Feminine Mystique Is Masculine Bullshit

I find it strange when men say things like “Women are complicated. They are difficult to understand.” I am a woman, a rational one. And I know I am no more or less complex than an average human being. Some things about the way I live my life are different from the way men live theirs. This is because while I inhabit the same planet, there are restrictions, offences and dangers posed to me, that they do not face. This does not make me harder to understand.

I know a lot of women who say things like this too. I believe every single one of them has been conditioned to allow herself to be subjugated. Being deified or mystiqued (yes, I made that word up. Consider it the opposite of ‘demystified’) is just as disrespectful to women as abuse and chauvinism. Saying ‘You are special’ is saying ‘You are not normal like me’. There is even a term for this. It’s called Androcentricism. I think of it as ‘Male-normative’ or ‘Being male is normal; all else is special cases’

Every human being tries to navigate their way through life, living it as close to what they want as possible. Women’s lives have numerous disruptions and barriers, because society does not allow us control over our lives. So a lot of women don’t believe they have any way to get what they want other than under the garb of mystery. And some of them are just comfortable enough with doing this because it doesn’t require them to apply themselves further and be direct. Women are just as selfish, lazy or petty as men are. It’s a human thing and I don’t see why it should be denied to women on account of their being women.

I think for most men, it’s easiest to slot women into narrow definitions — the whore, the homebody, the airhead, the vamp, wife material. And anything that doesn’t fit into these structures gets written off as the feminine mystique. It’s easier to do that than take the effort to understand why they behave the way they do. Perhaps it is also avoiding the fact that acknowleging a woman as an equal, nuanced human being will have mean recognising the unfair world that she lives in.

What’s interesting is the kind of men who say women are complicated are the same ones to deride me for how unlike a woman I am, how I’m ‘too direct’ or ‘too aggressive’ or ‘think I can just say anything’. Ever heard anybody tell a man that?

It’s not that women are difficult to understand. It’s that some men don’t want to acknowledge their gender privilege.

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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 15, 2014, in Battle of the sexes, Being Woman, Seriously speaking and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. “It’s easier to do that than take the effort to understand why they behave the way they do”
    There are some men who try to understand . But they cannot understand without the help of the woman. And asking a woman why they said or behaved in a particular manner ,just aggravates the situation as most of the time the woman thinks the guy is attacking them by asking them these questions. Then most just raise their hands and explain it off as woman are complicated. (A lot of generalization on my part)

    here is an example in the post “All Things Female” No 9. lingerie .A male assumes that that is what a womans likes. Then in the comments he reads ” lingerie exists primarily for male pleasure” .Now a male who takes an effort to understand. Knows it is better to not pursue it 🙂 .

  2. What you are saying is valid but there is something special about feminine mysteries. For example, apparently women who spend a lot of time together begin to sync menstruation cycles with each other and apparently sometimes these cycles align with the full moon. Even women will agree that’s pretty mysterious. The act like women and men are the same is reductionist thinking just like to say we are cut from different cloth. Go women! lead us in your mysterious glory!!…. And you are just as petty as us too.

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