Whoever Declared March as Women’s Month, I Wonder

“You asked me to explain myself. I just wonder what needs to be explained. Let me be very clear. Look into your own heart. I swear to you, mine’s no different. You want a place in the trades and professions where you can earn your bread? So do I. You want some means of self expression? Some way of satisfying your own personal ambitions? So do I. You want a voice in the government in which you live? So do I. What is there to explain?”

(Quoted from the movie, Iron Jawed Angels; spoken by Hilary Swank who played the role of militant suffragette, Alice Paul.)

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

***

The thing is … Alice Paul, many would disagree with you; and debate that there is much difference between the hearts and souls of men and women. For example, the fact that Ms. Universe 1994 Ms. Sushmita Sen was asked the inane question: “What is the essence of being a woman?” illustrates this fact. Nobody would dare to ask a man: “What is the essence of being a man?”  with the express intention of expecting the guy to answer that his main purpose in life is to produce and take care of the next generation of human beings.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice's lovelife was so private we do not even know about it.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice’s lovelife was so private we do not even know about it. Image from biography.com.

I suddenly remember you, Alice, because last March 8 was Women’s Day and I think just this week, we were celebrating Mother’s Day.

I do not want to malign motherhood, Alice — an institution without which, I wouldn’t exist. But the thing is, people have ennobled being a mother to such an extent that not being one or not wanting to be one raises the spectre of “aberration” towards someone.

I am sure a lot of our sisters are ambivalent about motherhood — even those who are mothers themselves. Of course they would never dare to tell their children (or even other people) of this ambivalence; that would be like taboo or sacrilege.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when fatherhood is also elevated in the same pantheon of “nobility” as motherhood. When a guy can be asked: “What is the essence of being a man?” and for us to expect him to answer that being a man is all about being a father.

That is when I will truly believe that the struggle of feminism has succeeded.

***

Justin and Barry -- my favorite feminists. It doesn't hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

Justin and Barry — my favorite feminists. It doesn’t hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

And because it is Women’s Month, I would like to have the privilege to objectify men.

Hence …

What can girls love more than guys who just scream “eye candy” — like Justin and Barry over here. Some have speculated on the budding bromance between these two world leaders 😉

***

Reading Lists:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/10/the-budding-bromance-between-president-obama-and-canadas-justin-trudeau-in-11-great-pictures/?tid=sm_fb

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/03/heartbreak-dating-exhausted-medical-resident.html

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/15/7371737/rape-culture-definition

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/13/9523879/playboy-nudity-no

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/4/10877038/hitchhiking-woman-dangerous

Female Genital Mutilation More Widespread Than Previously Thought, UNICEF Says

 

Thirty-five

Germaine Greer, that controversial ’70’s feminist who wouldn’t give up, even now that she is in her 70’s, once said:

“The point of an organic family is to release the children from the disadvantages of being extensions of their parents so that they can belong primarily to themselves.”

Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch, 1970

If I can find a copy of this is Booksale, it will go right to my TBR pile.

If I can find a copy of this is Booksale, it will go right to my TBR pile.

Miz Greer, much as I would like to agree, in principle, with your thesis, putting your point into practice would prick parents at their thorniest. Children, you see, are the emotional properties of their parents. And our parents have never; and will never (unless they are dead) let us forget that.

Mothers are the worst. Especially if you are a daughter. I cannot speak for the sons, but if they are there somewhere, I am sure they also have their gripes.

One’s mother almost died giving birth to you; so you owe her. For life.

Wait-just-a-fucking-minute!! I did not wish to be born … I was not exactly consulted if I wanted  to be brought into existence. So excuse me … if I resent your demands for my gratefulness. For this supposedly blessed gift called Life.

***

For a woman turning 35 (one score plus one-and-a-half decade) years old, a milestone has been reached. In medical parlance, she has arrived at a quandary called, “elderly primipara/primigravida”.

The term “elderly primipara/primigravida” was invented, once upon a time, when obstetrics was populated by white-men-in-white-uniform. I think that its insertion into the lexicon of obstetrics residents was partly a warning sign to girls — get a man and have a baby before 35 or you will die.

Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. A writer who died penniless. Just another chap who may just  be my role model.

Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. A writer who died penniless. Just another chap who may just be my role model.

In truth, and statistics will show (Mark Twain did say that there are lies, more lies, and statistics) that a lot of morbidities occur in women who gestate after 35. To wit: gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, gestational trophoblastic diseases, gestational hypertension, etc, etc.

I have come to believe that girls get knocked up in their teens because they were stupid; in their twenties because of peer pressure; and give in to maternal instincts in their 30’s because they fear death.

So Miz Greer …  a child is an extension of their parents. Your thesis is a fantasy. A wonderful fantasy, like The Lord of The Rings is wonderful, but a fantasy nonetheless.

But I love you, anyway 🙂

We Were Not Exactly Demeter and Persephone

Dear Mommy,

I do have a love-hate relationship with you. Even now that you are dead, I still find myself detesting you, or praising you, for what I have become.

This is not an original idea, but children are the greatest projects of their parents. For those who chose not to procreate – well they can have other great projects. Isaac Newton, for example, wrote Philosophia Naturalis Principia Matematica  and invented Calculus, while Katharine Hepburn won the most number of Best Actress Oscar Awards.

But I am digressing. The thing with adults is that they sometimes (or most of the time?) use their offsprings, their kids, as pawns, as trophies or as insurance policies. I think I was all these for you, mommy. And maybe you didn’t even realize it.

You were not a bad mother. For the most part you were wonderful:

Providing offspring with food, clothing and shelter, check.

Facilitate socialization of children, check.

Teach kids values and mores consistent with one’s beliefs, check.  (Though I am not absolutely sure now what you really believed in)

Teach daughter to know own potentials and desires and follow them accordingly, FAILED. In this, I think you made me an extension of yourself, an extension of your dreams and wants and frustrations. And I am/was such a great daughter that if being a Good Daughter were a contest, I’d have won 1st Prize. For I have imbibed all your hopes, dreams and neuroses with flying colors.

I am just beginning to learn where you ended and I began. I am just beginning to learn what I am and what I really want.

But all that I have become that were because of you are also a part of me now. I cannot disown that. I cannot go back to being a 5 year old or a 16 year old.

Sometimes, I  feel grief for the Me-That-I-Might-Have-Been. Would she have been successful on her own terms? She dreamed that she would write her first novel by the time she was 30. Well, guess what mommy, she is now 33 and she can’t even find her langguage!

Ok, fine, I should not be too hard on you. You, being a product of your time. Just like me, your parents also made you into the person who eventually raised me. There is a part of me, though, who feels like a small girl asking you why?

Why could you not protect me from yourself?

Demeter went as far as the Underworld
to rescue Persephone from Hades
Who saved Persephone from Demeter?