Friday 25 June 2021

4 Must-Read Books on Feminism


Reading books on Feminism can help us understand feminism as a movement and how it had evolved through the centuries. Feminism is based on two premises:

(I)Gender difference is the foundation of structural inequality between men and women due to which women suffer social injustice.

(II)The inequality between the sexes is not because of biological necessity but it is produced by the cultural construction of gender differences.

Feminism demands equality between men and women. Here are the 4 must-read books that will help you understand feminism:

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

It was published on 1929. Woolf was invited to give a lecture on the topic of Women and Fiction in a college for women. She reached the conclusion that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf observed that women colleges were under-funded and women were not given nutritious food. This is completely opposite to that of men’s colleges.

She wonders if Shakespeare had a talented sister, what the chances of her exploring her talent in patriarchal Elizabethan age were. She points out that a woman writer lives under constant pressure from patriarchy which often pushes women writers, (their novels & characters) to the point of insanity. In the end, Woolf tells women that they should work toward having five hundred pounds a year and a room of their own in which to write to produce works of genius.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Published in 1949, this essay talks about how women have been treated throughout history. Women are defined in relation to men; not the other way about. This results in inequality.

Men go out into the world to impose their will on it, whereas women are doomed to inwardness. He creates, acts, invents; she waits for him to save her. Beauvoir researches how women got this inferior status in society. Although she finds plenty of examples of female subordination in history, she cannot find any justification for it.

She says that women are not born “feminine” but shaped by a thousand external processes. She shows how, at each stage of her upbringing, a girl is conditioned into accepting passivity, dependence, repetition, and inwardness. In the end, she gives a solution on how women canget rid of ‘the second sex’ status in society.

We Should all be Feminists by  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Published in 2014 and based on the famous Tedx talk of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this book is a must read.

The personal, eloquently argued essay offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century, one that is rooted in inclusion and awareness. The author draws extensively from her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics.

She states: ‘I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…’

A very powerful and relevant book on feminism that is only 64 pages long.

Seeing Like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon

Published in 2012, Seeing Like a Feminist talks about a wide range of things. The author states that feminism is not about a single moment of final triumph over patriarchy but about the gradual transformation of society.

She talks about sexual harassment charges against international figures, challenges that caste politics poses to feminism, feminist dilemmas regarding surrogacy, the ban on the veil in France, the attempt to impose skirts on international women badminton players and several other topics. This book will help you understand how to look at the various issues of the world as a feminist and how it can make a difference.

Having a better understanding and knowledge of feminism can help us fight patriarchy better. So, do check out these amazing books and have an enriching read. 

"This post is part of Blogchatter's CauseAChatter"

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’ 

Sunday 30 May 2021

Why do so many Women refuse to call themselves Feminists?


While researching for this article, I learned that less than 1 out of 5 women like to call themselves ‘feminists' in the USA. I have often seen my closest friends and acquaintances shy away from calling themselves a feminist. When I ask them if they support the equality of men and women, they reply in the affirmative but they do not want to be labeled as feminists.

The Cambridge dictionary meaning of ‘feminism’ is the belief that women should be allowed the same rightspower, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way.

Then why do so many women refuse to call themselves feminists? The nagging question in my mind made me find out all the probable reasons why most women support equality and yet stay away from the term ‘feminism’. Let’s take a look at all the reasons:

1.     Wrong or Inadequate knowledge


Some women believe that feminism is all about hating men. Wrong or inadequate knowledge is one of the reasons women refuse to call themselves feminists. They think that feminism is only restricted to women which is not the case. Feminism is not against men. It is against inequality and against patriarchy. Every woman should read about the movement called ‘feminism’ and educate herself before taking a decision.


2.     ‘Feminism’ is confused with ‘Feminazi’


Feminism is about the equality of men and women. Feminazi is about the superiority of women. A feminazi can be violent towards men. They blame men for everything and also blame women who disagree with their ideals. Feminism has nothing to do with Feminazi. Often women get confused and think ‘feminazi’ to be ‘feminism’ and therefore, they do not want to call themselves feminists.


3.     Internalizing patriarchy


Some women have internalized patriarchy so deeply that the concept of equality of men and women seems ridiculous to them. Simone de Beauvoir in her book ‘TheSecond Sex’ explained it beautifully why sometimes women trade freedom for security and are comfortable being the second sex.


4.     Competitiveness among women


The first rule of feminism is women should help and empower other women. Simone de Beauvoir has talked about the importance of gender loyalty in order to dismantle patriarchy. Some women simply cannot tolerate the success of other women. There is so much jealousy and competitiveness. They would rather celebrate the success of a man than someone who belongs to the same gender. 


5.     Feminist is often confused with ‘careerist’


Many women feel that in order to be feminists, they have to be career women. They think that stay-at-home mothers and homemakers cannot be feminists. This is not true at all. Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights. Anyone supporting that belief is a feminist. It is not limited to working women.


6.     Stereotypes associated with ‘Feminist’


Sadly, feminists are labeled with a lot of stereotypes by the patriarchal society. Feminists are often thought of as spinsters, men-hating women, lesbians, women lacking femininity, women not wearing makeup and shaving legs and so much more. These stereotypes often repel many women from calling themselves, feminists.

So, these are the reasons why so many women refuse to call themselves feminists. I hope awareness of these reasons helps women change their minds and make them embrace the term ‘feminist’ without any shame or guilt. 

"This post is part of Blogchatter's CauseAChatter"

Friday 30 April 2021

Zen and Solitude (Magic and Alchemy)


You do not have to
embark on a pilgrimage
to attain self-realization
when the one you are
searching is sitting within you.
Make Zen, your lifestyle
solitude, your ally
faith, your armor
discipline, your mantra
scriptures, your catalyst;
Now embark on the 
magical journey within 
Keep going till 
you have the epiphany~
The Creator is in the Creation
The Creator is in you as
well as in every other Creation of his
You are one with the Universe
There is no you and I
All the rivers, no matter how different
merge with the same Ocean;
We all have come from the same Source
and will merge there at the end of time.

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z


Thursday 29 April 2021

Your Breath on My Neck (Magic and Alchemy)


It's been long
Yet I still remember
your breath on my neck,
erupting constellation of
stars on my body;
your lips close to my ears
kissing my name
enveloped in 
whispers and sighs, 
making me feel I am 
your entire galaxy. 
Yes, it's been long
we are light years away
but a love like that
is like counting stars
on the sky every night
without ever getting tired. 

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

6 Quotes and Takeaways from The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir


'The Second Sex' by Simone de Beauvoir was published in 1949 after the second world war ended. It was the starting point of second-wave feminism.

The essay explores the way in which women have been treated throughout history and how gender conditioning governs the life of a woman. 

I recently studied this essay and felt that the points discussed in the essay are so much relevant even today.

Here are 6 quotes and takeaways from the revolutionary essay "The Second Sex":

1. “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

Simone de Beauvoir states that women are not born 'feminine' but are shaped that way by a thousand external processes. At each stage of her upbringing, a girl is conditioned into being docile, soft-spoken, dependent, and passive. Society tries to flatten the girl into an object so that she can accept the life of housework and childbearing without ever protesting. The girl will think that to be her very duty, the reason she is born.

2. ..her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.”

Simone de Beauvoir says that the situation of a woman is not a result of her character. If we find a woman who rarely has any material accomplishments, is labeled as lazy, mediocre, and complacent, it simply means that these are the consequences of the way she has been brainwashed by society. Her wings were cut during her growing up years and now she is criticized for not knowing how to fly. 

3. “Women's mutual understanding comes from the fact that they identify themselves with each other, but for the same reason each is against the others.”

Simone de Beauvoir beautifully said that women need to develop gender loyalty in order to dismantle patriarchy. One of the reasons why women's movements lose power is because women do not have great gender loyalties. The biggest proof is how society pits the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law against each other. Women need to recognize these patterns and develop gender loyalty because united we stand, divided we fall.

4. “That the child is the supreme aim of woman is a statement having precisely the value of an advertising slogan.”

Simone de Beauvoir stated that throughout history, maternity has been both worshipped and criticized - the mother both brings life and brings death. The woman is transformed into a symbol of 'life' and in that process, she is robbed of all individuality. It is expected that women are born to give birth, raise children and forget their own individuality to become great mothers. 

5. “And without a doubt it is more comfortable to endure blind bondage than to work for one's liberation; the dead, too, are better suited to the earth than the living.”

Simone de Beauvoir stated that at times, women support their own dependency and accept their second-class status without challenging it. Years of gender conditioning play a major role in it. Some women trade their freedom for security. Some women chose comfort over conquering. Only in work can a woman achieve autonomy and can support herself. But years of gender conditioning pushes many women to accept a life of bondage than fight for liberation. 

6. “Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

Simone de Beauvoir said that the difficulty of sacrificing security and comfort for some 'notion' of equality persuades many women to accept the unfulfilling roles in life. And she has beautifully described those roles by comparing them to the myth of Sisyphus. 

"The Second Sex" is a magnificent work in feminism that helps us understand how women have been treated in society for centuries, how women are conditioned, why women make different choices, and how not having great gender loyalty has prevented women from dismantling the patriarchy. 

"This post is part of Blogchatter's CauseAChatter"

Wednesday 28 April 2021

eXtraordinary fall and rise (Magic and Alchemy)


The garden wears the 
color and ornaments of spring
The sky- a burst of vibrant colors
Messages of ardor concealed
in the pattern of clouds;
The world looks like Arcadia
Everything becomes extraordinary
when there is an explosion of
rainbow within the beating heart;
Feelings that are stars 
form a grand constellation
We realize how deep we have 
fallen in the ocean of love
let the ego burn into ashes
and risen like a phoenix
in the sky of spirituality. 

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Wings (Magic and Alchemy)


My father had gifted me
a pair of magical wings~
Wings Of courage 
and determination
when he saw me dreaming
with open eyes for the first time.
I fastened those wings
with the glue of faith
ready to take my first flight
like the Greek craftsman, 
Deaedalus and his son, Icarus. 

My father told me to fly away
from every thing that
chained me  
caged me 
pulled me down
made me doubt myself
stopped me from
reaching my dreams~
rules of society
judgmental relatives
comfort of the known
fear of the unknown
habit of the routine.
"Yes! Fly as high as possible
Do not fear to be Icarus" he said,
"Your wings are glued 
by faith, not wax
Sun cannot melt them 
Storms cannot touch them."

The poem is inspired from the Greek mythological story of Daedalus and Icarus. You can check it out here

The poem is dedicated to my wonderful father. It is his birthday today! Happy Birthday Papa. All that I am is because of you! I love you the most. 

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

Monday 26 April 2021

Valley of Nostalgia (Magic and Alchemy)


I find my way back again
to the alluring valley of nostalgia
Lit by fireflies of memories
Keepsakes sprouting like daffodils
The petrichor, night-jasmine
and other familiar aromas
inviting me in;
I hear the voice of loved ones
favorite childhood songs and jingles 
combined to form a delectable melody.

The valley of nostalgia
A bewitching, magnificent place
Present fades away
Unreal becomes real
Realm of magic realism.
I lay down on the valley
taking in all the beauty 
until the sun shines brightly,
jolting me out of my reverie.
The valley of nostalgia
is a magical place to be
but I have dreams to fulfill
songs to sing
stories to write
years to live. 

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

Saturday 24 April 2021

Unspoken, Unsent, Unfinished (Magic and Alchemy)


If only we could hear
the unspoken words,
swallowed just before they
could escape the trembling lips...

If only we could read
the unsent messages and letters
languishing in the draft folder
or crumpled up in a dusty corner...

We could dot the i's 
Cross the 't's
Prevent many stories
from staying unfinished
Prevent many connections
from fading into oblivion.

Alas! The white pages 
have long turned yellow
Yet the ship could not
reach its shore.

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

Friday 23 April 2021

The Trees and their Hymn ( Magic and Alchemy)


The trees and their hymn
teaches me the art of living;
How gracefully they 
shed their leaves in autumn
and wear new ones in spring;
Watching them, I learn
to cast off old beliefs, 
unlearn old habits
let go of toxic energy
and put on new ones~
clean energy
beliefs that uplift
habits that serve.
The trees and their hymn
teach me to sing songs 
of autumn and spring;
Revel in the gifts that
each season of life brings. 

Purba Chakraborty


 I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z