Category Archives: Feminism

Red Herring

 

PHOTO PTOMPT © Lucy Fridkin

 

“Stay with the school for your own safety”, Martha had warned.

“Martha’s a coward”, I had talked behind her back.  Today I’m dying for that one sin…two if you count trusting that Orange-faced clown as a sin.

He seemed innocuous from a distance – a prankster.

“Want to smell my breath? It’s the freshest in the whole wide sea. There is no breath that is freshest than mine. Come closer and you can see for yourself.  My fins may be small but my breath is amazingly fresh. Everyone likes it bigly”, he had said.

The rest is unfortunately history.

–end–

Note: Orange-faced clown is probably not going to be happy with me using this picture showing his double-chin 🙂

Stay together Herrings and maybe we can live through this !

PHOTO PROMPT © Lucy Fridkin

Image result for clown fish

Above image maybe copyrighted to Reef builders Inc.

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Of tongues and barbs

PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

“ha ha . In your house ‘Shakti’ is dominant eh!?  The lady wears the pant eh! In my house ‘Shiva’ is  dominant! “, our male guest puffed up his chest.

My husband turned beet-red. The ‘pin-drop’ silence that followed –  a loud presence in my life.

That day I discovered a sub-species of the human male ,with dominant ‘obnoxious moron’ genes, who get emasculated whenever a woman displays intelligence. And another sub-species of intelligent-human-males who care about what such moron-sub-species-males thinks about them.

“If you love me… don’t say anything intelligent in front of guests”, my husband begged.

So I write.

— end—

Note:  I try  not to talk more intelligently than such moron-sub-species-male whenever I encounter them but it’s such a challenge that I give up after a while. I’m not being vain …it doesn’t take much to be more intelligent than such folks 🙂

Shakti – Feminine energy; Shiva – Masculine energy

This 99 word piece based on true life events was written for the 100 word photo challenge. More details about this challenge can be found at:  https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/22-april-2016/

PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

Click on the Froggy below for other amazing takes on the same prompt by fellow “Friday Fictioneers.”

Precious trash

PHOTO PROMPT - © Emmy L Gant

He had shoved her in the dungeon and locked her up in a cage.

Outside he had stationed two burly guards with strict orders to be vigilant.

He came back two days later expecting to see her spirit broken.

“You are a useless piece of trash”, he spits at her still insolent gaze.

She knew she had to cower, feign hurt, slink around the cell apologetic for every breath, if she wanted to be free.

  “How can I feel like trash when I’m guarded like a precious gem”, she chuckled ,choosing true freedom.

—end —

This less than 100 word story was written for the 100 word photo challenge. More details about this challenge can be found at : https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/11-march-2016/

PHOTO PROMPT – © Emmy L Gant

Click on the Froggy below for other amazing takes on the same prompt by fellow “Friday Fictioneers.”

 

What if?

 

Kitchen Window

What will happen if that cloud,

shaped like that woman there ,never speaking loud,

decides to just take it -all the pain?…

decides to never lash back on a windowpane?

 

What will happen if that cloud,

shaped like that woman there, well-endowed,

decides to turn into a nest for birds?..

decides to turn into a pup, whose gender is a curse word?

 

What will happen if that cloud,

shaped like that woman there ,head bowed,

decides to forgo all it’s power?…

decides to hold on to it’s laden darkness forever?

 

— end —

Author’s note: Sometimes when I stand over the kitchen sink for the millionth time, I wonder about ,” what will happen if the clouds….”

Other times I wonder:

What will happen if I

decide to not do the dishes?  🙂

The definition of well-endowed in this context is: having a lot of something that people admire or want like intelligence.

This less than 100 word poem  was written in response to a 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields each week. PHOTO PROMPT ©  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

 

Honorable disrespect

A wife is calling a husband to dinner . Below are three general types of interactions that can happen : 1- positive, 2- neutral, 3- negative

Type1 : Positive

wife: Dinner is ready , dear

husband: I will be there in 5 minutes sweetheart.

type 2: Neutral

wife: Dinner is ready

husband: I will be there in 5 minutes.

type 3: Negative / shows inequality of gender

wife: Dinner is ready oh-human-deserving-of-respect

husband: I will be there in 5 minutes female-who-is-inferior-to-me

That last one is quite a mouthful…Isn’t it? But it won’t be if you talk Tamil.

Tamil – or rather KondunTamil as the version in use is appropriately called – is a language that makes showing gender and other social inequality in everyday conversations a breeze. Tamil uses Honorific suffixes of all kinds- some showing respect and some showing disrespect. (More about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_honorifics)

This language reflects the culture of a society that promotes overt display of social hierarchy, in social and interpersonal relationships, where in every interaction the power balance between the two parties conversing is expected to be shown. This language is the vehicle societies ride on to propagate inequality in age,gender,socio-economic status, power and caste.

Are honorific suffixes bad? Not necessarily. Suffixes that allow the show of mutual respect , love and intimacy is  a good thing. But using suffixes to show disrespect  is in my opinion undesirable.

Moreover, this honorific suffix usage promotes gender inequality in a marriage , validates male privilege and propagates the “culture of abuse“. Which is obviously my main area of focus in this article.

It is to be noted that not all humans who speak this Tamil language avail themselves to the ‘privilege’ of showing disrespect even though they ‘can’ under societal norms. I have witnessed many – male and female alike – address younger or  people in lesser status then them  with respect – using respectful honorific suffixes- and I applaud them for them for their dignity. These people bring out the beauty in the language and are role models for others to follow suit. But they are still in the minority.

Now, How do these honorific suffixes work and then how do they promote a culture of abuse?

For illustration ,let’s take  Tamil’s honorific suffixes: “di”  and “da”

“Di”  suffix is informal, denotes that a  female of lesser or equal status  is being addressed.

“Da”  suffix is the male counterpart.

So for example, if you want to call your younger brother towards you, you can say :

” Enga va da

The rough translation for the Tamil trans-literation sentence is:

Come here “you male who is inferior than me in either age or social status or power or all”

Or it can also be:

Come here “you male who is  equal to me because you are also allowed to respond back with a “di” or “da” “.

This latter ‘equal’ usage is the case in informal friendly /intimate relationships, where both the parties considers themselves equal, irrespective of age/socio-economic status.

The “da” or “di” gets translated into disrespect showing  the subtle inequality of the relationship when the person addressed with this suffix is not allowed to respond back with the “di/da” suffix in their response to the speaker.

E.g. A person can address his servant , disrespectfully, with “da” but the servant cannot use “da” towards his employer (if he expects to be gainfully employed). Instead he is expected to use another honorific suffix that shows respect like “ar” or “enga”- which denotes respect and reinforces his lesser economic status relative to his employer.

Some husbands use the suffix “Di”  when talking to their wives: publicly and privately. Wives are not allowed/expected to respond back or use the “Da” – they may do that in private (who knows?) but publicly it’s a huge ‘no-no’. The conversation between husband and wife  is expected to follow the pattern of the man/servant relationship, setting the stage for gender inequality – male superiority.

This “Di”, that husbands use when talking to their wives,  is  like an annoying sibling eating grapes and spitting the seeds at you – through out your lifetime.  It’s an offence where if you go to court and say “he spit a grape seed at me five times a day , 7 days a week” , and ask for justice everyone will laugh at you and ask you come back only when your limbs are broken.

The “Di” is like a vaccine – with a slightly ineffective virus – that builds immunity so when the real virus hits the nervous system – the body is prepared to deal with it.  As an immunized person may not even know that a deadly virus entered their body and was dealt with deftly – the female soul immunized with “Di”  doesn’t even feel much difference when an explicit disrespect is thrown at her. Say for example she is called a ‘bitch’ or to say in Tamil “nÃy” .

“Di” is just   a simple syllable- an innocuous reminder in every interaction that you are lesser than your husband and he deserves more respect than you get. A mere trifle of disrespect that is expected to roll off women’s back like water on a fish’s.

Some may argue that the usage of “Di” shows the intimate nature of the relationship between husband and wife and therefore “Di” expresses a romantic undertone. But if those same people, frown upon the wife’s usage of the “Da” and do not consider that usage romantic – their argument is not valid.

This  in-equal “Di” is just one example of a honorific in language usage that establishes the power structure within a marriage – and accepting this societal norm as normal  is to accept that women are lesser than men and therefore entitled to verbal abuse.

Honorific or not , gender inequality is conveyed in speech of all languages depending on how it is used and more importantly in the tone that it is delivered. Tamil and such languages that use honorific are not at fault . Fault if any lies in the society that uses it and normalizes disrespect towards one gender.

The issue in particular with honorific languages is that it makes showing overt disrespect easy, while cloaking the intent of disrespect under the ambiguity of grammar/societal norms of usage.  Whereas in non-honorific languages showing disrespect has to be explicit ,showing intent. e.g. ” I will be there in 5 minutes female-who-is-inferior-to-me” or  a short-cut  “I will be there in 5 minutes bitch”

Husband and wife (or Partners) should both bring love and respect to the marriage table and to their language. Bringing  love and expecting more than love (servile respect) in return is not fair. Bringing nothing but expecting both love and respect is even worse.  Our language is only an outward expression of these subtleties of inequality.

So how can we banish  “Di” and other such disrespectful words/inequality from our speech? Maybe we should switch mother tongues – move from Tamil to say English (or any other language that does not have honorific)  at least temporarily – and try to convey the whole message – subject/verb and honorific (and mainly the intent of respect or disrespect).

Since there are no such simple honorific suffixes substitutes in English as in Tamil – except maybe  “Sir/ Madam” or “Your highness” perhaps? –  in order to bring over all the inequality  to English we have to use more words than necessary ,making intent very clear and sentence structure very complicated. We would no longer be able to hide under the ambiguous shadow of honorific suffixes then.

Switching to English , carrying the baggage of honorific over , will be hard work.  Or we can make a true effort to have every interaction a positive one in our own mother tongues – turning Koduntamil (corrupt Tamil) into SenTamil (pure Tamil) . That will be harder work if one is not willing to let go of privilege, easy if one realizes that all humans- male are female-  are  equal.

Now , you may ask why all the fuss about one word ? How will discontinuing the usage of  honorific ,say  in-equal “Di” by a husband ,change the inequality of their relationship? What prevents the husband from taking the more explicit route to express disrespect for his wife if “Di” is banished?  Won’t “Di” be a more honourable disrespect (there’s a new oxymoron for you) than ,say, ‘bitch’?

I agree that eliminating the usage of a gender in-equality honorific suffix will not change the world , in itself. But it can do three things:

1- Those who take the subterfuge under the honorific today will be forced to be chose from the 3 word choices: explicitly disrespectful  ,neutral or respectful. Many will choose neutral without the  grey area of “honourable disrespect” to chose from.

2- It brings the enemy out of the shadows in to the open – the intent of disrespect will be explicit. It is easy to confront the enemy when he’s in front of you – easy to assess the threat- easy to formulate a defence strategy.  The fight comes out in the open. Today a father can tolerate his daughter being called “Di” by her husband in front of him – but will not tolerate the unwarranted and explicit disrespect of ‘bitch’ or ‘fool’ or any such thing.

3- It sets the societal expectation that both genders in a marriage are equal. Female babies are not born with the sense of inferiority , ready to accept verbal abuse, they learn that from the interactions they see playing in everyday life, day after day after day, at their homes, in the TV and around them. Neither are male babies born with the sense of superiority , ready to abuse. The girls see, father using “Di” and mother not using “Da” and intuitively learn that they should not use “Da”. The boys learn that they should use “Di” and not expect a “Da” back.  If they grow up seeing mutual respect in their parents language  and in the society around them then a new positive culture is formed- gender inequality and the evils associated with it will slowly fade away.

While this may seem applicable to only one segment of the world population that uses honorific suffixes, the basic premise  is respectful communication and being aware of  gender in-equality in language and the impact it has not only on relationships but on culture as a whole.

So, respected-reader-who-is-equal-to-me, what do you think?

Note: There are many other languages in the world that use honorific devices to show social hierarchy with more degrees of complexity…Tamil is the only one I speak, so I have used this as an example.

Disclaimers: (to keep trolls in bay) The intent of this post is to show the gender in-equality inherent in the usage of some languages today  not to put down any particular language. I do put down certain cultural norms that treats women as inferior though.

I may not be a feminist after all….

My special friend sent me the below TED talk link and said, “Since you are a feminist and have a whole section on your blog you may want to see and share  this”.

It was such a timely message from her – because just earlier in the day I was called a sexist by couple of other ‘special friends’. It had me thinking and reflecting (and upset): Am I really a feminist ? Or Am I sexist?

I was forced to examine my beliefs and convictions, thoughts and ideas, and statements and feelings. I still believe that all human beings are equal and should not be discriminated against for gender, race , sexual orientation and economic status. So what made them call me a sexist?

My responses to their question , they said- and the vehemence in which I expressed my opinion, they said. Those  questions and the essence of my responses :

Would you vote for  Carly Fiorina or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election (assuming ofcourse that they become their respective party candidates)?

I would not vote for Carly because her stance of abortion interferes with the fundamental freedom of a woman to decide on her healthcare choices with her doctor.

(Does this response make a feminist? Or a sexist? )

Do I support killing pain-capable foetus then?

My stance on abortion is this:

-If a foetus is capable of feeling pain then imagine how much more pain the born child would have to endure if it’s unwanted and ends up being uncared for. I would rather a foetus experience the one final pain rather than a lifetime of pains.

-Unless the society/government changes in such a way to ensure that every born child will have all their needs met , including love, 100% of the time , I believe society/government should not interfere in the choice of individuals.

-If a government believes in pro-life I expect the government never to go to war – to dismantle all nuclear weapons and Weapons of mass destruction . And to have  all guns in the country melted to make cradles.

(Does this response make a feminist? Or a sexist? Or socialist? )

Question: who would you vote for: Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton – both are pro-choice ?

All things being equal between the two candidates, I would vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman.

(Does this statement make me a sexist? It might seem so…but No….because…)

Why?

Because the United states of America – a developed “super-power”- has not had a woman president or even a woman vice president since its founding. The percentage of women in US Congress is low (just touched 20%, see source below). There were more systemic roadblocks in place that prevented women like Hillary Clinton (women from that era) from progressing than today – while the men enjoyed more privilege…..so all things being equal , in 2016, I would vote for a woman president because

  1. I want to give her the advantage that she has lacked 
  2. she had to work harder to be “equal” to a male who has had systemic advantage. Therefore she is a better candidate.

Am I still a sexist? Did I move towards the feminist midpoint? Do I care what my label is?

If the society changes to allow people of all genders (more than the binary version of genders) equal opportunity  and gender inequality exists only in a museum display as an ancient artefact – with all things being truly truly equal between candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and when  women represent around 50% of the senate and house, who would I choose? 

I would choose the one who looks good, as I had already written in an earlier post . Bernie Sanders , if you want my vote you better be a good looking dude 🙂 

I don’t know what this response makes me: sexist or feminist or shallow? Do I look like I care?

So who would you vote for between a male and female candidate?  Considering that the two candidates are equal in every respect ..who would you choose: a man or a woman?  And what does that choice make you? A feminist or a sexist?

————–

P.S – Thank you special friend!

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives

Number of Women in Congress by House

Number of women in the United States Congress (1917–2013):[2]

Congress Years in Congress % in House % in Senate %
65th 1917–1919 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0%
66th 1919–1921 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
67th 1921–1923 4 0.7% 3 0.7% 1 1%
68th 1923–1925 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0%
69th 1925–1927 3 0.6% 3 0.7% 0 0%
70th 1927–1929 5 0.9% 5 1.1% 0 0%
71st 1929–1931 9 1.7% 9 2.1% 0 0%
72nd 1931–1933 8 1.5% 7 1.6% 1 1%
73rd 1933–1935 8 1.5% 7 1.6% 1 1%
74th 1935–1937 8 1.5% 6 1.4% 2 2%
75th 1937–1939 9 1.7% 6 1.4% 3 3%
76th 1939–1941 9 1.7% 8 1.8% 1 1%
77th 1941–1943 10 1.9% 9 2.1% 1 1%
78th 1943–1945 9 1.7% 8 1.8% 1 1%
79th 1945–1947 11 2.1% 11 2.5% 0 0%
80th 1947–1949 8 1.5% 7 1.6% 1 1%
81st 1949–1951 10 1.9% 9 2.1% 1 1%
82nd 1951–1953 11 2.1% 10 2.3% 1 1%
83rd 1953–1955 15 2.8% 12 2.8% 3 3%
84th 1955–1957 18 3.4% 17 3.9% 1 1%
85th 1957–1959 16 3.0% 15 3.4% 1 1%
86th 1959–1961 19 3.5% 17 3.9% 2 2%
87th 1961–1963 20 3.7% 18 4.1% 2 2%
88th 1963–1965 14 2.6% 12 2.8% 2 2%
89th 1965–1967 13 2.4% 11 2.5% 2 2%
90th 1967–1969 12 2.2% 11 2.5% 1 1%
91st 1969–1971 11 2.1% 10 2.3% 1 1%
92nd 1971–1973 15 2.8% 13 3.0% 2 2%
93rd 1973–1975 16 3.0% 16 3.7% 0 0%
94th 1975–1977 19 3.6% 19 4.4% 0 0%
95th 1977–1979 20 3.7% 18 4.1% 2 2%
96th 1979–1981 17 3.2% 16 3.7% 1 1%
97th 1981–1983 23 4.3% 21 4.8% 2 2%
98th 1983–1985 24 4.5% 22 5.0% 2 2%
99th 1985–1987 25 4.7% 23 5.3% 2 2%
100th 1987–1989 26 4.9% 24 5.5% 2 2%
101st 1989–1991 31 5.8% 29 6.7% 2 2%
102nd 1991–1993 33 6.2% 30 6.9% 3 3%
103rd 1993–1995 55 10.3% 48 11.0% 7 7%
104th 1995–1997 59 11.0% 50 11.5% 9 9%
105th 1997–1999 66 12.3% 57 13.1% 9 9%
106th 1999–2001 67 12.5% 58 13.3% 9 9%
107th 2001–2003 75 14.0% 62 14.3% 13 13%
108th 2003–2005 77 14.4% 63 14.5% 14 14%
109th 2005–2007 85 15.9% 71 16.3% 14 14%
110th 2007–2009 94 17.6% 78 17.9% 16 16%
111th 2009–2011 96 17.9% 79 18.2% 17 17%
112th 2011–2013 96 17.9% 79 18.2% 17 17%
113th 2013–2015 102 19.1% 82 18.9% 20 20%
114th 2015–2017 104 19.4% 84 19.3% 20 20%

The porcupine suit

copyright-Ron-Pruitt

“Pinafores have to be an inch above the knee” , Mrs. Victor says sternly. My uniform dangles below my knee.

Does she come to school in a flying saucer? Hasn’t she seen the public bus during rush hour? Doesn’t she know that errant males amidst the safety of a crowded bus put their hands up short pinafores? I knew better than to ‘talk back’ so I’m quiet.

“Any questions?”, she asks. I want to ask: what do these men gain in a few seconds of groping?  But this is something we don’t discuss with adults.

I walk away wishing that our school uniform was a porcupine suit.

—– end —-

I seriously dreamed of designing something like to this to wear to school:

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/toonzguru/suited/

Picture of a bus in Chennai, India during rush hour.

Image result for MTC bus chennai crowded

Photo credit: Indian express

Sexual harassment of women/girls, by strangers in broad daylight in front of adult men and women – who seldom called out on the perpetrator – was common place in the crowded buses of Chennai, India. The crowd offered these “asstards” the perfect excuse for unnecessary brushes and groping. Many times one can’t point out the exact perv amongst the crowd compounding the problem. There is more awareness now  and more women are coming forward to lodge complaints with the police ,yet , it’s an ongoing problem.

If you are an adult who sees such harassment in public buses, please speak up….usually people wait for a leader who can raise their voice and then join forces to support them…so you will never be alone.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/MTC-identifies-bus-routes-prone-to-sexual-harassment/articleshow/6904580.cms

————————

This about 100 word ” story” is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.  This week’s photo was provided by Ron Pruitt.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

A Culture of abuse

When my son was one year old, he decided he had enough with us shovelling food down his throat. He pried the spoon from me and insisted on using his motor skills. He picked up a bunch of noodles in his chubby little hands and watched in fascination as they wiggled like little worms and slid off his fingers. Then he must have decided to feed the carpet – that lovely beige thing that always fascinated him with its cornucopia of dust and hair – because that’s where the remaining noodles that he flung landed.

It’s a cute memory. We recite this story and laugh over it.

Let’s imagine him as a middle-aged man (with all mental faculties intact )doing the food flinging act ,food which … let’s say his wife prepared. The same act will no longer be called cute. It will be called domestic violence. It won’t be a memory that can be laughed over….ever.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) . Are you aware of what constitutes domestic violence?

Have you ever thrown objects on the floor in anger, in front of your spouse /or someone who were angry with? Remotes, cellphones, paper-weights, plates, cups……whatever you can get you hand on? It may not have landed on a person and “hurt” them- but did you know that it’s still called Domestic violence?  It’s called “destruction of property” and it’s a form of psychological abuse according to the  United states department justice: http://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence.

 The website called Hotline (http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/) uses a diagram called the Power & Control Wheel to describe most accurately what occurs in an abusive relationship. The below text is from their website provided above:

Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics your abusive partner uses to keep you in the relationship. While the inside of the wheel is comprised of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other subtler methods of abuse.

Out of these 8 areas – how many areas have you actively dabbled in?  Whether you are a man or a woman, It’s important to look at these behaviours and see not only who has victimized you but to also see if you engage in any of these actions.

I’m guilty of one thing…. Please don’t start imagining me mounting my spouse on a crucifix …whipping him with a stick ……although I have done something close to that ,according to my in-laws , by asking their son to take out the garbage.

Many of us Indian women are already “victims” of  “male privilege” type domestic abuse  and this is not exactly a secret…it is one that we have experienced publicly, along with several of our fellow compatriots who are in the same proverbial boat. But here’s the issue – everyone including me , do not recognize that as an abuse. We  expect it , are prepared for it all our young lives and accept it because it’s our “culture” . A wife “Being treated like a servant”  would not raise any eyebrows in our Indian “culture”. Some people may even look down on him if he treats his wife nicely and as an equal and doesn’t exercise his male privilege. In some cases , they may be pressured- directly or indirectly –  to subordinate the wife and become the “master of the castle”, by their own parent(s).

It is difficult for this average (I say average because some Indian males have evolved and I commend them for that) Indian male to see himself painted as a domestic abuser because this is how he was raised to act. He is only following social conventions….Parental guidance….walking in the footsteps of his forefathers ,like sheep. No one has told him that this is wrong. Until now. If you have read this , you no longer have an excuse.  You have a choice: to change for the better.

It’s not an easy choice. For some it’s to choose between being a disobedient son and being a better human being. That’s major conflict, I tell you . Like how the legend goes that Parashurama had to choose between being an obedient son and  a murderer when his father asked him to behead his mother. (More on the legend: http://www.speakingtree.in/blog/why-did-parashuram-kill-his-mother )

But being aware of what is considered a negative behaviour is an important first step in changing negative patterns – in cleaning up our culture. As human beings we are endowed with a capacity to learn and evolve. Culture need not be static either – it can grow – it needs to evolve. So my question to you is : are you capable of evolution? If you are man, are you ready to forgo ‘male privilege” ? Are you willing to transcend the barriers of gender and look at everyone as human beings equal to you?

Note: I have only written on a mild form of abuse that a segment of the world’s population experiences.  I know that that there are much more harsher abuses that go on that impact both men and women and this post does not address that – simply because I don’t find myself qualified to talk about it . Another reason is that I believe the fundamental root cause of domestic violence (against women) is male privilege- that is sanctioned by “culture” and that if we change that mind-set we can curb domestic violence in its infancy.

The invisible store

PHOTO PROMPT - © Kent Bonham

Radha  rose before sunrise to cook for her family and get ready to take the first bus out, praying that prime spot at the entrance of the Bazaar remains unoccupied.  She calculated Rs3 as the break-even price for her goods that were purchased on borrowed money from a heartless loan shark. Profit meant ……. Not clothes or exotic things  sold in the bazaar under shiny lights…. but food for a day or two.  Her back throbbed in pain where her husband had battered her in his drunken stupor asking her for money …but she hurried on.

The prime spot was unoccupied. She thanked God for her good luck and put out a lemon in front of her make-shift stall to ward off the evil eye.

——————————————-end ————————————————

The women who have inspired me are not the Indira Gandhi’s or Hillary Clinton’s of the world but these unassuming , uneducated , hard-working women who lift their families out of starvation and ruin amidst numerous challenges and who serve as the invisible backbone of many a country’s economy. The pictures below would say what I feel more eloquently than any words I can write:

Photos of beautiful hard-working women entrepreneurs from around the world:

India:

photo credit: www.telegraphindia.com

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/janyjacob/beautiful-women-of-south-asia/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-invisible-workers/article4488407.ece#im-image-12

Peru:

Photo Credit – http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/250-reasons-to-fall-in-love-with-peru/old-woman-640×426/

Vietnam:

Photo credit: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/10/street-food-vendors-from-around-world.html

Jerusalem:

Photo credit: http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/image/I00009SgPXnL.ssA

Mynamar:

Photo credit: https://freedommuzic.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/myanmar-friends-cptc2.jpg

Ethiopia:

Photo credit: http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/30056644street-vendor-harar-old-town-ethiop-30056644.jpg

—————————————————————————————-

This  100+ word story is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes, that fellow Friday Fictioneers have, on the same photo prompt:

And the Nobel Prize for Common-sense goes to…

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

At first, it looked like an ordinary marble, but it was far from it.  But how could Tim have known that, when he had much so many other valuable marbles that earned him the Nobel prize in science? So he threw that dull ordinary marble in the dirt ..

When he opened his mouth in a science delegation in Korea, stupid words poured out:  “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry,

The room was still ,like the calm before the storm. Not aware of the big hole he was digging himself, he continued,  “I’m in favour of single-sex labs but I don’t want to stand in the way of women”

The prevalent theory in the scientific community: Tim has lost all his marbles.  In reality all he lost was one ordinary dull marble called : common-sense.

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“lost his marbles” is an euphemism for “losing one’s mind” or “acting stupidly”

The above quotes in blue are from Tim Hunt, who is more famous for his sexists remarks than his Nobel Prize in 2001. More news about him is in the below link:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-forced-to-resign

His remarks have started an avalance of tweets from women scientists who have posted humorous pictures under the hash tag #distractinglysexy.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/12/413986529/-distractinglysexy-tweets-are-female-scientists-retort-to-disappointing-comments

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The above story was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/mondays-finish-the-story-june-15th-2015/