Sunday, March 9, 2008

And this is for all you women out there

So, DNA asked me to write an article for International Women's Day and I spent quite a while wondering how I should play it. Should I rave and rant over serious issues (and there are many) or celebrate the advances we've made? I browsed through the official IWD website. Celebrate, it said! Go on, celebrate, don't be a tight-arse (well, not that phrase exactly)! So that's what I did. The article has been published already, so I'm free to paste it below. Here goes:
International Spare Ribs Fest
I’m beginning to feel sorry for men, really I am. Women are so much better off, aren’t we- we’ve got one full day a year dedicated to us, hooray! Time to bring out the pink bubbly and listen to Cindy Lauper’s frothy Girls Just Wanna Have Fun till our ears bleed. Amy Winehouse’s smoky Back to Black is for later, when we’re all fabulously pickled and maudlin and muttering darkly about the Great Indian Bustard. Hey, it’s a bird, no offence meant to anyone, promise.

Of course, after all those years of oppression and injustice, we do have darn good reasons for a knees-up, and more important, an occasion to remind ourselves that the fight must go on till every man in the world is mentally liberated enough to regard women as equals. I’m not just talking about cave men relics in Afghanistan, but (gasp) America too. Recently, while on the campaign trail, a couple of hecklers shouted, ‘Hillary, iron my shirt!’ Mrs. Clinton refused to oblige and batted them off politely, but me, I’d have cheerfully hollered, ‘Sure hon, while it’s on your back!’ Maybe because I’m a warmer, friendlier person.

Still, we’ve come a long way. Unlike our primitive ancestors we don’t have to spend our lives ducking and hiding from men whose idea of fun was to drag us by our tresses to deserted caves. Gosh, no wonder those poor women had worse hairdos than pop stars in the Eighties. These days, with date rape drugs and what not, the process is much tidier, and so much more civilised, innit? Modern science, wow! Also, with so many cricket matches on TV these days, where can men find the time to bring us to rack and ruin? During commercial breaks?

And, joy, we don’t spend all our time barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen anymore, oh no. We’re free, gloriously free, to go to work and bring home the bacon. No big deal if we have to spend a couple of hours cooking it too. But be careful, accidents do happen in the cooking arena, so please do not be in the kitchen at the same time as your mother-in-law - particularly if she’s been talking wistfully about a new car. Look, I’m just saying.

But on to more cheerful things. Today, women have broken through most of the traditional male bastions, yay! (Note to self: check if the BMC hires female rat-catchers). Okay, so we’re not paid the same salaries for the same jobs, but that’s only because men are a bit slow –the precious darlings still believe that they are solely responsible for bringing freshly slaughtered Woolly Mammoths home for the family’s sustenance. Women are not seen as natural born providers, they would just squander their salaries on something silly like shoes, and you can’t eat those, not even doused in ketchup or accompanied with grandma’s sexy mango pickle, can you?

But, by far the most important reason to celebrate Women’s Day, is pants. Not just the fact that we wear them metaphorically, but literally too. For centuries, many cultures deliberately handicapped women’s movements by imposing a dress code on them that was only fit for one-legged critters or mermaids. Come on, how fast can you flee from predatory men in an ankle-length sheathe that binds your legs together? And really, how comfortable is it to sit side-saddle on a horse or a bike? I say this with deep feeling because of a sepia-tinged photograph in our family album. Picture this: the pyramids of Giza in the background, my grandparents on camel-back in the foreground. Guess which one of them is not smiling in a carefree manner- go on!

So yeah, all things considered, some of us are doing fine. A few bumps on the head from that blasted glass ceiling, but even so. Right, here’s to the sistah-hood, and may our powers increase!

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