Friday, April 06, 2007

In Which I Am Disappointed

Annie Zaidi has finally lost it. There goes one of the few hopes I had from the feminist side of affairs.

I think that men have a right to 'look' if we happen to be in their line of vision. But they do not have a right to assume that a woman is available (even if she is stark naked), or open to insults, or that she will appreciate their admiration and attention. Unwelcome attention will simply provoke defensive-aggressive behaviour. And every woman has the right to define her own boundaries of (un)acceptable behaviour, and to defend those boundaries as she sees fit.

Indeed. And every man has the right to blow off the head of any other guy who calls him a prick. As also the duty to divine the limits of acceptable behavious for any woman he might see anywhere. There is no need for any kind of consensus on this - on differentiating between name calling, lewd comments and groping. No, it must be absolutely left to each individual. And a man has the right to look only in his "line of vision". Incidentally, all people , at all times, look only in their line of vision. Or is she suggesting that a man's "line of vision" be static?

It had been happening for some time. Ever since the attempts to replicate Arundhati Roy in form and content started happening. One-word paragraphs. Stream-of-consciousness images. I kept reading her - because she knows the heartland, because she writes about things people don't bother about. But this ??

Apologies to the sisters I offended by my opinions earlier. I stand corrected, and wiser.

References to "sisters" should be disallowed unless you're Beyonce in a hot music video. (Lil Kim would do too, it's just that she doesn't make any music worth tolerating even for the video.)

Aman feels this one is a great blogger. I've read her - erudite but far too biased. And, over-reliant on the term "dehumanizing". As well as on caricatures of typical desi grad students who have probably stopped existing outside of low-budget NRI movies. She finds the concept and the activity of strip clubs "dehumanizing". My thought process about this is -

1) Even if one doesn't know the term "dehumanizing", everyone has an instinctive understanding of what counts as "dehumanizing". The fact that strippers prefer stripping to some other profession they could have gone into says something(I am not talking about those who are being forced to do anything against their wishes - that is coercion and is a crime under every legal system in the world).

2) A stripper may then choose stripping to one or more of the following reasons - a) she enjoys that b) it makes her good money, or c) it makes her a moderate amount of money but she doesn't have the skills to make better money elsewhere. Case a is a no-brainer. Case b and c imply that the stripper chooses the option of getting touched by unknown men over choosing poverty. Which is to say that in her value system, poverty is more dehumanizing than random male contact. Why should anyone call a strip-club dehumanizing then?

Random plugging - Aman has begun writing. Have you checked him out yet? Crisp style, intelligent humour, tangy opinions. I likes.


Canary said...

just dropped by.. will not say if I agree or disagree though

Ritwik said...

um..thanks for dropping by. do i know u ?

Arry Potter said...

hmmm no wonder

Ritwik said...

no wonder what?..why is everyone turning enigmatic

Sanjana Govindan said...

perhaps i am the last person to be non-enigmatic..hehe atleast i imagine i am !
anyway, if i were to answer as a sunshineist then all this doesnt matter..however answering objectively i completely agree with you... the trouble with these kinds of arguements is that they cannot ever achieve consensus or a conclusions which is ok.

i also do not see why it is so bad that someone changed their point of view. it is ok if someone ceases to believe something a certain way. also, for every belief evolution is necessary isn't it? i know this is rather vague, but i know you understand.

so if your reasons for anger aginst the writer are purely because she chagned her stance then that seems a little unfair, dont you think?

Ritwik said...


It is absolutely ok if someone changes their viewpoint. What disappoints me is the fact that about a year ago, the same person had presented viewpoints that struck me as perfectly consistent, logical, balanced, forward-looking and devoid of typical posturing and rhetoric. I respected and appreciated her for that. Now, her views are what I consider stereotypical, neither here nor there, rhetorical, "make a stand but do not justify", etc . From my perspective, her views have devolved rather than evolved. A year ago, I genuinely learnt from something she wrote, now she writes things that any run-of-the-mill bleeding heart could have written. I doubt if this is evolution, and if it is, I doubt if I can appreciate it.

Also, I feel no anger, only disappointment. Anger's too strong a word. All of us have certain pet peeves. The Arundhati Roy brand of activism and rhetoric is one of mine. When I see a rational, brilliant individual take resort to Royism, I'm sorry but I find it difficult to extend her a sunshineist acceptance.