Women's Day II

Women's Day happens to coincide with Chubbocks' birthday. The first time a big hoo-hah was being made of the day, I was getting my stomach cut open and spent the rest of the day in a comatose condition induced by the general anaesthetic.

Since then, I can give you a breakdown of the standard women's day drill in our household:
1. Wake up early and wish Chubbocks
2. Get started on making his favourite breakfast/ lunch
3. Clean up in a frenzy
4. Be in the kitchen, most likely barefoot, and in my case given the number of kids, pregnant, cooking party food since I'm an oldfashioned mom and insist that birthday parties be at-home affairs
5. Barely get ready by the time half the guest list has arrived
6. Run around like mad at said party, making sure everyone's eaten, drunk and generally enjoyed themselves
7. Organise dinner for in-laws and spouse
8. Go to bed, every bone in the body aching

This year we added one new step:
-1. Stay awake most of the night between feeding and putting to bed cranky baby, worrying about Puddi who's been puking with a throat infection and being attended-to by A, and cussing out birthday-boy-to-be for waking us to:
a. Ask for water
b. Say that he's awake but won't disturb us and will read quietly; and
c. Inform us that he needs to pee, forgetting all about the attached bathroom to his bedroom

Not very feminist/ liberated, some might say. Well, you know what? I think it is. Because it's out of choice. I'm exercising my freedom of choice to be the woman who likes cooking up things to feed her family and friends, who's damn houseproud and wants it to be on its best behaviour. There are other ways to exercise my freedom too, and I use all of them - shopping for myself, working or choosing not to, taking major life decisions - whom to marry, where to study, what job offer to accept, whether to cut my hair short or not...

The point I'm making is that I'm against the 'exclusive' school of feminism, which seems to think that if a woman enjoys cooking or enjoys making her husband/ family happy then she's a traitor to the cause, that if a woman isn't working she's letting feminism down. The whole point of feminism is to empower women to make their own choices, take their own decisions - whether those choices include going out into the workforce or staying home and nurturing a family - or doing both to the best of her ability.

Actually, my version of feminism is to want people to stop looking at me as a 'woman', and pigeonholing me into some tidy little compartment. Instead, I want to be seen as a person, an individual, and for my life to be simply seen as the chosen life of an individual. I think that would be quite a major change of perspective for most people, to just turn off the gender switch and see people as people. See both men and women simply as individuals and not as part of 'gender' groups. All of a sudden, the Taliban, Ram Sene and all seem even more hollow and ridiculous than ever.

I don't want anyone analysing my choices or decisions through the prism of 'woman'. It's part of my identity to be a woman but I don't know how much that comes into play on a daily basis and influences my behaviour or decisions. Except those to do with my appearance, of course. And my collection of shoes and bags! I just think from my own individual point of view, as do most people who have the good fortune to be well-educated and from families that don't pigeonhole them.

Instead of Women's Day with its ridiculous tokenism and the plethora of brands announcing sales - which is quite insulting - can we just institute 'Individual's Day'? And celebrate it every day of the year?


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