Of Sad things and Women

All cultures, I suspect, contain the seeds of violence when it comes to female sexuality, and I learned something about Draupadi’s situation from Tolstoy’s famous novella The Kreutzer Sonata. The novella grew out of the Russian writer’s own relationship with his wife, and it describes the events that lead to her murder. The husband has violent and humiliating sex with her, and he feels miserable each time he rapes her. Since she is merely an object of bestial desire, he decides that he must kill her to put an end to his misery. After her death, she becomes ‘human’ in his eyes, and he even begins to have compassionate feelings for her. The murdering husband concludes that women will never be treated as full human beings as long as sexual intercourse exists. They will always be humiliated. 

–  Gurcharan Das, The Difficulty of Being Good

Brutal, but.. somewhat true.

10 thoughts on “Of Sad things and Women

  1. This by far has been the most disturbing blog post here. I had come across your blog several weeks ago and two posts in particular caught my attention. This, and one another. You shall come to know when I do post a comment on it.

    I always wanted to say something here, that there is a better reality. That there is no need for gloom, only for strong personal action – for societies rarely shift – they are mere collections of the average behavior of a person in the society under the given economic and cultural constraints.

    I'm lighting up my cigarettes and typing out a response, for I know now what exactly it is that I need to write.

    On a related note, you should write often. There are not many blogs that capture my attention, and those that do are the ones by giants like Spolsky and Paul Graham. This has to be the first student blog that I am devoting so much attention to.

  2. (I)
    These men are cruel, they seem to have oppressed women. It creates a brutal picture, a very fearful image that we all do not want to accept but somehow we convince ourselves that deep down inside this is the truth.

    But then, like it always happens, what you see right in front of your eyes is not exactly what the truth is. There are so many invisible reasons behind it, that we have to step back and take a look at them for only then will we be able to understand the situation well and by extension find hope and derive our own personal responsibilities. While I write this down, take four steps back with me, each time seeing something more than what is visible, and then we'll come back to the immediate reality. I have smoked quite a few cigarettes with a tight knot in my stomach as I wrote this depressing thing, and I can not even begin to imagine what your reaction and state of mind and body would have been as you read that paragraph.

    I had left you with the thought of Seneca's quote, "All cruelty stems from weakness.". So if men are cruel, and each society has seeds of violence against women, where does this cruelty stem from? What is the weakness that it brings to the fore?

  3. (II)
    Take another step back and look at the animal world (on a tangent, we are animals with a well developed brain, but our society gives us all the problems of the brain and none of the benefits of being an animal.). Animals strong enough, fit enough can survive by hunting or finding food. There is no hunger in the animal world except for acts of nature. Mating is a game of reproduction, and if a male is strong enough, he will attract a mate. I know that the poor males that are not strong enough will perhaps never be able to mate with a female – but that is a natural law.

    Now come back to the human society. Are men and women strong enough to feed themselves able to live without going to sleep with a full stomach? The imposition of an economic structure and the poor maintenance of human rights, along with ineffective politics means that there are accidents of birth. Your life doesn't just depend on the genes that you inherit, but the society and the economic class that you are born in. So we have here posited that human societies are inherently unjust, and only effective politics can remove accidents of birth.

    How then does this translate in cruelty against women? Dear lady, isn't finding a mate the second primal purpose of life after survival? Have you not seen how well we manage to keep poor people hungry and poor, without giving them a single chance to come out? If it's a simple problem with food, how big a problem is this with women? What happens to a man who realizes that he will probably never be able to cherish the love of another woman? What does it do to his own self image?

  4. (III)

    Now come close to where we are – the places where we live in, where survival is not so much of a problem as living. We see all kinds of men who are well to do, or can at least feed themselves but would none the less be cruel to the women in their life. Now that statement becomes crystal clear – "the seeds of violence are present in every society."

    I would never in my weakest moments accept the conclusions offered by a jaded human. I would offer an alternative – "the seeds of violence against female sexuality are present in every society that fails to appreciate what love is, to recognize it's central place in human life and to impart it's people with the courage – nay, not courage, courage is for things that are against paths of least resistance – rather, a path of least resistance to pursue a loving relationship."

    There. As soon as we articulate it we have found optimism. And as soon as we find optimism it is obligatory to any person who wants to be a good member of the society to articulate his or her own personal responsibilities.

    I will post that – along with how society in its default state oppresses both it's men and women to find love (as a result of which, women would never know what wonders their sexuality holds for them, and men would make it an act of conquest, another way to relieve themselves beside alcohol.) later when this has given you a ray of hope, or if you were already hopeful – then a light-saber of belief to cut through this brutal conclusion.

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