Friday, February 4, 2011

Sleeping with the Enemy


Reading Stieg Larsson's trilogy brought back many memories from my Gender Studies days. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the other two books in the series fall under the genre of crime fiction/thriller. But they are also books about violence against women, an issue that Larsson felt very strongly about throughout his life. When he was 15, Larsson witnessed the gang rape of a girl. The rapists were his friends and the girl was known to all of them. Larsson did nothing to stop it. Her name was Lisbeth.

Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of Larsson's trilogy, is unlike any other I've encountered. True, certain parts of her characterization seem James Bond-like but again, this is a genre that accommodates and even demands that. What I like best about the books is that Lisbeth is not stuffed in a cat-suit with her breasts hanging out in an everyday manner of dressing. She is not blonde and neither is her hair untied and loose when she's engaged in a fist fight. Lisbeth is mysterious, but not in the slit-eyes, pouting mouth way. She's mysterious because she likes to handle her own business. Her sexual identity is queer and queer in a way that rings genuine- not the girl-on-girl action that caters to an obviously male, straight audience. When subjected to violence, Lisbeth responds and responds effectively. Even though her responses are violent, a part of me feels enthused and rewarded. It's just so good to see a woman giving it back in the balls for once, never mind if she's fictional.

In my first Gender Studies class, I was convinced that of the bunch of women who were my classmates, I'd probably seen the most of gender-based discrimination. I was the only non-White in the room, after all. But the very first question that the professor asked us- What made you take up this course?- dispelled those assumptions. L, from Cyprus, said she'd been subjected to domestic violence. Her boyfriend had not only hit her, he'd even burnt down her car. She'd gone to the police station to file a complaint but her boyfriend told the cops that it was a lovers' quarrel. They chose to believe him and sent her home. L was angry and also afraid. There were women from Britain, the US, Ireland, Sweden, Germany and many other countries who were similarly pissed off.

If you take the statistics for violence per se, in any country, you will find that men die due to violence in substantially higher numbers than women. Then why is violence against women an issue? How is it different from violence in general? Violence against women is an issue not because women are innocent. Not because women are softer, defenceless, frail, delicate, or more deserving to live. Violence against women is an issue because women die because they are women. Same way Jews died because they were Jews and Blacks died because they were Black. However, today, you can be arrested for calling someone a monkey but it's perfectly fine to call someone a motherfucker.

Women and sex are inseparable in popular culture. In one of the gender workshops that I did, I asked the all-girls class how they knew that a particular scene in a movie was a sex scene. They seemed shy to respond, so I threw them some prompts: would they consider it a sex scene if a man and woman were shown together in an intimate act? They said yes. Would they consider it a sex scene if a man was shown undressing by himself? They said no. Would they consider it a sex scene if a woman was shown undressing by herself? They said yes. And this is how we behave in public life too. Go to any waterfall in India. You will see men stripped to their underwear jumping about, unmindful of what is showing and what is not. You will also see a bunch of women in the water, fully dressed, fully conscious of the fact that their clothes are wet and that they may look 'vulgar'. They will come out of the water and walk back in their wet clothes with a dupatta or towel draped around them. The men will change right there, doesn't matter who's watching. The idea
that the female body is sexual everywhere while the male body is sexual only in context is imprinted in the heterosexual mind, be it male or female.

But why is sex associated with violence? Why is 'fuck you' in any language an abuse? Why is it that 'I'm so fucked' or 'I'm so screwed' mean that one is finished? Because in popular culture, sex is not an act of love. It is an act of power. And the one who loses is the one who is fucked. This is why rape is as much a weapon in warfare as a grenade. This is why rape is expected collateral damage in a riot. This is why it is okay to rape a dalit woman even if you won't let her touch the water in your well. This is why men who rape women are heterosexual and yet misogynistic. This is why they believe women who threaten their power need to be taught a lesson. The widespread availability of pornography, which is often violent and often debasing, has also contributed heavily to these ideas.

The etymology of the word 'pornography' itself is interesting. Though we know it now mostly through the internet, a recent invention, pornography comes from the Greek words 'porne' and 'graphos'. 'Porne' refers to the lowest class of prostitutes in ancient Greece i.e. the women available to all male citizens, not just the gentry. They were considered to be cheap, vile, and objects who could be mistreated without drawing censure from anyone. Not all classes of prostitutes in ancient Greece were viewed this way. The porneia was the lowest in the hierarchy and they had the least human value. The word 'graphos' means 'writing, etching, or drawing'. So pornography is essentially the representation of the lowest class of whores, the ones who can be humiliated because it's fun and nobody's asking any questions.

By this definition, women world-over, no matter what their qualification, job, race, culture, caste, religion and any such category, have slipped into the porneia. Today, it's okay for a man with half my IQ to rub against me in a bus. It is my fault for dressing like a whore. Today, we can all watch Barney on How I Met Your Mother and find his hump-and-dump strategies funny. Today, it's okay to call someone a cunt or a pussy and not offend anyone in the room, even if it has women. Today, nothing can guarantee your safety if you are a woman. Welcome to the porneia.

Stieg Larsson's trilogy goes right into the heart of the issue, though most readers of the books would probably find his plots more exciting than the sociological aspects of it. But me, I'm a Larsson fan because of Lisbeth. And the cold fact that his books are based on actual statistics.


abi said...

violence against women are covered under causes like social, economical, political, but the very fact is THEY ARE WOMEN. Liked your post very much.

Minka said...

Great post , I haven't been able to quite read it completely yet but had to comment to say thanks for the Larsson angle - his experince must have haunted him enough to want to write about it . I have read the first one and making it through the second painstakingly (yes, I have a 6 year old who hogs my book time ) .

hamsini said...

I loved your post! Super point that about what we consider as a "Sex scene in a movie". Didn't know you did workshops!

Quicksilver said...

An intense post. Brilliant it was.

Gradwolf said...

Very well written.

I got to know much later(after the books) about how Stieg Larsson feels strongly about the violence against women issue and his own personal experiences. And Lisbeth is so offbeat that I don't think we've seen anything quite like her before.

Sathya said...

Way too powerful...i like...

vishesh said...

I hate how I met your mother, for precisely that reason.

I say that not to sound like a feminist(or like some men think- to impress women), but because it is disgusting.

Traveling has taught me a few things, among them, the fact that a lot of men are willing to question the way society sees women..

But in Kerala after 6-7pm, there are no women on the roads- in fact this was scary..

Not all men like to strip and jump into a water fall. There are men, who consider it indecent to wear shorts and sleeveless tees etc.

Is there something called true love? apparently love is all about sex, now days...

Porno is scary to watch. There are many including women, who think it shows modernity, but little do they know...

And we are all sexist at some level..guess as a species it has become a part of us..

Will be reading the series soon.

Broom said...

This week's rage inducing news: Republicans in the US trying to distinguish between 'forcible rape' and other rape.

I have all this rage and despair at the way women are treated and I couldn't have articulated it nearly as beautifully (and starkly) as you have.

Srinivas said...

Strong post GB; and I must say rather disturbing as well - which is I admit one reason why I did not read it first thing in the morning before I went out even though I had seen it hours ago!

The cues on men versus women's dressing, for instance, and their associations with a "sex scene" in a film is right on the money.

As for rape being an imposition of a misogynist's power hunger on women who he thinks threaten it, I am not too sure of the popular view of "sex" as an interplay of power.

I must, however, concede that the boundaries blur esp in the context of the so-called alpha male men and also that I am less 'aware'of issues connecting power and sex as compared with you.

I have not read the trilogy: I may take up on it sometime. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

damn well said GB


Sowmya Srikrishnan said...

A very nice post.Loved the way you've put this.

Anonymous said...

Power is the most corrupting thing in the world and that is the game in rape. Very very well written .. thanks

Anonymous said...

Vini said...

Very poignant post. It was like reading through a well articulated essay.

I agree on so many counts. I am as inspired to read/study more about gender issues as I am to take up this widely recommended trilogy that I haven't yet managed to acquire.

V said...

To be fair, you can also call someone a dick.
I loved this post. Honestly, I usually get bored by essay type posts, but I love the ones you write.

apu said...

"The idea that the female body is sexual everywhere while the male body is sexual only in context is imprinted in the heterosexual mind, be it male or female." - beautifully said. I think this is something so ingrained in us that we rarely question it. I've also read some curious reviews of Larsson, which say that despite his worries about the violence directed against women, the books themselves are horribly violent and get into detailed descriptions of violence against women; some of the descriptions were so bad that I haven't even dared to read the books. any comments on this?

Ramya said...

Thank you for this thought proving post. I'm a big fan of the trilogy, but didn't know about Larsson's experience. It kind of makes me look at Lisbeth again. Though I do have reservations about some of her actions in the later books - will not spoil it for you, but as you progress with the trilogy, you may want to bring it up.

M said...

Hello - that blew me away. Despite the fact that this has been said before, it only seems to happen in safehouses like classrooms, workshops etc. People still get queasy if this directly addressed in normal conversation (and that includes fb, twitter, personal blogs we communicate through).
And I will barf if another man with a tertiary level education says "But men also suffer domestic violence."
Linking to your post now - hope a lot more people read it. Thanks!

GB said...

@Abi- Indeed. Thanks!

@Minka- Yes, I was intrigued by Larsson's passion for the subject and read up on him. It made a lot more sense then.

@Hamsini- The workshop was done in Olcott school. I don't do workshops on a regular basis, but I'm game if someone asks me to do one.

@Quicksilver- Thanks!

@Gradwolf- Thanks!

@Sathya- Thanks!

@Vishesh- To declare that you are a feminist is not such a bad thing :) A lot of men declare they are jerks with pride, so consider it :) And the post did not generalize all men to behave in a certain way...I myself know men who are believers and more importantly, practitioners,of gender equality.

@Broom- Yup, saw that news piece too. There's just no end to the bs.

@Srini- Google for Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon.

@Anonfan- Thank you!

@Sowmya- Thanks!

@Anonymous- Couldn't agree more.

@Anonymous- Yup. Not a day passes without me opening the NDTV site and finding a gruesome rape.

@Vini- Anger is a great point to start something productive.

@V- A 'dick' is someone who behaves inappropriately. It's also used in a comic context. To call someone a 'cunt' is to reduce them to a state of being nothing but something to fuck. The way we use the words has a very strong subtext.

@Apu- I think there's a wide difference between violence against women as shown in Larsson's books and the violence shown in movies like Sivappu Rojakal and Vettayadu Vilayadu. The latter show no analytical intelligence and clearly play up to voyeuristic tastes. But Larsson's books, I feel, are written from a standpoint that not only deals with the issue starkly but also provides women with the agency to act and respond. They don't end up as torn up ragdolls.

@Ramya- I have finished the trilogy. Would be glad to discuss.

@M- Yeah, I'm tired of hearing this domestic violence argument too. Curiously, they are never interested in discussing the misuse of divorce laws that are blatantly in favour of men. It's only the misuse of laws that could impact some of them that evokes all this badhikapatta aangal sangam types. Thanks for the post on your blog :)

Srinivas said...

Doing now, GB!

amudhan said...

Just a while ago I read a blog from my friend about 'rape' ( and it was too much to swallow. To divert, read a tech blog of another friend and saw TheVisitor's comment there and through which I hit your blog. Here also it is slightly about the same topic.

I am left completely awestruck by this post. You are a genius. Rarely could I read such an amazing thought provoking blogs.

This post really haunted me. I believe in equality and respecting women. I also like the show HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother) and I like Barney's comedy (not that I feel what he does is correct, nor do I approve of his behavior). Shouldn't people who believe in equality and who respect women like this show?

BTW, your explanation for Pornography was too good.

Kookaburra said...

GB, finally I took the courage to write out what I had in mind after reading your blog. Its here:

I guess I had very strong opinions about rape before I had to listen to this secret and meet this man. Simple plain and straight I didnt know how to handle it when it was right there. You know whats funny - the word verification below this comment is "angst she" :)

Jasper said...

"Violence against women is an issue because women die because they are women."Today,nothing can guarantee your safety because you are a because women die because they are womenwoman." These lines can tell your empathy towards women.All men will think twice after reading these lines if they have female children.

Children should be morally educated at their age of 2 through stories till at the age of 5.After that, reading habits can be inculcated through good books with moral endings.
The society which does not respect women is not a civilized one.We all know about the ill treatment towards women in Afghanistan
The males who do not respect women and if they do not consider them as fellow human beings can be stamped as racists.
The male children should be taught to respect females even at their young age by their parents.
Parents should be role models for their children in moral values instead of giving so many advices at their teens.
Even at the age of 3+ ie at their schooling period ,mother should teach the girl child to protect her from sexual abuse slowly and can teach sex education at the age of 12 completely.Fathers can teach male children.They should teach the evils of bad habits including smoking,drinking and drugs.
The children should be aware of calf love also. They should be taught to choose their life partners after 21 and they should be taught to avoid premarital sex.
Parents should teach their children a proper sex education to avoid homosex, rape, masturbation and lesbianism also.Children should be aware of sexually transmitted diseases also.
In Tamil Nadu, boys ratio is more than girls ratio due to abortions of female children and female infanticide especially in "Dharmapuri" and "Usilampatti."
Women are harassed by their in laws to give birth to male child before their delivery and they emotionally suffer a lot during their pregnancy.
Unless males treat females equally in the society instead of seeing women to satisfy their sexual urges, all violences against women will happen.
In our days parents would worry about their girl's safety after she attained her puberty. But is this a case now?
Even if the females raise their status through their education, they will be character assassinated to degrade them . But parents should teach them to come out of all these illusions.
Children should raise their family status not through earnings alone but also through their character.
After all have been taught through religious views and moral values,children should be given freedom thinking that they come through us and do not belong to us.
Even if they face perils after our suggestions , we should treat them with pure parental love and compassion to get rid of their emotional calamities including if they fail in love also by giving proper guidance ,supervision and counselling without having any hatred feelings to any one.
If parents guidance is good, we can have future generation against all violences among women and men and women can stay under one roof without any violences on women at the cost friendly feelings towards each other and women can walk alone in mid nights also.
I don't know how far my comments will be useful to your topic. But I want to register all these feelings to have a future generation in a better placement.

Jasper said...

"Today, nothing can guarantee your safety if you are a woman." "Violence against women is an issue because women die because they are women."
In my previous comment some mistakes happened while typing these lines.
Safety for female children is a question mark nowadays even in their homes. They are sexually abused by the closed relatives it seems. Statistical views reveal this.
Parents or grand parents should be near and with the girls when outsiders come to their homes.
There should be friendly communication to reveal all good and bad things happen to the children should be narrated by them for the parents to guide them in a proper way.
Occasionally male children are also sexually abused by their closed relatives and proper communication with the parents will be helpful to avoid this.
I always sympathize about the prostitutes(and also their children who do not know their biological fathers ) which you have mentioned in your topic.
Their children will be psychologically affected and some social welfare organisations can take care of their children and also they can make them not to be in the environment and can give education with morals to uplift them.
I read from one article that prostitutes do not involve their hearts before sex in love making like giving kisses to the males before active intercourse since they consider the love making with kisses should be given only to the precious and not to these third rated fellows.
After reading those lines, my eyes shed tears .
So, I want our future generation to be satisfied with their life partner alone for emotional and sexual feelings and I want a generation without prostitutes also and all should get married through love marriages and to live happily forever.

GB said...

@Srini- Good!

@Amudhan- Thank you. Politically incorrect humor is often enjoyable but a character like Barney stops being funny when all he does is spout sexist ideas all day. There was a time when I used to find this funny though I knew it was not right. But now, maybe because I think about these things a lot more and I've studied it too, I just don't find it amusing. I'm really tired of the constant bombarding done in the media of what women are like and how they should be treated.

@Kookaburra- Read and commented.

@Jasper- While I agree with many of the things you've said, I most certainly do not agree with your view that homosexuality and rape should be equated. Also, there is nothing wrong with masturbation as any basic guide on sex education will tell you. In fact, sex education is meant to dispel such myths. Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon, neither is it 'unnatural'. It has always existed and it is not a perversion of civilization- it exists across species and is as natural as is heterosexuality.

Jasper said...

According to some religions, masturbation and homosexuality(including lesbianism) are prohibited since the people who indulge in those activities cannot enter heaven.
Leave it. Since you are a pantheist now.
Occasional masturbation for both genders O.K.But doing often is a kind of pervasion.
The victim will be very selfish without considering the partner in heterosexuality in foreplay before active sex.
The person interested in only same sex after marriage due to the force in their families will spoil the life of the partner.
I know some can have heterosexuality and homosexuality.
If a person is interested to have sex with same gender , I prefer him/her to choose one partner since the possibility of HIV spreading .
I left this kind of interest in same sex is purely personal unless he/she doesn't marry opposite sex to spoil the life of some one.
I am not equating rape and homosexuality. Since first one is violence without mutual consent.
But if a person with this interest can be treated well in home and society is a ?.
Even for a eunuch, the acceptance is a ? in home and society.
So, many confusions will come including reproduction since nature provides heterosexuality with a single person till the end.

Bharathi said...

@ GB: i differ with you in your view on homosexuality.

I still feel homosexuality is unnatural. we call every act that nature wants us to do as natural. nature wants us to have sex to keep this world evolve. I dont think nature gets anything out of homosexuality. But at the same time, I dont see being unnatural as a crime.

we do so many unnatural things in life. for the matter of fact, marriage is an unnatural event. When every (almost) men are naturally attracted towards women and viz, how can you call a setup that controls this as a natural act?

my point is that we dont have to call it as natural behaviour just to accept it. let it be unnatural and we still can accept it :) (untill it is not forced)

Jasper said...

I agree with you . I should accept all unnatural things.
Even in families some emotional feelings which are natural to us are unnatural to our spouse.
I don't judge homosexuality is a crime.
If 2 people indulge that also one from our home,shall we recognize their relationship as divine?
If the particular 2 are very stubborn in it , as far as my intellectual mind worry about them after all pre guidance could be given for our son/daughter, as per my emotional attachment will tell wherever you go, live happily adopting a child.
But can we force others to accept our family member?
No problem for me to accept any one against my thoughts and also I am a very kind person though I am straight forward and bold.
Shedding tears and giving compassion and love comes from my inner heart genuinely.All my soul mates know better than me.
But if the persons are from other families indulge in homosexuality? Will they be accepted?
2 women shared stories(one is my soul-mate and another one neighbor) how they suffered because of having masturbation habit of male before marriage in I case and homosexuality of male with different persons even in the first night avoiding her wife and she saw the victims.So, far no issues for them and both became old.
But for my soul-mate, I considered her as my own daughter and gave suggestions a lot and she had a boy child.
Even consuming alcohol too much by my father affected my mother's life, as the habit will increase impotence.
Though I won't ask any one, many in my life came and shared their stories and made me to forget my own problems and I'll pray for them as an atheist and used to give suggestions as far as I know.
Whatever may be, you could have understood what I wrote about all unnatural things and I pity for their partners alone whether they are males or females.

Jasper said...

My previous comment is not to GB but for my sweet friend Bharathi.

Jasper said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

i must say...the post deconstructs quite lot of things about being "women" and "womanhood"...the understanding of rape took me to think about why women are only raped
( with a general notion )...because they are women...thanks for such a liberating one...

GB said...

@Bharathi and Jasper: If Nature's only intention for sexuality was reproduction, then it would be sufficient for reproduction to occur by cell division alone. However, there are various forms of sexuality in Nature, including self-fertilization (like the dandelion). There are also life forms that can reproduce sexually as well as asexually (like the starfish). It is simplistic to assume that heterosexuality is the only form of sexuality in nature. If homosexuality was unnatural, then one should assume that it does not occur in nature. However, homosexual and bisexual behaviour across species- from primates to worms- has been observed in over 1500 species.

An unnatural act is either human-made or a freak deviation from the norm. An albino animal, for instance, is the result of a faulty gene. Albino animals occur rarely and they don't survive for long because they are unable to camouflage themselves from predators and prey. However, homosexuality in animals does not lead to such disadvantages and it continues to occur in considerable, though not the majority, numbers across centuries. It is not a malfunction or freak occurrence.

What is unnatural is the prudish Victorian English laws that we imported into the country that classified homosexuality as unnatural. Law, like marriage, is a human-made institution and it changes according to human perspectives at any given point in time- unlike homosexuality which has existed for several centuries in Nature.

About Jasper's point that gay men marry women- forced heterosexuality is the consequence of an attitude that considers homosexuality to be unnatural and abnormal. Given the social taboo that exists, it is not surprising that people belonging to sexual minorities give in to the pressure of parents/family/society that simply refuse(s) to understand their lives. I'm not saying this is correct, but it is very understandable.

I must also add that I've tried to argue and debate about LGBT issues with several people and have found that sometimes, people just don't want to be convinced. So I must politely direct you to the Internet that has reams of material on LGBT issues- blogs by LGBT people, scientific observations on homosexuality, historical documentation of homosexuality, homosexuality and the law and much much more. If you are genuinely interested, please devote some hours on research and be convinced if you choose to be.

Jasper said...

I'll go through your references when I'll be free. Even if it is unnatural for many,I should accept the fact that they are also human beings with all their passions.
Thanks for your immediate response and details you have given.

Bharathi said...

Dear GB,


After reading your comment, I have a slight doubt if you have misunderstood my stance. Let me clear that first.

1. I am not against LGBTs. I treat them just as like my other fellow beings.

2. I believe they have every right to be a part of this society.

3. I accept and recognize every act (not just homosexuals or anything) that doesn’t breach the freedom and trust of others irrespective of it being natural or unnatural.

4. But at the same time, I just don’t want to compromise on any facts.

Ok. After some self declaration, let’s come back to your comment.

I am not a science student but I did read a bit about human evolution out of my own interest.

In a book that I read on human evolution, I understood that human beings are the only species that do sex for pleasure. (it is still bit debatable in science but it doesn't affect my explanation)

If you look back billions of years, we all were in the form of a cell or gene. Their only objective was survival of their own species.

This very basic instinct developed brain, stomach, mind and whole body. I mean, the I is not the body or mind but just cell or gene as per science.

As the human race was not so powerful than many other species, nature provided us with 6th sense to enhance our survival. When we have sixth sense we tend to ask too many questions. So to keep the cells evolve, it has created pleasure in sex. Do you think we would have hit this much of population had we don’t have pleasure in sex?

If you have to check this point clearly, you need to understand a concept called IRM (innate releasing mechanism). If you check the sex related IRM in human beings, it will not support homosexuality. Probably homosexual instinct is a mistake by nature.

Nature tends to do lots of mistakes like creating handicapped friends. Our handicapped friends are not normal beings like us. But still we never hesitate to accept them. Similarly I believe our LGBT friends are not normal but I still very well accept them.

Regarding your point on homosexual men marrying women, that’s exactly my stance as well.

I am giving you few of the links below from my blog. This is not directly related to this topic but you can get my stance well. (And no, its not a trick to bring you to my blog :)

Regarding your opinion on people not getting convinced on this issue, I cant be one of them as I changed many of my views in past and never felt guilty for being so. I just call it as growth.

oophhh. this is the biggest comment I have ever written anywhere.

@ Jesper: Patha vachuttiae parattai!! (jus kidding)

Jasper said...

Nammakku oru vishyam puriyale, pidikkalena athu ulagathil illamal agidathu my dear brother & sweet friend through my son Kamal!
I gave a lot to improve our future generation.
But, GB asked me doubts to clarify my comments.
Surely I'll go through your references also.
In those days, even in women's hostel some gossips would be there about lesbians.
Ellathiyum moodi, moodi pesurathal niriya vishayangalil future generation en thurpothiya generation utpada pathikkap padak koodathu ena sila vishyangalai velip padaiyaga oru woman point of view il pesinalum homosexuality ena aangalai mattum kuri vaikkamal, lesbians topic iyum serthu ezhuthinen.
Yaravathu oruthar poonaikku mani katta vendume ena.
Since Kamal loves you and Nakshathira very much, I love your family including all your relatives.
Ithukku mela personal contact vendumenil Kamal moolam id, phone number vangalam.
Convey my sweet kisses to Nakshathira and my love to your wife and parents.
With unconditional love forever, Your sister, Jasper.

Jasper said...

To approve love marriages itself is a big issue in our culture by the parents, family and society. Parents and relatives in some places do prestige murders (Lovers).Parents do not agree them due to caste, religion ,status, ego,possessiveness and fear of losing dominance.
So,approving same sex attraction will be a big issue to our culture and "Hindu munnani amaippugal" did a big issue in releasing the lesbianism between two women in the picture "Fire" some 10 years back.
They even fight for celebrating "Valentine's day."
Any how this attraction towards same sex will be an attitude of a particular person and we cannot generalize this act.
I'll move to your next topic and write comments.Since we took a very sensational topic to discuss, I'll put an end to this topic.


thanks for this sensitive piece. are you also working (through workshops) to sensitize people?

sangeeta said...

Read this post with a quite mind ...and liked it so much. have never read Stieg larson but your take on the social aspect of his work has a lot of relevance . Porniea is something i never gave a thought to ... but yes , the kind of sexual connotations women get just by being a woman is so demeaning....

Very effective writing.Bang on.

Mama - Mia said...

LOVED LOVED LOVED it. i read the triology and honestly speaking i found it a tad lame at times as crime fiction.

but the way you have put it, yes absolutely agree! lisbeth salander does make such a strong statement.



Just Like That said...

Had never thought of the way a near naked male body was not treated as a sex object at waterfalls and such till I read your post. How true. "The idea that the female body is sexual everywhere while the male body is sexual only in context is imprinted in the heterosexual mind, be it male or female."
Ogling at a male body in public would still be made a fault of the women for not being modest et al. Aargh!
thank you for this very thought provoking post.

Smitha said...

Beautiful post! And so very relevant.

The reasons you cite are the exact reasons I loved Larsson's books.

Women's safety is never guaranteed, and more often than not, the victim is blamed for every atrocity that is heaped on her.

Loved, loved your post.

Sue said...

You know, I loved the trilogy for much the same reason: I fell wholly and vehemently in love with Salander. Have you seen the Swedish movies? All three of them feel like tableaux of scenes from the books (so much has been edited) but I think they have been well characterised. Noomi Rapace makes an awesome Salander.

Indian Home Maker said...

Congratulations :) This post in one of the winners of 'Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards - 2011' (TRBA 2011). We would like to create an ebook with all the winning entries in 47 categories on Feminism and Gender Issues in India (and one category on Animals Rights). Please do let us know if you are fine with your winning post/s being included in this ebook. ( Please click here to let us know).

Sam said...

A very powerful post indeed.
But I do watch "How I met your mother" but realize that Barney's shallow relationships and jokes might give wrong moral values - I take it for the moment.
It is disgusting when men start removing clothes and enjoying water. And even if women are covered head to toe, you are made to feel naked - irrespective of whether you are drenched or not in everyday life.

KayEm said...

Feeling exposed and self conscious in wet clothes happens to both sexes in India, although much less to men. I rather liked the modesty, that is, till I read your post. Some men couch their hostility towards women or their hidden agenda of "keeping women in their place" or "keeping the benefits in their own camp" through such traditions. But not all men. Some are women's friends.

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