Sunday, May 18, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms from the 80s… It’s a woman’s world

         It’s a woman’s world
“You women have a lot of advantages,” said my husband’s friend at a party. “As saleswomen, you have easy entry to homes and offices. You can enter beauty contests and take part in fashion shows. Male colleagues help you in the office…you have everything good going!” I listened to him with an amused yet skeptical smile. But thinking over what he said, I feel he isn’t far from the truth.
Yes, life for us women is generally as good as we make it. If I decide to be weak and clinging, I’m sure to arouse the protective instinct of many a male. I can exploit this without their knowing it. A weak smile, an apologetic “Please, will you help me…” and many prototypes of Walter Raleigh spring up to spread out the red coat. The more helpless I pose to be, the more enthusiastic is their offer to help.
Can you imagine the same situation in the converse? If a man is weak and clinging, he is called parasite and shunned by women themselves. No wonder it is said, “Blessed are the meek, for they inherit the earth” (applicable only to women).
If I decide to be pushy and ambitious I get enough encouragement from male counterparts who’d rather let a woman win than their own sex. I can play a dual game here – switch on the weak act when things get tough and the tough exterior when things get out of hand.
The velvet glove and the iron hand is a unique feminine ensemble.
If I decide to be a housewife, I have a castle called my home awaiting my ‘queening it’. I can employ a cook and ayah and let them handle mundane chores. Workouts at the club, videotapes to watch, shopping sprees, gossip sessions, kitty parties, batik classes and afternoon naps are my multifarious activities. When I’m bored, I may even go to the kitchen and bake a black forest.
If I decide to be a career woman there are hundreds of avenues open to me. I can take up a glamour job in an airline or ad agency or a hotel, I may choose to become a receptionist, I could become a physiotherapist or a paratrooper.
It I decide to be nasty, I have many ways to perfect my art. I can bully my daughter-in-law into bringing gold and diamonds and if she doesn’t, make a roast kabab out of her. I can spread rumours about other women and malign them to the extent that they will find life not so good after all! I can nag my husband and drive him to the nearest bar – but then, I try not to show this ugly side of me! My smile is a good camouflage!
If I decide to be not a woman, but a good human being, I can. I can use my feminine traits of gentleness and compassion and draw on the masculine traits of rational thinking  and that’s when I think I have “everything good going”.