I’ve always wished I had a goddess of Feminism who could answer all the questions I have accumulated over the years. It seems like I can’t but here are 10 of the questions anyway. Please help.
Written by Aarushi Ahluwalia.
I’ve said this for many years now, and I will continue to say it forever, I wish I had a goddess of feminism. Not an ideological or mythological goddess who sends cryptic messages through doves or falling pots, no thank you. I wish I had a genius, omnipotent, overly-specific, reliable, constantly fact-checking and always dressed in black (just for the aesthetic) goddess who had all the answers, you know? Because I know that I am supposed to always do what I want and that’s what feminism is really about and that sounds just lovely but it’s bullshit yeah? None of us really are sure how we feel about anything and none of us are really immune to social messaging. Even though I personally routinely pretend to be above all these things, I’m not even close. I never know if I have the right opinion or if my feelings are feminist enough. I never know what the fuck with my body, I mean, I can make a body positivity speech on the high-end of mediocre but when it comes to my body, I’m just not sure of anything. We can pretend that we understand everything and the whole world is open to subjective interpretation and anything can mean anything to anyone and that doesn’t make any of us anxious at all or we can admit an omniscient goddess who had definitive answers to everything would be awesome to have.
Of course I know I can’t but I do have questions I have been accumulating my whole life that I would definitely ask if I did have a goddess. Here are my top ten questions (please feel free to answer if you are feeling real goddess-ey today, subjective answers not accepted).
1) How excited am I allowed to be about marriage? See, fundamentally, I believe it is a sexist institution that aims at consolidating assets and asserting behavioural control but also there was a guy at my wedding (not the one I married) who was solely in charge of bringing me everything I wanted at all times. I said the words “water chestnut” and he brought me a whole plate! I turned to look for a table for my glass and HE WAS ALREADY THERE READY TO TAKE IT! Is that womanly wedding excitement or do I really just want an assistant? How much should I pay my assistant?
2) Why is the efficacy of all period products based on how well they prevent staining? I mean forget about the fact that all period blood is blue but I can watch a man’s head explode freely on national television, and let’s just focus on what a good menstrual solution is because so far THEY ALL SUCK. If you can keep a pad in place, you are operating at a level I will never get to. Tampons dry you the hell out. The menstrual cup is a literal torture device with 7000 instructions for care. The period panties thing seems kinda okay but really why are none of these products looking out for my comfort and just trying to keep me from staining? I have never had a cup of coffee without spilling, you think I care about a little blood? Pfft.
3. Is it okay for me to still like Harry Potter after J.K. Rowling lost it at trans women? Because it’s really not just about her, art v/s artist is one of life’s great unanswerable questions. Whether that is Wagner’s anti-Semitism, Spenser’s insane vendetta against the Irish, Shakespeare’s faithless ways or John Ruskin’s love for 12-year old Effie, is it okay to like the creation of a person you couldn’t have at your dinner table?
4. Is biology..a misogynist? Really, is biology sexist? Because why does everything hurt or feel like shit? Growing boobs hurts, both naturally and surgically. Periods hurt. Sex kinda hurts. Childbirth, don’t even get me started. HRT even hurts! Aging hurts. Upper body workouts hurt (but that one I would like to keep). Menopause hurts. I am assuming death hurts but that one is pretty gender-neutral so okay.
5. Is it okay to ever stop fighting? I realise this one one may not apply to everyone as a quandary but it definitely does as an experience. The politics of womanhood are a minefield. Is it ever okay to get tired and not say anything when you see something or experience something? Feels like cowardice and even Gandhi said violence is better than cowardice! Gandhi found something he disliked more than violence! Who am I to argue with Gandhi? But sometimes, is it okay to get tired of arguing, working, battling for a single cause? Or is that what death is?
6. Seriously, just give me a straight answer on this, what birth control should I use? No issues with being childless forever but much issue with the birth control market as it stands now. Not a fan of what happens with Oestrogen/progesterone blockers/inhibitors (and if you don’t know the type of birth control you use or how it may be impacting your body, please look it up, the birth control industry be hella sexist). Period math depends on a reliable cycle, lol. Not on board with having things inserted into me at all. No surgical options, please, and while my partner and I are cool with a vasectomy, so few competent practitioners are willing to perform it. Should I use Saheli? Seems safer than other oral contraception but the Indian government (that thinks nuclear fission came from the Mahabharata) is involved. Seriously, just tell me, how do I keep myself from accidentally having babies (or abortions)? Celibacy is not an option, please.
7. Really… What are men? Let me just preface this by saying there are many nice men bla bla bla but seriously straight men, have you ever tried dating straight men? Just as a social experiment, #nohomo, try it. Just try it and then you will understand my question, and you might even ask it yourself.
(Pro tip: Don’t ask a girl you met on hinge and haven’t even seen in person yet if she is willing to relocate for the love of you. Seriously.)
8. Am I allowed to have emotions or not? May seem like one of those “you can do whatever you want” questions but it’s serious and I need a real answer. I thought I had it right at 21, I had no emotions at all at work and minimally expressed them personally, but apparently I was scaring people. Then I tried subverting emotions into humour and apparently I was also scaring people. Then I tried turning emotions on and apparently men at work will attack you for that and think you are too naive to be taken seriously. Now I pretty much don’t know how to emote without discomfort so I put them all into writing about other characters. If you could assist that would be real dandy. Please don’t suggest a therapist, they keep telling me to find god and seriously you think I wouldn’t if it were that fucking easy?
9. How do I explain to doctors that not every single ailment a woman has is caused by depression or anxiety? I once had dengue and the doctor said my fever was caused by anxiety. My mother will be writhing in pain and be given an antidepressant. My sister had a two month cough and was mostly prescribed xanax. Why do all doctors think all women are depressed (and simultaneously why don’t we take women’s depression seriously?)
10. This one is really important. How should I feel about shows like “The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives?” Like, on the one hand I think that if this is what sells and it makes some women money, why the fuck should I have a problem with that? Then there’s the fact that it actually makes a lot of male-dominated boardrooms a lot more money than the women. Then it’s just so problematic but also I watched it, even if only to write about it. Also it does accurately represent some things however tone-deaf they are but it fails to take the opportunity to discuss actually relevant things. Also the whole show felt like a trailer to a finale that never was. I don’t know, woman.
I need answers.