We are bombarded with messages of women’s empowerment all the time. You hear the Not all Men brigade, thumping their chests. And you think: wow, we really are on the high road for rights.
My mom urges me to call and stay in touch with relatives. She scolds me constantly for being ‘isolated and shut inside your room, instead of being normal’ . Translation: Why the fuck are you not using facebook or whatsapp to stay in touch with ur relatives ?
I do use whatsapp and facebook at times. But not with relatives or friends of my father/mother. You would want to know why. The prime reason is: I hv nothing remarkable to share. So I look into my father’s whatsapp chats.
My father’s whatsapp groups consist of his club members, some relatives. They send him a stream of messages everyday. So I decide to peruse them. And what do I see ?
There’s the usual good morning /good night greetings. And health tips and…….
Not Porn. But worse.
A message reads: Never hurt your wife. She multiplies everything. If you give her sperm, she gives you a baby.
A video shows a fat asian woman jumping hurdles and winning a race, till the stage breaks down and she falls into a manhole. (Fatphobia)
A message reads: An African woman married a Chinese man. She suffered a miscarriage. Next year, a second miscarriage. Finally she ends the marriage cos she believes ‘I knew Chinese goods would be defective’
A gif shows an asian boy offering an icecream to an asian girl for a lick. After second attempt, he finishes the icecream, while she ends up licking his smelly feet ,as her eyes are closed. Then she opens her eyes and realises with disgust, about what she had done. She beats him up
A gif shows two monkeys slapping each other madly nonstop. The message is captioned ‘Husband and Wife at home’.
A message reads : ‘If Neil Armstrong had a desi wife, she would interrogate him this way:
A message reads: a man texted ‘I m sorry to say I used your wife day and night and now feel guilty.’ After the husband faints, a second message pops up ‘I meant your wifi’.
There are other messages that run like this: husband demands a cup of tea in the morning, wife brings it. Second cup, wife obliges. Third cup, wife brings with some delay. Fourth cup, wife grumbles. Fifth cup, wife shouts at her husband to go make it himself. Sixth cup, husband goes and makes tea for both of them. Seventh cup, husband hesitantly asks….and the message ends with a lament ‘This is modern life’
A message reads: Letter: ‘Dear Wives, on the eve of this Test series (cricket), please dont change the tv channel, visit or call upon your friends, or go into labour and give birth. Signed, Gentlemen’s association’
And a message reads: ‘I asked my girlfriend to marry me at 18. She refused saying she had dreams, ambitions and did not want to be burdened with a husband and kids. Years later I found her doing this’. At the bottom of the message is photo of a woman potty training a little boy near a railway track.
And the latest message I last saw before writing this post was a man pulling a rickshaw with a woman seated behind. She holds an umbrella over him like a canopy.
All these messages and many more are a constant barrage from so called friends and relatives. My father defends them by saying ‘Cmon these are just jokes. They were sent to me, not to you. I hardly read them.’
My mom says ‘Men will be men. They probably dont read, but forward blindly.’
So I m supposed to swallow the pill of xenophobia, racism, sexism and misogyny in my stride, as they arrive in flocks, roosting next to ‘Respect parents’ ‘Respect children’ , ‘Respect teachers’ messages ?
And in the distance one hears the ‘Not All Men’ brigade thumping their chests……..