The XX FAQs
1. What is XX Factor?
When a baby is conceived, for a good few weeks, it is impossible to determine its gender. But once it becomes possible, the world’s oldest stereotype comes into effect. The minute the doctor announces that “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”, the first brick has been laid for what will become your identity and in a lot of cases, a prison. And to think it all starts with that one tiny, niggling question of which chromosome the father contributes. X or Y?
XX Factor is a personal blog. When I began blogging in 2004, I found that I had a lot to say about modern notions of feminity, feminism and the very experience of being a woman. That was the start of the XX Factor posts. Today, the blog explores such varied issues such as female empowerment, media messages, relationship & gender stereotypes, male-female conflicts, familial structures and sexuality.
The Facebook page of XX Factor also links to related content elsewhere on the internet. And by the way, it’s pronounced ‘X-X-Factor’ (and not ‘Double-X-Factor’ or ‘Triple-X’).
2. Who is Ideasmith?
Ideasmith is an online handle, once anonymous and now just a nickname. My real name is Ramya but online I answer to ‘Idea’, ‘smithy’ and other versions of my handle.
I’ve been blogging for over 7 years because:
a. I love the medium and,
b. I have a lot to say
I am opinionated and I also enjoy conversations. Your opinions are welcome, even when they contradict mine. But don’t attack me and expect me to be nice, after that. Yeah, I can be explosive. It’s part of the job description for being a woman. And no, I am not PMSing. Not right now, not all the time. I’d be dead by now, if that were the case!
3. Does she hate men?
No, on the contrary, I rather like them. My sometimes over-harsh comments stem from the very high expectations I’ve had of the opposite sex, all my life. It isn’t easy having your illusions shattered. It isn’t easy discovering that your idols, the people who are supposed to rescue you from life’s evils and sweep you away on white horses to large castles…are only human. It isn’t easy being a woman today, I tell you.
Some of my best friends are men. Both my favorite bosses have been men. I’m terribly fond of my father. So, no, I really can’t hate men, considering they comprise half, no more than half, of this world’s population.
4. Is she a feminist?
I am a woman. I enjoy all the benefits available to today’s modern woman. I am well-educated, belong to a liberal family and I’ve had a career (actually, I’m on my second one – by choice – right now).
The tag of feminism was hung on me after some of my very forceful opinions (actually, they were rants) about men and relationships caught the fancy of a number of my female readers. In fact, I don’t believe that feminism is about hating men. And for the same reason, I don’t believe that the tag was justified.
I have a problem with any kind of stubborn, rigid stance. Society is changing, this is true. Our norms are breaking and the liberation of women from their traditional roles, is causing a lot of structural cracks in the fabric of life as we know it. Men are handling it in a variety of ways, ranging from supportive to conflicting. We’re doing the same thing. I believe in basic human rights and the freedom of every human being to live as they know best. Feminism is just one ideology with its own nuances and flaws just like every other.
5. Does she have a life?
Contrary to popular perception, I am not, in fact, an alien plant or even a conspiracy against men. I am (now) a thirty-something woman living in suburban Mumbai with a liberal-but-definitely-Indian family.
I am a qualified MBA with a background in consulting and market research. I quit the corporate world a year ago to rethink my life and to pursue my passion for writing.
My other blog, The Idea-smithy, is even older than this one and gets its fair share of readership. I’ve also contributed to a number of known group-blogs like Desicritics, The Kala Ghoda Gazette, Gaysi Family, Mumbai Metroblogging and Desipundit (when they existed). I run a weekly column on BlogAdda on useful tips for bloggers. And some of my posts from this very blog appear on Yahoo! Real Beauty.
Aside from this, I also read, write (offline), paint and sing. I have a wide circle of friends (male and female) and their lives are often the inspiration for my posts and stories.
6. What makes her an authority on relationships?
I’ve enjoyed the benefits of being a woman born in this time and place. This includes having a liberal-but-Indian family and a challenging-and-conflicting career. I am a friendly, sociable person and I’ve seen love in its various forms.
I’ve dated, been in various kinds of relationships and also experienced the crushing defeats that are a part of the mating game. I don’t believe that there are any ‘right’ ways to find and be in love. I also don’t think that there is a ‘perfect one’ for each person. But I do believe in people and emotions. And that’s what I write about.
Most of my writing is introspection as well as asking my readers for answers. What makes me an authority is that I live and I feel. I am human.
7. How does she feel about homosexuality?
I believe that every human being has a fundamental right to live as they choose (as long as they don’t violate anyone else’s rights). Homosexuality is a lifestyle, not a choice anymore than I have the choice of what colour my skin is.
I am straight. But some of my friends are gay, closeted and otherwise and it pains me to see the pressures laid on them by society. Many of them are denied such basic rights as expressing their affection for the one they love. This in my mind, is a violation of their most basic rights.
At its inception, I was the straight voice of Gaysi Family.
8. How can I get in touch with her?
Follow me on Twitter.