The Difference Between Sexism and The Patriarchy

Sexism is pervasive in all cultures, and it disproportionately affects women more than men.  Sexism can range from trite comments to fully fledged misogynistic diatribes that hinder women’s progress in society as they perpetrate an outrageous idea of what it means to be a woman.  Likewise, several advertisement campaigns and magazine articles diffuse inherently sexist ideas about women, that also contribute in crafting an apocryphal image of femininity and womanhood.  Whilst all that is alarming and doesn’t seem like it’s gonna ebb out in the near future, it still isn’t anywhere near close to the evil of The Patriarchy.

Whilst it’s mostly men who are responsible for disseminating sexist comments and ideas, The Patriarchy consists of both men and women who see it as an ideology, more than anything.  It becomes a way of life as both men and women are expected to abide by its rules and tenets.  The Patriarchy reminds me of Airstrip One in Orwell’s magnum opus 1984.  It has eyes everywhere and one perceived misjudgment can land you in big trouble, except that instead of political persecution, you’re subjected to social alienation.  The Patriarchy demands that you forego all pretensions of happiness and freedom, and adopt a lifestyle that aligns with its values.  In so doing, a woman loses her identity and is defined by her gender only.  The Patriarchy doesn’t see women as individuals, but as an appendage to men.  Women should always be in thrall to the men in their lives, otherwise, they’re defective in the eyes of the Patriarchy.

The Patriarchy seeks to stifle female pleasure, more than anything.  It forces women to second guess their very identity and imposes a uniform idea of what a woman should be like.  Women who don’t conform become pariahs, renegades for whom there’s no salvation.  You see, you’re not allowed to have an inner voice when you live in the Patriarchy.  You’re not allowed to be different, to be petulant and impetuous-only men are allowed the freedom to express themselves and to be whoever they want to be.

The Patriarchy insists on persecuting women for moral crimes that men are allowed to commit.  Women are encumbered by the odious demands of chastity and sexual purity.  Should they buck this extravagant demand, they will be chastised for daring to opine.  Women aren’t allowed to have opinions, because you know, they bleed every month so their opinions are automatically rendered invalid.  But then it gets a little bit drearier.

Imagine that you’re a woman living under those conditions and you do your best to respect every single tacit demand.  You are the model daughter, the model wife and the model mother.  You devote your life to the domestic bliss of your family and you never aspire to anything beyond that.  Being a sexually liberated individual is something you might confine to your nightly fantasies and having your own take on things, might attract some undeserved attention.  The Patriarchy vandalizes your free spirit and restricts your interaction with the world around you but hey, at least you’re safe.  For now.

But the thing is, The Patriarchy is very much the product of specific cultures and religions.  They’re all interrelated and enmeshed in the same toxic, backward thought processes. They’re anti-intellectual and anti human-rights.  Autocratic systems that demand you surrender your free spirit lest you become socially isolated, do not care for your humanity, nor do they allow for one’s intellectual growth.  A society that routinely blames women for men’s actions, is inimical to women’s sense of self.  Women are dehumanized and judged not on the content of their character, but on how compliant they are with the Patriarchy’s rules.

It’s a state of chaos and inertia, a space where nothing good can grow because women are the very lifeblood of society.  Those who’ve been indoctrinated will inculcate the same toxic ideas in their children and their children will do the same, until the very idea that one day men and women can co-exist on equal grounds, will become obsolete.  And this is not a fer-fetched depiction of reality, ask any of those women who live in culturally archaic societies and they will vouch for that.  There’s no glimmer of hope, no help from the outside, The Patriarchy is guarded by impenetrable walls.

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Millennial Feminists Are Something Else…

I infiltrated the ‘Babe’ group on Facebook because I was curious to see how those who support the website that brought down Aziz Ansari, felt about feminism.  The website is run by a bunch of 20 something millennials who take umbrage at everything a man would ever do.  As someone who used to infiltrate the manosphere for the same purpose-that is, to observe the cultural shift in gender related discussions- I’m loath to say that millennial feminists pander to feminism just to vent about their gender related grievances.  And by that I mean, bitch about every bad date, every bad experience they’ve had with a man.

The first post that really hit me was a girl talking about how ‘weird’ guys would message her on Tinder.  Because you know, you shouldn’t message someone on a dating app.  Ever.  There were a slew of misandrist comments from women who felt like men should never approach them and I was thinking to myself, ‘wait a second, what do these girls want?’  If no man should be allowed to approach a woman, that would be the death of the dating scene.  Women rarely take initiative and the women who would post in this group contradict themselves post after post, sometimes to the extent of ‘begging’ for male attention.

This group of girls claim to be feminists, hardcore feminists at that.  They want to change the culture.  They are ’empowered’.  But those are just glib words that they throw around to profit off the fulcrum of modern feminism, a movement that’s as noble as any human rights movement.  I was taken aback as I started scrolling through the posts, every one of them from a millennial girl who has guy problems, every one of them from a girl who either got snubbed by a guy or whose man thinks she’s crazy, because he gets it, she’s crazy.  It beggars belief that this group of women, who obviously crave male attention more than anything in the world-because that’s what they always talk about-should ever call themselves feminists.  Because feminists they are not, they are just as misguided as Grace, the girl who thought Aziz Ansari could read her mind.

I’m a millennial woman myself and to see how entitled most millennial women are, is pretty appalling.  The movement will go adrift, and like many people have foreshadowed this sad truth, feminism will become a man-hating movement.  Sure, if a man does something horrible that actually warrants criticism, I’m all for it, we’re after all trying to redefine culture in a way that’s healthy for both genders.  But to go around labeling every trivial incident as an aggression against women, is preposterous.  It goes beyond that; most of them don’t see men as human beings.  They’ve mythologized the idea of a man; a man should be well versed in their physical and mental cues, a man should never object to a crazy demand, a man shouldn’t be allowed to make his own choices.  I could go on.  This group of women are as bad as the manosphere.  There’s no opportunity for common ground because their tenets inherently presuppose that men and women aren’t identical beings, but groups with diametrically opposed agendas.

I used to laugh at people who’d equate feminism with man-hating because I thought it was such a vapid categorization, a haughty accusation from those too comfortable to deal with real life injustices related to women.  But I’m slowly beginning to see their prescient judgment coming to light, because it is true.  Millennial women never had to contend with gender-related injustices, second-wave feminists made sure to end that.  But they have to contend with something far more unnerving, their sense of entitlement when it comes to the men in their lives.  And that’s scary, because a whole bunch of men will be attacked and denigrated on the public scene, just like Ansari, because they happened to misread a young entitled millennial princess.

People who perpetually see themselves as victims, no matter the severity of the incident, shouldn’t be allowed to become the cultural dictators of our era.  And certainly not appropriate a word that does nothing to describe what they really are, because feminists find strength and resilience in their struggles and those two things are as alien to them as the notion that men and women can actually co-exist.

 

A Guide To Dating In Mauritius For Women

We don’t talk about it very often because our culture didn’t evolve to include open dialogue between the sexes and honest discourse on relationships, as a whole.  When was the last time you heard someone holding forth on the aspects of healthy relationships and a healthy sex life?  Sure, we have extensive reading material about those things in our rags but they are glib and superficial.  They’re presented as shock pieces to titillate our curiosity and nothing else.  But in the media and everywhere else, our prudish attitude toward sex prevents us from engaging in insightful and thoughtful conversations that would help us mitigate certain bad consequences that emerge from bad relationships.  And those consequences impact women on a larger scale.

As part of the New Year celebrations, a radio show focused on things that marked us in the past year.  Among the topics that were being expounded, crimes of passion raised the alarm; we have a very unhealthy idea of relationships.  The new year began with another crime of passion making headlines; a jilted husband had shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.  Another child will be growing up without a family, due to our collective apathy on what is destroying our society from within.  Here are some useful guidelines for dating here, in Mauritius.

1. The misogynistic ones wear their misogyny as a badge of honor-learn to identify the signs

These guys are loud and very passionate about their disdain for women.  When people tell you who they are, believe them.  Those guys always jump at the opportunity to deride women or lecture women on how they ought to behave.  So it goes without saying, they’re quite fond of the traditional gender roles, where they will have the upper-hand, almost all the time.

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Why can’t every man be Don Draper?

Needless to say, your relationship will revolve around his needs, his views and his sexual appetite.  He’s the king and you’re merely the dinner.  Unfortunately, men of the aforementioned creed, make up a huge chunk of the population so you need to learn how to spot them and how to casually avoid them.

 2. Avoid male prudes like the plague

As a 21st century woman, it is quite offensive to imply that women shouldn’t enjoy sex.  It’s biology, it’s science, it’s the core of human existence.  But Mauritius is still quite a dogmatic society where people expect you to abide by the tenets of their religion, as if you’re not allowed to have your own version of tenets to abide by.  As a result, sex is viewed under a very repressive light, that you’re supposed to indulge in it when you’re married and that’s it.  There’s no sexual education for kids in college and teen pregnancy is quite a big problem here, due to this inane misconception about something so natural.

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Tada.

There are many guys here who’ve been raised to think that only they ought to enjoy sex.  It’s very common in oppressive cultures to have men who walk around believing they’re Rocco Siffredi and looking down on women who want a piece of the cake.  Those men are not going to be fun to be with, especially if you’re the kind of woman who’s self confident enough and has a healthy self-esteem.

3. Observe their social circle

Men who cannot be friends with women are almost always sexualizing the opposite gender.  Of course, attraction is normal but a person who cannot overcome physical attraction and maintain platonic relationships with people, is the definition of a red flag.  In Mauritius, many activities are limited to men, and they take great pride in partaking in those activities with their male friends.

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This female computer engineer has no female friends, which is OKAY.

Often, in patriarchal societies like ours, women who mingle with men are harshly excoriated so watch out if your guy has no female friends.  It means that he probably sees women as a dating accessory only.

4. When he overtly criticizes women’s rights movement, he’s telling you he doesn’t think much of women

When someone feels the need to tell you that views on gender shouldn’t evolve and specifically targets your gender as being inferior and not eligible for equal treatment, you have to understand that you will never be equal in their eyes.  There is no worse outcome in a relationship, which ought to be fun and spontaneous.  People who are opposed to your own progress and to the progress of women’s rights in general, are not going to vouch for your well-being.

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Thankfully, he’s not into women.  If he were, he wouldn’t be getting any.

 

It is 2018, the times have changed.  The #MeToo movement has finally sounded the death knell on abuse in many countries, female leaders are more vocal than ever and society is finally making amends for the inequalities of the past in developed countries.  It is time to eradicate these anachronistic attitudes toward women and relationships in Mauritius and level the playing field.

 

Why I’m A Feminist In Mauritius

I’d ask myself the question, going over the possible reasons about whether I should adopt the label or not, encumbered by the various reactions (euphemism for insults) that would naturally ensue.  I do not understand how a very straight-forward concept has been warped by so many of its detractors, to the extent that sometimes the negative outweighs the positive.  And I’m somewhat in between of that spectrum, I understand that everything is nuanced in life, but do those who are more than eager to throw a whole movement under the bus, understand that very nuance?  I’m afraid not.  Why else, would one clamor for a revisionist stance on women’s rights?

I was born on the Paradise Island, I grew up here, I’m more than ”well-acquainted” with the culture, I’m a product of it.  And I despise it-the culture.  I was born a woman, and there lies my only crime.  So my life should be a whitewashed version of what it ought to be, similar to that of a reprobate who’s serving a life sentence.  I cannot be anything but a woman and by that I mean, their definition of a woman.  Their nurturing, feminine, grossly sexualized, timorous, servile counterpart.  If I cannot be those things, then tada-here comes a barrage of unwarranted, unfounded criticism.  Behold the blitzkrieg!

Let’s keep it real, multiculturalism rhymes with tolerance of the intolerant (okay it doesn’t, but you get the jibe).  Somehow, it’s acceptable in 2018 to expect women to abide by rules set in the dark ages.  Sure, those rules aren’t engraved on a mound in Port-Louis nor are they evinced religiously in the media; those are our mores, our norms.  And you might be asking yourself- Aren’t you just reaching?  Which is pretty normal, because those in a privileged position aren’t going to just open their minds all of a sudden, we are after all a deeply flawed species.  But no, I’m not reaching.  I’ve experienced this society from within-a society that gangs up on females for the crime of bodily autonomy, a society that expects mothers to be slaves to their families, a society that tells women they shouldn’t enjoy sex.  A society that turns a blind eye to domestic violence and abuse and then ponders-What is wrong with us?  Well, everything.

I have to google the definition of the word ‘Paradise’ because in our case, it’s such a misnomer.  Let’s just say it’s a paradise for those who wanna escape to luxury hotels whose walls guard them well from the perils of this deeply primitive society.  And what fuels that aversion, that deep vituperation, is the fact that women still don’t have access to reproductive rights.  It’s 2018 and religious crackpots are still dominating public opinion.  And I know, many people ( I mean it, many) don’t give a fuck about our ordeals as women, because they’re not attuned to the concept of empathy or extending their understanding to those they’ve marginalized and dehumanized their whole lives, but do try.  It will help you become a better person (if you want to).

What about those Soviet-era grannies warming the benches in the Parliament?  As women, we ought to recognize that, not every woman is a feminist.  These female MPs-cum-crooks have done nothing for the female cause, here in Mauritius.  Zilch.  Nada.  And what should they have done, you might ask?  Well use their fucking ostentatious degrees and positions to accomplish something…anything.  I don’t care how many females have been chosen for positions within the government, I don’t care about the copacetic lip service, what I care about is action and by action I mean, solid, undisputed action to address inequalities that hamper women’s pursuit of happiness here in Mauritius.

The Worst Thing About Patriarchal Societies Is That Women Aren’t Allowed To Have Fun

I cannot think of a worse outcome for the other half of humanity- the ones who give birth, the ones who dedicate their lives to nurturing and protecting other human beings.  Somehow, along the way, it was decided that theirs ought to be a morose destiny.  They cannot be allowed to thrive, they are certainly confined to the realm of political correctness more than any other group and the sheer fact that their individuality is often put to the test just corroborates my claim-women aren’t supposed to have fun.  Our happiness isn’t a paragon of our journey in life, well at least not in openly patriarchal countries.

Unlike men, who are allowed to be as crass as they want to be, as depraved as they choose to be and as free-spirited as they demand to be, women cannot choose to embody values that are inimical to patriarchal values.  Whence did this double standard come from?  Well I cannot say, but it might be biblical or Hindu or Muslim in nature, but it certainly stems from the infancy of our combined human intelligence.  Just as much as some of us abhor the notion that religious leaders try to suck us into their mental vacuum, women must stay away from these thought control systems that have been the source of their modern scourges.

The most obvious reason why sexism impedes our pursuit of happiness is that we, as women, are seen as the other sex.  The lascivious sex.  The Manic Pixie Dream Girl.  The Mia Khalifa.  Well you get the mental image.  We cannot present ourselves the way we want to because certain people (most people) have already decided our identity for us.  It doesn’t matter how smart or driven you are, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, as long as you have that thing in your nether regions (a cool thing I might add), you’re already encumbered by these atrocious subconscious demands.

How do we change that?  The sad thing is, it’s going to take a while.  Maybe more than a while because our liberation is only going to be possible insofar as religion has lost its grip on humanity.  Meaning that, as long as people cannot think for themselves, cannot empathize with those who are different from them, well, we’re still going to have to fight for a chance to exist.  Because, sadly, it’s all about our own existence, we’re denied an autonomous existence, we’re robbed of it because of our sexuality.  And that doesn’t mean that we have to gear our sexuality a certain way to hightail to equality.  It just means that, as long as certain people cannot see past the curvature of our bodies, we’re doomed to a passive existence.

Women’s Rights And Gender Inequality In Mauritius

Inequality, as a broad term that covers several areas, has stymied progress in Mauritius for a long time now.  What we need to do to liberalize our society, as well as our economy, is to push for forward-looking policies that have the advantage of steering the country in the right direction.

Inequality in our society doesn’t impact everyone in the same way; the distinction needs to be made.  Mauritius, being a highly patriarchal society, has failed to enter a progressive phase that would’ve liberalized society for women, not just in terms of mores and norms, but economic parity as well.  In terms of economic parity, several studies have shown that the gender-pay gap is salient throughout all sectors of our society, which can be attributed to the fact that women in general, aren’t present in the top hierarchies of companies, despite excelling in academic settings.

As well as not possessing economic clout, women are highly disadvantaged when it comes to exercising their own freedom.  The archaic laws that govern our country have made it illegal for women to have reproductive rights, which basically reduces them to brood mares for the state.  And as a corollary to that, just recently the Ministry Of Health was exhorting people to procreate more as the birth rates are ostensibly plummeting.  In light of the various economic and social inequalities stalling our progress, it wouldn’t be unwise to think twice before procreating.

The abortion issue is rarely ever broached into the mainstream conversation because we have a nation of fully-fledged bigots who cannot fathom differing viewpoints.  So much so that you have to remodel your life to meet their expectations, and that too is framed into our laws.  It is quite alarming that in this day and age, women haven’t yet seized the baton of resistance to clamor for their own basic human rights.  This reality is appallingly obvious in the way that women are treated by law officials; several domestic abuse victims are advised to bury the hatchet with their assailants because the rupture of the nuclear family is more worrisome to authorities than the dehumanization of women.

All these issues stem from the very fact that in this society, we rarely ever extrapolate on policies that would really benefit the core of the nation but instead the benign skirmishes among politicians make the national headlines almost everyday.  This languor when it comes to progressive values we ought to espouse, will slow us down further on the evolutionary ladder.

Societies that fail to address their lofty inequalities aren’t conducive to widespread growth.