The Dichotomy of Women


We’re the caregivers, right? We always will be until we learn to give birth like sea horses. It’s because we’ve carried the little thing inside us for ¾ of a year that we’re seen as the ones to nurture it when they’re finally out of us. We’ve got the milk after all!

I can just about accept the above for the times when women didn’t work as well. But it seems that we have to have this innate nurturing nature about us that the roles of nursing a sick child or making sure the child eats their meals happily or choosing the clothes of the little human, are thrust upon us as well. And we accept it, we take it on stoically, as if we too agree with this rule of thumb.

I do and I don’t. This morning, I’m not feeling particularly motherly, yet I get on with it as I do every morning. I’m not technically earning any money though, so it’s my bona fide role to be the ‘homemaker’. But then one day I was earning money, I was contributing to the household income and yet I was still the one to take the lead as parent. Don’t get me wrong, my husband was amazing, he changed diapers, did night feeds, cooked meals, did everything he possibly could, but there was something in me, (perhaps the control freak) that accepted that I would be the one to stay at home when they were really ill. I’d correspond with the school and the teachers and I would pack the lunches. It was agreed and it was accepted and expected, by everyone in society, including my boss, a woman, that women are the primary caregivers.

In my profession of ‘Primary School Teacher’ it’s always been more than just the three Rs. It’s been about the nurturing and caring and wiping that snotty nose and telling that child who fell over, how brave they are. It’s been about teaching manners and understanding when a child really has a tummy ache or it’s something deeper like hating Maths. And guess what! There aren’t that many male primary school teachers out there and if we do encounter one they are, and pardon the broad brush stroke, vying for the leadership roles, not the caring, parenting ones of lowly class teacher. I’ve only met one male teacher one who wasn’t flummoxed by the tearful girl worried about bullying because of the size of her nose.

Are we really the more nurturing ones? Sometimes I look at myself and think I’ve come a long way. I have had to consciously learn how to care. I’m not that caring or thoughtful naturally. I’m really not. I look at my daughter, I don’t think she is either, but my son might be. I also look at my husband and he just seems so much more tuned into other people’s needs than I am. Please do not misunderstand me, I am pretty OK, as a human being, but I’m not naturally nurturing, I’m not naturally social and I’m not naturally diplomatic. I’d rather be at work, be by myself and tell people how it is.

So what is a woman? A woman, even by the very term, is defined by her ability to carry children…womb…woman!

I know a few a women, however who do not want children. Categorically, no children, whatsoever! They are looked upon suspiciously by society, me included. We say, “Really? You don’t feel that maternal urge to hold your own baby?” But they are just as valid as the women who have 3 kids, a people carrier and a fool-proof routine of burps and naps, a tidy home and dinner on the table by 6.30, sharp.

A woman is a strong force of nature. Mother or not, she’s does what she does. She gets on with it. It seems in this society she’s determined to get on with it more than any man, just to prove a point. It’s as if she’s always fighting. There’s a war going on from time immemorial, it seems, to show that women are just as valid as men. There aren’t many women out there who haven’t fought with a man or another woman or herself, in some way or another. I think women are fighters; feisty and sure of herself. That’s her inner nature, not necessarily the carrier of a 1000 crying, excreting, consuming balls of flesh! But someone who, quite simply yet complexly, is.

I wonder what would happen if men grew wombs?

What are your thoughts?

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From google images

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The Goddess in me?


Outside my window there is a kite. Not the kind of kite that is tied by a string, but the kind that is tied by its nature. It circles, it swoops, it glides and it rests and then it begins again. I have no idea if it hopes or if it dreams or if it feels compassion, for aren’t those in the hearts of humans?

I ponder this as I watch this creature, tied to its nature. How far removed are we humans from our base instincts of fight, flight, fear, lust, rape?

I don’t mean to sound like a man hater; I’m not. I’ll say it loud and proud; I love men! But those creatures who rape, who leer, who undress me with their eyes as I step out of the supermarket, are not men. Please understand me as I say this, I’m not seeking attention in my loose fitting t-shirt and my jeans, but I think they think I am, because these leerers, these lecherous weeds of humanity can see a hint of the shape of my breasts.  Their gaze does not fall as it follows my form and I am left with the fury of a long ago Kali, ready to slit their throats, and cut off their…

I am exhausted and resigned to the fact that here, in this land of the Goddess Durga, where she is worshipped with fervour, by these same asuras, I will have such encounters.

I arrived in India just as it was reeling in the aftermath of the gang rape of a young student on her way home in Delhi. She eventually died in hospital from her injuries. This sparked much outrage and condemnation all over the country and the world. At the time I remember being sickened and saddened at what had happened. I followed the case and tutted to myself. I told myself that this was an isolated incident. Rape happens everywhere and when it does, it rightly is brought to the attention of the public, but Delhi, India, is not to blame. I think I oversimplified it in my mind. I told myself these cases are in the minority. When I arrived in Calcutta, however, there was more awaiting me; reports of children being raped; a five year old, a six year old, a four year old. As a mother of a daughter, I wished I held that trident in my hand. I wish I had the courage and enough rage to tear to through the world destroying all in my path. This sick, sick world we inhabit needs to be destroyed, I thought, believed.

But then, I look at my husband, I look at my son. I see my father and my brother, I watch my father in law and my brother in law and I see good men. I see that the world perhaps does not need to end. But I do think that the world does need to stop for a moment and watch. It needs to contemplate and take a breath because in all honesty something’s going wrong if I can’t walk down the street without feeling unclean or I am suspicious of anyone who wants to start a conversation with my daughter.

It shouldn’t matter what I wear, it shouldn’t matter what I look like, I’m not asking to be appraised like a piece of meat on a butcher’s hook.

Education is the key? Cliché but true. “Teach your sons how to respect a woman.

Teachyour daughters how to respect themselves.”

We are human, not kites flying to the whim of its nature or the direction of the wind.

 

For more on this topic and for some really powerful poetry, check out http://nirbhayasindia.com/

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From google images