A day before Women’s day, I got a press release pitching an idea about women tweeting in the Twitter-verse. An idea meant for Women’s Day. And this is how it began.
I write to you on behalf of my client, Twitter and a possible tech feature on Women & Social media for Women’s Day edition.
We have often joked about the quintessential Indian woman and her conversations which are deemed loud, exaggerated and never-ending. One wonders how some of these argumentative ‘bhartiya naris’ are able to succinctly put their thoughts on Twitter in just 140 characters. Not only have they taken to this platform in great gusto, they have risen above the din and become celebrities with large followers. Young girls, suave mothers, aspiring comedians, successful entrepreneurs, fervent feminists of all hue and shades are present on Twitter, eloquently and effectively airing their thoughts, advice, jokes, tips etc…”
The email went on to give names of women on Twitter who have been doing spectacular work by themselves or for their gender, or for society at large. But I didn’t even read those women’s names because of the above paragraph. My head swam with a senselessly violent anger, the kind which I would image someone as destructive as Kali would feel. Where reason takes flight, scared. Where words just. don’t. express. it.
Yes. I get kind of nuts when faced with such obvious chauvinism in something that’s supposed to be about women. Exactly the kind of unreasonable, emotional woman that men make fun of in my gender. For the people who are We in the paragraph above, is not me. I am not a reasonable, powerful man, who has language at his disposal. The one who calls women’s conversations “loud, exaggerated and never-ending”. Or calls women different, or the other gender, or the ones who don’t have a penis. Or makes jokes about them about their loud mouths, their sagging or perky breasts. Their weaknesses and bangles. Their clothes or lack of it. Their faces and lumpy bodies.
Or keeps her happy with a day from 365 days. Makes March the Eighth especially about them. This day is for women, reserved. Let’s celebrate women. Let’s tell them we love them. Let’s hug them, keep them safe, buy them clothes and greeting cards. Who is the we in this conversation? The one who is generous enough to grant the other gender just a day out of 365 such days? When did the word ‘gender’ became ‘women’ and ‘women issues’?
No, the we is not only men. It’s also women who speak the language and give the reasons created keeping men the primary gender. Women who uphold and encourage patriarchy thinking and behaviour. The ones who whisper about other women who wear short clothes, show breast or bum cleavages. The ones who like to get their period things in a black bag while looking away apologetically. The ones who call the women who have sex ‘sluts’. The Women’s Day is for them. Not for me.
I have decided to shun Women’s Day and my gender. I stand today, genderless. Not a woman, definitely not a man. Just a body with breasts and a lot of anger. 365 days a year.