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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Sphinx Had A Woman's Head...

... because it makes sense. What else could have made the Sphinx such a complex thing? If wit and cleverness were the order of the day here then the Sphinx would have had Rowena Ravenclaw's head. But anyway.

The reason I thought of this is this article. I like her sign off:

What we want is a man with a full head of hair, a luminous jacket, and a good pair of lungs. We want someone who can shift crowds and move horses for a damsel in distress. We want our very own Superman.

Okay, it sounds nice. Rather, it sounds like a nice and simple solution to that age old question. Trouble is, I can't bring myself to think of it as anything beyond clever answer. It's not really practical you see. Women are to blame for this. According to the media anyway.

I am most certainly a feminist (okay wait, that doesn't seem to have any bearing on anything here) ... I cry foul when I hear a man go 'Women! Never know their own minds... so indecisvie!' To be fair, I agree that women are complex creatures by nature. But what I need to be crying foul about is how women are made to look indecisive, are projected as flighty creatures. Specially regarding men. Beings that can never decide what they want in a man and if a tiny unwanted trait is big enough to call something off.

It strikes me just now that my previous statement doesn't necessarily apply to any of the women I know. Most of them happen to be happily partnered or in no particular hurry to find a man and therefore not finicky or incessantly worrying over whether or not some poor chap is perfect for them and if they should look about some more.

But. There are such women. Plenty of them. I mostly see them on TV, or in movies. But that doesn't make them any less irksome. Sure I can switch the TV off or walk out of a movie. And that would leave me with books. I don't find much respite there either, however. I'm going to have to take up gardening at this rate.

How is it that the paramount life-changing dilemma in the lives of these projected, supposedly-imitating real life females is 'Which guy do I choose to be with?'. I'm not saying it is impossible for any woman to be involved in such drama. But why does it seem mandatory that all these women on screen representing the women of today have the same and only the one problem to define them — their life and their story. Why? It's rather demeaning and shrinks the role and the purpose of it to just one thing. Guy hunting. Surely there's more to the lives of modern women than just that? There definitely is. And I do not mean shoe shopping. Or clothes shopping. Or agonising over thread-counts in the sheets they buy. I mean deeper and more important issues. Like perhaps dealing with parents who have expectations that clash with your own. (And why is it that parents on screen are mere side characters?). Or losing contact with old frineds and battling with your feelings on realising that things might never get back to how they were. Or the age old 'What is my life about?' question. Realising that you're working your ass off and not getting much out of it and trying to get more out of life by doing something differently. taking up a new hobby. Why not any of these?

Women on screen are a bloody cliche. And I'm tired of being projected as a cliche. I am not one. And neither are any of the women I know. We do not spend hundreds on shoes. We do not max out our credit cards. We do not get stuck on one guy and refuse to let him move on. We do like to keep house and do a fairly good job of it. And are proud of those skills just as much as we are of our professional achievements. And we definitely do not define ourselves by our men, as extensions of them. Nor do we see-saw between several men trying to decide which one is nearest to that picture in our heads. Nor, break-up because the chap didn't remember an anniversary, doesn't arrange the cushions in a certain way, does not spout sonnets at the drop a hat, cannot dance, doesn't know what to do when you go out to a formal dining restaurant... endless list which is pointless.

In direct contrast to our projected lives, we love with passion and hold on to that love. Even when the object of our affections is nowhere near the perfect-person we had imagined. We learn to re-configure that image so we see this real-life person as perfect. And no one is forcing us to do that.

I've always had these 'I won't want to live with/marry any man who expects me to cook and wait on him hand and foot' ideas but I recently realised that it doesn't work that way. Marriage is about walking forward to that point and meeting half-way, willingly going out of your way to do things for your partner because they would do the same. And actually, it doesn't even seem like going out of your way. It just becomes second nature to do that... to look out and look after each other. That you will find a way of working around annoying habits if change isn't an option. And then, it won't matter if you don't get flowers every week, or that your partner doesn't seem to brag about you to friends, or that you don't get breakfast in bed. Because there are still moments and instances which speak, gestures that sweep you off your feet, though you hadn't ever thought them to be your idea of being swept off your feet, times when you're thankful you're not getting what you think you want. Because women are complex but can still be understood — just like a Sphinx's questions can be answered.

Flowers schmowers. Hmpfh. Can't compete with encouragement in the form of a violin bow.


  1. no amount of mush can compete with real-life gestures. which SAY that u're priceless. that u deserve all of that which is good and more.
    but u know that. :)sometimes it's something said... sometimes done.. sometimes, u don't even need words. and that, in my opinion is the best phase of a relationship.

    as for tv.. well, they air what sells. ppl aren't interested in watching how difficult it is for me to manage my parents and my husband. they are more interested in knowing if i'm confused about my choice of man... not ME, literally.. but u get that, don't u? :D

    p.s.: u should garden.. the snails love u. :D
    p.s.1: someone got a violin bow, eh?? that's why u don't want flowers every week now??

  2. since i HAVE to double comment...
    by rowena ravenclaw... do u mean the artist who played rowena ravenclaw??? HER head? we'd have to ask her, i reckon... :P

  3. La vida loca (too lazy to sing in)8:48 PM

    that's true on screen women are portrayed as man hunting, shoe shopping, Martha Stewart wannabes.
    or sexoholics or control freaks. Bah

  4. Violin bow? Indeed, things like that say a lot more than just flowers. Then again, depends on the occasion, right?

  5. Women on screen are a bloody cliche.

    You might wanna apply the Bechdel Test the next time you watch women on screen :)

  6. Rayshma: Aye! Yes to gardening. And umm... I said I don't want red roses on V day... when did I say I would dislike flowers? Once in a while is okay... not every week! And was the woman who played Rowena actually clever? If so we might use her :D

    Amey: :) yup! The thing is, there's a perfect gift for any occasion... finding it clinches the deal! :D

    Nightwatchmen: Ahh thank you!!! And welcome here :)