by Raju Peddada
"God seeks comrades and claims love, the devil seeks slaves and claims obedience."
—Rabindernath Tagore (1861-1941), Nobel Prize winner for literature, 1913
[Author's Note: Since the dawn of civilization, the male gender, not in its entirety, has been so insecure that it has built misogynistic fortresses: religions, to secure itself against the female gender. Is it because the female, even in her surreal and inscrutable alchemy, happens to be the repository of mankind's evolutionary progress, the future, and more intimidating, the epitome of physical and natural beauty? Or is it because she happens to epitomize our strengths, as well as our weaknesses -- with her indispensable vulnerability, enigmatic bearing, and the capacity to compromise? Nevertheless, it is indubitable that the female either incites our savage impulses or lugubrious resignation, but nothing neutral. The treatment of women gestates our smug regression, as well as our uncredited progression. However, the abuse of woman, in its various guises, incidental and isolated, or sanctioned and systematic, demystifies man's insecurity.]
(Swans - August 26, 2013) A conversation between friends, Eva (Evie -- Catholic, now atheist), Purush (Pu -- Parsee-Zoroastrian, exploring Buddhism), and Naina (Nan -- Hindu):
"I wish I was a man, Pu -- get to be free from a lot of bullshit..."
"Like what? -- You think men aren't the authors of all the bullshit trouble we have?"
"Simple stuff, like -- walking around at 2 a.m. without the terror of being violated -- raging fuckin' hormones, bleeding cycles, rapacious eyes -- a variety of physical limitations, even against limp dicks, it sucks -- !"
"Don't be a fatalist -- you gals have lots of advantages, I mean physical -- except being shafted by organized religions -- which is a big fuckin' problem, literally."
"Don't get me started... my mother lived in fear, without freedom all her life -- my dad and his suffocating Church -- goddamn diablos -- of-the-true-god!"
"Hey," putting his arm around her, "I know the feeling, we had to escape the hairy Ayatollah for the sake of our woman -- where the asshole is defined by... forget it."
"Where -- what happened?"
"It was Iran -- some other time, sweets -- let's go and fornicate, babe."
"Shhut up, Pu... what happened, tell me -- pleaase."
"Trust me, it's not entertaining, it's brutal stuff -- none of that shit is worth our time, dig it?"
"I want to hear it... or you want to talk about the weather?" Evie, sounding resolute.
"You're a fuckin' hag fish! Weather is a cooler topic -- you want to hear about genital mutilation of screaming pubescent girls... verification of your virginity by state officials -- alright, I won't tell you our little story, but what had happened to our neighbors. To escape Shiite bigotry we had moved from Mashhad to Tehran... this was just after the revolution."
"Iran -- right?"
"Yep... in Tehran, we moved in right next door to another Parsee family -- we were too little to remember all this... my dad told me this a few months ago, triggered by a visit, from someone I nor my sisters knew. Anyway, our neighbors had teenage daughters -- and one, Farida, attended the university. She apparently had rebuffed the advances of a Muslim man quite vehemently at the campus. A week later, we heard a commotion outside -- pushing, shoving, and scuffling followed by wailing -- by the father and mother. There were three men, two in uniform, and one in plain clothes -- police officials to take Farida into custody..."
"Just like that! God -- if every woman got arrested for rejecting, half the country would be in jail..."
"Just like that, Evie -- she was incarcerated and charged for allegedly insulting a Muslim man and his faith, and get this -- for making sexual advances. They had three witnesses who claimed to have seen her do this when it had happened in a conference room at the library. At this point, I saw my dad gulp down his bitter rage, but continued -- my father was reliving it -- you see, he was my dad's colleague at the engineering college. About a week later, there was a larger delegation at our neighbor's door -- my father's colleague called him in and told him what had transpired. They had offered to release the girl and dismiss the charges on three conditions: apologize to the family, convert their whole family to Islam for insulting the faith -- and marry the man...."
"...Oh my god!"
"Which fuckin' god, Evie? Anyway, they were asked to dump their whole identity... and kowtow to this fucker. He was the son of some ranking official in the Republican Guards -- like Gestapo, I suppose. They had given them three days. Farida refused -- and we heard their living terror everyday -- this is how my dad experienced it -- like they were naked, like those Jews at the concentration camp. After the judgment, they moved her to another city -- to be stoned to death. They never saw her again -- my father didn't say much after this, he shut down abruptly -- except for muttering her name a few times. The visitor from a few months back was Farida's youngest sister, living in Fresno... I saw her -- Farida's -- picture a few days ago -- it was haunting... was that entertaining?"
"I am sorry Pu... it's scary. Orwellian -- can't believe shit like this happens today -- in this century... and states like this are allowed to exit! Can they ever be -- like contemporary? It's one thing to be abused by chance -- like isolated, but to be violated systematically for generations, just because you are different really sucks, sucks to the fuckin' hell -- do you think it's gender insecurity? And, why are the followers of ideologies more insecure?"
"You're onto it -- you know, I have had the same notion for years."
"You know -- sometimes I feel a helpless rage -- that the history of the world is the landscape of organized misogyny -- except for a few instances. I wonder if there is any society that worships the feminine beauty and its capacity -- of reproductive might?"
"Weren't you in the class a couple of weeks ago? Professor Shulman went through how the Hindus called the interior of their temples "Gar-bha-gri-ha" a womb where the deity resides. It was really awesome, recognizing the natural feminine power, and..." "... the depiction of female anatomy as a temple... it was so profound... it flashed images of pilgrims, as moving sperm trying to access the spiritual chamber... so symbiotic." Evie adds.
"Imagine such a thing in the Middle East? The Catholics sealed off Mary's private parts to accept her -- what does that beam? Every non-virgin a whore?! Bullshit!" Pu exhorts.
"I sometimes wonder, with all our advances, how anyone can swallow such trite stuff -- miracles? What have we come to -- we believe in hocus-focus supernatural shit than in reality -- I mean scientific reasoning -- and nature law!"
"Damn right -- bullshit theology that's sold to the indolent, indigent, illiterate, and the gullible -- that virgins are wet in their collective breath for the hard-ons that maim or kill in the service of god. I don't get it, why fuckin' die for some god and his bloody ideology to land a pussy -- I could get many here on earth without killing myself. I have to give up my life to get laid -- what kind of bullshit philosophy is that?! How can you sell this shit? What kind of a moron you have to be -- to buy it?! What I really don't get is how they are willing to be trained as terrorists, immersed in logic and reason -- yet fall for the fur-pie reasoning!"
"Haaaaahahahaha... I love it when you rant! Wait a... how many did you get?" suddenly looking dubious.
"Out of the gutter, be real-- please!"
"Sawrry -- but you know... I see vagina dialogues everywhere, on the reality shows -- MTV, Bachelors & Bachelorettes, Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives. Looks like the natural law and order has kicked Abraham's misogynistic ass..."
"...and his bloody minions -- while we, the liberated literate, can worship the feminine beauty and her procreative preponderance!" Pu completes her thought.
"Hey hey -- sync'd in ink! Isn't pornography an overt worship of the clitoris and vagina? All those superlatives that come from guys doing these woman..."
"Cum from guys, it's expected... hehehe" Eye contact and snickering. "I wouldn't go that far, babe. I still think porn is abuse, wouldn't you say so as a... ? but one thing is for sure, clit is that gothic antenna, overseeing the threshold that delivers us to life -- yet, we allow misogynistic fuckers to carry on in deceiving humanity."
"Isn't the vagina our purgatory -- a place for cleansing and release from the pressure, the repression, and the hypocrisy of saints, priests, prophets, and rabbis? Didn't these fuckers find their release there -- and followed it with claims of enlightenment from stars, angels, statues, meteorites, water, trees, burning bushes, sands, and rocks? Doesn't their cynical hypocrisy denigrate, demonize, and ostracize the very temple and its threshold they had emerged from -- and sought release whenever they desired? Isn't it impudence and presumptuous savagery and treachery to turn around and proclaim sin and rejection, and profess violation and mutilation of the same threshold where their salvation lies -- it's like violating your own mother, your own house where you spent nine months. Such insolence, such ignorance, such insecurity, in the face of such a magnificent and benevolent threshold! Mother-fuckin' Bastards!"
"Whoaaa, you're sexy when mad! You're so damn right -- desert religions were designed to denigrate the female gender -- why do woman succumb to these dumb bastions of hate -- I don't understand." Pu gives her a great big kiss -- "let's have smoothie and chill."
"Hey you two, what's shaking? Why is she all flushed pink?" They are joined by their friend, Naina.
"Huh, nothing -- we were just having some friction."
"Oh, on what -- whatever makes this beaver excited would excite me too." Naina motions to Eva.
"Evie, don't get into it."
"Come on, Pu -- Nan would cart a lot to the table... wouldn't she?"
"Guys, guys -- you're killing me with the suspense, what... whaaat?"
"Pu wants to experience virgins in heaven... hehehehe" -- Evie, with sneering sideways glace at Pu.
"Are you converting?" Nan, shocked with an inquiring look.
"Stop, you two -- we were discussing why men are so insecure... why can't men accept and worship the woman?"
"Well, well -- now I get why she's all pink. But isn't that what the Muslims do -- worship women, and are willing to die to get them even in heaven? I think it's worship, although in a warped way -- they are restricted to only four females on terra firma, but desire them in bunches as virgins in heaven -- that's worship!"
"Gee... never thought of it that way." Evie and Pu concede.
"Pu thinks that the clitoris and vagina should be worshiped... as symbols."
"They already do, in India... they worship the penis too, Lingam -- have been for ages, something like 6000-plus years! Shiva is the manifestation of a penis -- the Lingam, a phallus-shaped rock..."
"That's way cool... advanced! Sure, there's no hypocrisy lurking somewhere in this? -- sorry, can I get you a smoothie?"
"Thanks, no, I just had tea -- you know my grandfather was a yogi. He used to tell us that the ancient Hindu society, before the 7th century AD, was an open and advanced society. Woman lived in total freedom. It was the golden age of India, well before the invaders had not violated the purity and openness of indigenous cultures there. Indian women could pick their own mates, and princesses could select their men from among many courtiers in what was referred to as swayamwar. Vatsyayana authored Kama-Shastras or Sutras, in 1250 verses on sensual aesthetics of experiencing sexual pleasures with a mate -- and that was from around 400 BC. Ancient Hindu temples were carved with explicit sexual postures, consecrating the idea that procreative activity or sexual interaction between mates was a natural and spiritual endeavor, as opposed to being portrayed as the original sin. Sex is spiritual -- it's the only divine engagement we crave! But all that's vanished -- fear has changed the Indian society, and today, most men have become degenerates -- just like your yard variety repressed creatures from elsewhere..."
"I was going say... with all those rapes recently. I doubt it's a systematic thing in India... but they sure seem repressed -- I guess that's what happens when you commit female infanticide -- happens in China too. Not enough woman to go around -- many dogs lined up on one bitch! What a fuckin' travesty! Dave sure is lucky for your Indian arse!" Evie motions to Nan, and nudges him. They all giggle -- the conversation continues.
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About the Author
Raju Peddada is an industrial designer running an eponymous brand, purveyor of ultra luxury furnishings of his own design (see peddada.com). He is also a freelance correspondent/writer for several publications, specializing in commentary, essay, and opinions on architecture, design, photography, books, fashion, society, and culture. Peddada was born in Tallapudi, a small southern town in south India. He's lived in New Delhi and Bombay before migrating to the West Indies and eventually settling in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked in corporate America until he chose to set up his own designing firm. He lives with his family in Des Plaines. (back)