and smaller) bags! Cooler sunglasses! Brighter make-up! Lotions, creams, gels, powders, liquid liners, sticks, brushes, concealers, colorants, rinses, crayons, cakes, gloss, sequins, beads, rhinestones, denim, silk, linen, velvet….the list never ends.

So for all our gloss and gorgeousness, we are nothing more than the product of a very successful marketing program designed to relieve us our newly-minted paychecks. ‘Fabulous’ is the bait they use to lure us in and the looming bill at the end of the month is the hook.

It used to be about too many people wanting to get into my pants. Now everyone wants to get into my wallet!!

*An earlier version is here.

The Dirty Boy Habit

My father does it. I remember my cousin doing it from the summer he stayed with us. And now, to my horror and disgust, I find my boyfriend does it too!

I shudder to enter the toilet. No, this is not about that old seat up/down debate. Look higher. There’s a book lying on the flush tank!!! Sacrilege! Books are divine carriers of the holy light of wisdom and human experience. Imagine exposing them to the unclean atmosphere of the toilet, not to mention actually reading them?!

Why oh why do men insist on reading in the toilet? Now I don’t understand why one needs to be entertained in the toilet. It’s not a library, it’s not a spa, it’s not your bedroom, it’s a disposal station! You go in, do your business and you get out. But no!

The boy says,

“Reading in the loo is to men what taking a shower is to women. It’s an experience!”

Now what am I to say to that?

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

The Sportswoman Takes Second Place

There must have been as many women as men in the audience. The television was switched on an hour early, by my mother, not father. On Saturday night, the entire country, gender irrespective, celebrated India’s win of the World Cup 2011. Everyone on my Facebook and Twitter feeds was talking about it (and I have a fair balance of male-female ratio in my onlineverse). Before you say that’s only true of this country’s favorite sport, the same repeats during football season too. That seems to put paid to the myth that sports only appeal to men.

Why then, do women seem to be lagging behind in sports? My father, a tennis aficionado, tells me that men’s tennis is far more competitive than women’s. And that’s still a sport that allows the genders to mix. I understand that this may not be viable in every sport. The proximity that some of them require, may not be to everyone’s taste. And the physical make-up of men and women being different, it might be complicated to evenly match teams and assess competitors fairly. But if there are enough people of each gender interested, presumably there will be enough players, competitors to populate teams and drive tournaments.

Or could it be that as audience, we’re just not as interested in seeing women compete?

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty .

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