Men Watch Women. Women Watch Themselves Being Looked at.

I saw this documentary by John Berger, Way of Seeing, a few years ago;
and I keep remembering what he said about the vanity of women. He said, “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. ” Which is true sometimes. Some women like being adored or admired more than being loved. Sure it is an awesome feeling being admired but as I was just thinking the other night, it is really nothing compared to the feeling of being loved.

Here is the whole qoute by John Berger from the docu and the book, Way of Seeing:

“To be born a woman has to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men. The social presence of women is developed as a result of their ingenuity in living under such tutelage within such a limited space. But this has been at the cost of a woman’s self being split into two. A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another….One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”

My Thoughts On Feminism And Gender Wars

 

I am not a feminist. I don’t like the idea of ‘gender wars’. Men vs. Women. I don’t see men as the enemy. A woman can also hurt another woman as badly as any man can. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses regardless of gender. I find the terms ‘ that woman is strong like man or that man cry like a woman’ amusing. Both male and female as we all know have masculine and feminine qualities in them. I might find a person incredibly gifted/ intelligent or I could find a person unbearably stupid. A person. Not a he or a she.

I remember a funny but pointless debate I and my female friends used to have when were teenagers against a group of boys. Numerous times we argued with them that women can do all what men can do unlike men one time giving the most obvious example that only women can give birth. ” That is true but Jofs, can five women pee simultaneously in one pot?” Responded the leader of the boy’s gang. We all burst out laughing. It was funny and also true. Blushing the girls would feel defeated and outwitted. Ganging against each other had been embedded in us since we were young. Discarding the gender bias requires a lot of effort as we grow older because of the nature of romantic relationships. Our hearts get broken at one point in time. But it’s neither the men nor women who do this to each other. A person hurts another person. If only we can look at it like that and not crucify nor blame the whole gender for it. Continue reading

Response To The Post “Women Are Second Class Citizens “

jalal michael sabbagh on October 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm said:

Jofelyn,your post about women being second class citizens is true in most 3rd.world country .l believe firmly God created us equal.Man is the one who invented laws to be the boss.I believe Women will do much better job if they rule the WORLD.My regards.jalal

Jofelyn M. Khapra on October 11, 2012 at 6:30 am said:

Jalal I would rather live in a world where a person is no longer define by gender but as human. Where he and she is irrelevant. The person who have the best capacity to rule should rule regardless of gender. 🙂

Ruth Rainwater on October 11, 2012 at 12:44 am said:

Unfortunately, it isn’t only in 3rd world countries where women are second class citizens, but in the US also. Women have come a long way here, but there is still a long way to go. I look forward to a time when women can be who and what they want to be, just like men are.

Jofelyn M. Khapra on October 11, 2012 at 6:26 am said:

I and my husband had been discussing this same issue a few weeks back, we came to the same conclusion, sadly.

The Quote:

‘Anyone could tell us two writers shouldn’t be together. Or rather, that a competitive American shouldn’t be with a woman who has written a book.’
‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘It’s a challenge to my sexual superiority, and that isn’t a joke.’

‘I know it isn’t. But please don’t give me any more of your pompous socialist lectures about the equality of men and women.’

‘I shall probably give you pompous lectures because I enjoy it. But I won’t believe in them myself. The truth is, I resent you for having written a book which was a success. And I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always been a hypocrite, and in fact I enjoy a society where women are second-class citizens, I enjoy being boss and being flattered.’

‘Good,’ I said. ‘Because in a society where not one man in ten thousand begins to understand the ways in which women are second-class citizens, we have to rely for company on the men who are at least not hypocrites.’

‘And now we’ve settled that, you can make me some coffee, because that is your role in life.’

‘It will be a pleasure,’ I said, and we had breakfast in good-humour, liking each other.

– from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Women Are Second Class Citizens

‘Anyone could tell us two writers shouldn’t be together. Or rather, that a competitive American shouldn’t be with a woman who has written a book.’

‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘It’s a challenge to my sexual superiority, and that isn’t a joke.’

‘I know it isn’t. But please don’t give me any more of your pompous socialist lectures about the equality of men and women.’

‘I shall probably give you pompous lectures because I enjoy it. But I won’t believe in them myself. The truth is, I resent you for having written a book which was a success. And I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always been a hypocrite, and in fact I enjoy a society where women are second-class citizens, I enjoy being boss and being flattered.’

‘Good,’ I said. ‘Because in a society where not one man in ten thousand begins to understand the ways in which women are second-class citizens, we have to rely for company on the men who are at least not hypocrites.’

‘And now we’ve settled that, you can make me some coffee, because that is your role in life.’

‘It will be a pleasure,’ I said, and we had breakfast in good-humour, liking each other.

– from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

The Monthly Visitor

20121006-122025.jpg

Every month a strange possession takes over my body hurling my calm disposition shattering on the wall. Logic and reason fight with the irrational panic rising in my heart. Irritation can reach a fever pitch causing distraction on everything in its path. Depression soon follows after holding me captive further poisoning my sour mood. Tears will then flow freely at the slightest bidding or for no reason at all.

They say it’s a just a myth, no truth to it but my husband knows for sure that PMS is not something to be taken lightly at all. Right ladies? 😀

©JMKhapra

To Be A Woman Independent And Single

20120922-132731.jpg

What is terrible is that after every one of the phases of my life is finished, I am left with no more than some banal commonplace that everyone knows; in this case , that women’s emotions are still fitted for a kind of society that no longer exists. My deep emotions, my real ones, are to do with my relationship with a man. One man. But I don’t live that kind of life and I know few woman who do. So what I feel is irrelevant and silly…I am always coming to a conclusion that my real emotions are foolish, I am always having, as it were, to cancel myself out. I ought to be like a man, caring more for my work than for people; I ought to put my work first, and take men as they come, or find an ordinary comfortable man for bread and butter reasons– but I won’t do it, I can’t be like that…

Ella from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

This novel have me in a tight grip. As I turned the pages I get sucked more and more into it. I can feel my mood changing, my being, my thoughts, influenced. My dreams becoming vivid intermingling with the characters in the book as if I am living their lives.

The Author a woman. The protagonist a woman who is writing about the life of a woman in the 1950s. About a period of time when the roles of women were set for change. Feminism was rising in a crescendo and women were breaking free from stereotypes but still galled at the fact that they still need the love of a man to make them happy. Her honesty stings. And still so relevant even today. The truth in her words scalds. It forces you to look at what you refuse to acknowledge.I am like a moth drawn to a fire. I cannot stop reading even if it burns me.

©JMKhapra

Illustration by Jofelyn M. Khapra