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Men do not want make the effort to understand women as just as human, because they want to go on enjoying the entitlement that they have enjoyed for centuries.
Today another old joke came up in my feed. God offers man a gift and he asks for an impossible superhighway halfway across the earth. God says not possible, ask for something else. Man says tell me how to understand women. God says ‘Do you want a two lane or four lane superhighway?’
Years ago I had laughed at this joke. I took it to mean that women are way too ‘mysterious’ for men, or even gods to understand. It felt somehow glamorous and superior.
And that was an easy bait for a young woman with low self esteem looking desperately for approval from men.
Today, reading it, I felt fury. Even rage. Because I don’t think now that women are ‘mysterious’ in any way at all.
Women are human beings like men. They feel the same things and want the same things. They feel pain when hurt or exploited or violated. They want respect and consideration and freedom and safety and self actualization. Just like men.
What is there not to understand? How difficult is it to understand something so basic?
Women are made out to be, even glamorized as mysterious for absolutely no reason but that the patriarchy does not WANT to understand women and see them as human beings. It WANTS to go on exploiting and dehumanizing women. It is because men do not WANT to do the work of understanding women because they want to go on enjoying the entitlement that they have enjoyed for centuries.
No, women are not mysterious. No, we did not step off a cloud with a built-in capacity to smile and look pretty under abuse. We are exactly the same kind of people that men are, and we want the same basic things.
If the patriarchal male does not want to make the effort to understand her, let him at least say so honestly. Jokes like these are nothing but another attempt to undermine the basic humanity of women — it is a veiled way of saying women are ‘difficult’.
Image source: a still from the film Umrao Jaan
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Aparna Pallavi's current callings are as a therapist, contemplative writer and researcher of indigenous
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