As International Women’s Day approaches every year, I lose a few friendships. I become protective of my women clan and become sensitive to the criticism that comes their way. I develop a hyper awareness to the way people condemn this day and the activities associated with it. Slowly I become exhausted and numb. Many women that I share my ideas of feminism with go through the same motions of emotional and cognitive jarring.
The “my body, my choice is a filthy concept” brigade doesn’t exhaust me. Neither do the Islamic jurisprudence-on-the-go group. The misogynists don’t crush my spirits as much. The patriarchs are well-tolerated by me at this point.
It’s the men-inists who worship men-ism and insist on making men relevant and pertinent in all discussions who require the most energy.
Because honestly these are women. Mostly. These are women who are so scared of being kicked out of the circle of men-trust and fraternity that they can’t control themselves. They’re the flag holders of patriarchy, paraders of hatred towards other women, judgmental as fuck, intrusive as hell and a liability to be associated with. They’re born with the same struggles that all other women have been but are oblivious to any human’s credibility who doesn’t have a long appendage between their legs. They worship men and make excuses for men. They regard men as celestial beings and demigods. These are women who love men so much that they develop a psychosexual dependence on their fathers, brothers and sons too. It’s pathetic and really a form of Stockholm Syndrome.
So I met a similar woman at one of the charity events that was exclusively hosted for women recuperating from physical and emotional trauma of intimate partner abuse.
I have a sense of people who thrive on sideways-going conversations. I can sniff these agents of male advocacy. I have learned to bear with them. But sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge their bias as mere conditioning and cultural norm. Sometimes their bias is really not because of some love for men. It’s really because of hatred towards women.
I’m not sure what offended her. It was just many victims describing the forms of abuse and how they escaped it.
It was women sharing their deepest darkest secrets of happenings behind closed doors.
It was women, vulnerable and raw, without much emotional energy to be either.
It was women, looking at life so differently than I had ever had to, that it scared me of ever being in a relationship of any material dependence.
It took one woman, the said man-conformist and patriarchy-celebrating excuse of one woman, to invalidate all those experiences in one succinct and derogatory monologue,
“I’m so glad women are speaking up but let’s not forget that men face domestic violence also. That they get hit also and brutally at that. Women bring down violence and intimate partner abuse on men too. It’s not just one way. Why don’t we speak about that? Let’s not forget that men make a huge part of our abused demographic and they need to be counted and heard”.
Many men nodded. The same men who had organized this event. The same men who had offered pity and sympathy to these battered women. The same men who insisted that my talk should be about being safe in relationships where there are extramarital affairs and how not to contract sexually transmitted illnesses. The same men nodded. It was an epiphany to them because, let’s face it, in a man’s privileged world other men are never the underprivileged and underserved.
So her words started off a tangent. This conversation was steered from how women can be saved to how men can be delivered. It became a caricature of its original concept. The insensitivity of this society is never more on display than when a woman says she has been dishonored in her most secure relationship and a woman invalidates it by citing barely-there statistics of abuse that men deal with.
But let’s call it what it is!
These women are not allies. They’re touting their horns of being support systems and cheerleaders and champions and change-bringers. But they’re none of that. They whored away all their compassion for fellow humans a long time ago just to get a nod from patriarchy. They embody the very essence of toxic matriarchy that new wives fight with each day. They’re not allies.
They’re no non-conformist either. In fact their whole life is a great big kaleidoscopic disarray of mismatched principles and ill-conceived ideas.
They’re no feminists. They’re no humanity-forging force. They’re downright negligent of their duty towards their gender. They can’t understand and if you can’t understand then you can’t empathize.
They’re no believers of equality. In fact they thrive on the world being partial to men. Because that’s how their role remains safe and defined. They serve men with sex and deception. If there was equality, then they might lose their footing.
What they are is forgettable. They won’t be written about. They won’t be missed and they certainly won’t be treasured. They’re as forgettable as the ornamental pieces of days past. They’re more forgettable to these men and other women than the last meal they had. They won’t ever make the queen or the Witch. They won’t make their shoes either. They’ll just make for an agitator. Someone that history will mention perfunctorily, without name or lineage, without reference or in any particular context, without any real idea of their contribution to a man’s deliverance or a woman’s salvation. These are women without a mission and without any meaning. These forgettable women don’t do anything to hinder my course in life. And I hope that all they do for other women is spur them on into finding their identity.