Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You Might Be a Feminist If...

I have had so many ideas and concepts on my mind lately. They are really starting to mess with my mind.

Gender. Is. Frustrating. I'm learning a lot about gender and the inequality that surrounds it, whether it's in found in the home or in the workforce. Roles, norms, and the like construct my life and everyone else's. Gender is connected to the biological sex one has, but shouldn't be synonymous. I think gender ambiguity is a beautiful thing. To understand yourself that much, to not conform to the gender socialization that our society constructs is inspirational. I'm not having a gender identity crisis or anything of the sorts, but I am trying to reconcile my womanhood with the expectations society places on me because I am a woman.

Brief example: This weekend I went home to visit my dear Canadian cousins who had traveled down South for the weekend. It was myself, my aunt, my 3 male cousins, my brother, my dad and my uncle who were at Aunt Janice's for dinner Saturday night. Aunt Janice had gladly hosted everyone for the UNC game and dinner, which was delish. Aunt Janice had cooked, it was our responsibility to clean up (that's the universal rule, right?). No one got up. Part of me didn't want to do it either simply because I didn't want to conform to the expectation of "the woman's place is in the kitchen". But I knew Aunt Janice would start to clean up and that wasn't fair or right. So I went and cleaned up. But I only cleaned up and then asked my cousins to wash the pots and pans, as a form of resistance. Why weren't they inclined to clean up after dinner? Why weren't they inclined to offer assistance? Why was I? Is it associated with my femaleness? Have their mothers and sisters been the ones doing that their whole lives?

These questions are relentless in my head. I didn't feel obligated because of my womanhood, I wanted to help because it was right and fair. However, I resented it. I was complying to the roles that have been cut out for me in society. I am more than a washing machine, I am more than fulfillment of expectations. By default, I was reifying tradition and patriarchy to my male relatives, that the matters of the household would be taken care of by the women.

It's a personal struggle, you see. I place a large emphasis of my identity on being woman. However it is more than traditional - I am a woman and therefore am strong, persistent, independent, successful. My definition of myself as a woman does not necessarily match up with what society considers. And that makes my heart pound. The unfairness of it all.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I am reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is an excerpt from the book that made me cry, simply and unforced.

"Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written insructions: 'Do NOT think that you are among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite.'

But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed...infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the sources of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while?" (Page 208)