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Sex Positivity and Indian Mothers: How to Not Bash Your Head against the Nearest Statue of Buddha
Like any good brown daughter away at college, I recently got a phone call from my mother. I picked up, expecting the usual “Hello, are you alive? Are you eating well? Are you taking your vitamins?” conversation. Instead this is what I got:
Me: “Mom? What is it?”
Mom: “Oh, nothing. Nevermind.”
Me: “What? What is it?”
Mom: “Oh nothing. You’ll get angry.”
Me: “Just tell me. You can’t just call me and then say ‘oh it’s nothing!’ “
She proceeds to accuse me, in her wonderful way of not-actually-using-the-word-sex, of not being a virgin until marriage.
Of course my reaction is to fly off the handle and let her know that sex isn’t a bad thing, and that if and when I choose to engage in a completely natural human act, it isn’t really her business if I do it within the confines of a socially acceptable marriage or not. Nor is it her business if I do with one person or five hundred. Because frankly, I’d had enough of her body-policing and straight up slut-shaming. I don’t blame her, its the culture in which she grew up and its only natural that she wishes to impart me with the same values. That’s good parenting…riiiiight?
So in honor of that fateful conversation, I’ve created a handy guide for dealing with your lovely, energetic and totally infuriating Indian mother whilst remaining excellently sex positive:
1) Keep your condoms at school. Do not have any of your sexytime paraphernalia anywhere where your parents can see it. They’ll automatically correlate your safe sex practices with STDs, pregnancy, and worse — OTHER OLDER BROWN PEOPLE KNOWING THAT YOU DO IT. God forbid Shobha Auntie finds out.
2) Password protect your iPhone. Are you a sexting queen? Have more than one gora in your inbox? That’s something you definitely don’t want your parents to see. Make sure you have a handy 4-digit code that prevents your parents and annoying younger siblings from getting the goss.
3) Change your fuckbuddy’s name to “Lucy” in your phone. Or Amanda. Or Priyanka. Just make it a girl’s name. Trust me, they’re not going to be asking too many questions about Amanda from Econometrics calling you while you’re at home making pakoras.
4) Don’t get a boyfriend. They’re waaaay too hard to hide. It’s so much easier to have casual flings. Their laundry doesn’t end up in your mom’s dryer and you don’t have to pretend that his undershirts are what you wear to frisbee practice…
5) Put ALL of the Indian relatives on Limited Profile on facebook. Because you’re showing your shoulders in that one picture…and is that a martini? Are you hugging a boy? And you know that they’re going to be calling your Amma long distance on Vonage as soon as they see it. The shame, the shame!
Hope that helps.
Thirdwave Story Pt1
A long time ago in a place where time and space always seemed to clash and never decide exactly how to deal with each other and in such a manner as to make every one else feel so very uncomfortable and frustratingly unable to fulfil their creative intentions, there lived a man called John Sealy.
From what I recall this enigmatic and elusive lone narwhal of a man, (A narwhal in a mysterious sense not as a direct metaphor for size or looks or anything) found himself in this place of space and time convergence. The place of mediation in transitional movement, initially physical and later philosophical, was not particularly vital to what was eventually the flower of his time there but it was none the less something worth writing about.
John went onto make a short film, a somewhat pretentious two minute “USB movie” featuring an additional traveller called Jonas Hawkins.
“I got tired of waiting for the money, the funding, the phone to ring, that script, the big score, the pat on the back, the festival screening.
I had an idea based on a wall-light and a guy who looked a bit like Captain Kirk. You see, Goddard was kinda right - all you really need to make a film is an idea, a camera…and 90 minutes!!!”
Here is the short film…
To the media (a diatribe)
You have taught me to hate myself.
I have never been happy with the way I looked. You have taught me that my skin is too dark and that my hair is too frizzy and that my breasts are too small.
You taught that all that mattered about a girl was the way she looked and if she had a boyfriend. Everybody knows that women are supposed to be pretty, above all else. Even if women do great things, it always goes back to the way they look. You abuse the most powerful women in this country– I’ve seen what you’ve written about Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton. What chance do I have against you if these powerful women can’t catch be respected?
You have taught me that I am not capable of changing the world because I am not a man and my real place is in the home. You have taught me I’m supposed to be sexy but not have sex – because if I have sex I’m trash. But then you tell me that if I don’t look sexy than I’m not good enough to have a boyfriend – because obviously, getting a boyfriend is the most important thing I can do.
You have taught me that my feelings are trivial. If act out, I’m crazy. If I have an opinion, I’m unfeminine. You have taught me to obey. So far it has worked. Look how deep in my mind you’ve gotten. Look how you control me. Look how you continue to control me even when I know you’re there. I want to tell you that these messages – these damaging, soul crushing, agonizing messages have broken me.
I see your tricks - your impossible double standards. No woman can live up to them. So you drive us quietly insane as we emulate your fiction. You treat us like the commodities you use our bodies to sell.
Although you tell me to shut up and sit down, I will stand up and yell. I will not let you or anyone else tell me that I’m unqualified and unimportant. My voice deserves an audience.
It will be difficult, but I will reclaim everything you took from me as a girl. I will repair the damage and I will subvert you. That’s a promise.
MixFridayatSix with boogie woogie Mad Dawgs.
F@6 Friday at Six Radio Show Mixup
Here a mixup from the radio show by Derk Marseille that TechBerlin was invited to last Friday at the Smava office. Derk is not only a great storyteller, but an integral part of the Berlin startup story itself and a manifestation of the positive Berlin startup vibe.
In his main job Derk is a professional journalist, a correspondent for two Dutch radio stations reporting on German news (mostly politics). Somehow he got sucked into the startup scene and albeit describing himself as having little prior knowledge of technology or startups, he started the web radio show F@6 in his free time. While focusing on the big news in his day job, Derk found the early stage startup scene with its passionate entrepreneurs just too intriguing not to cover.
“There is so much going on under the surface right now that is worth noticing.”
I enjoy talking with Derk. He is curious and eager to learn, always asking people for feedback on what he does and is truly enthusiastic about the NOW. When we had dinner after the show Derk gave me valuable journalist tips for my next Skype a Founder interviews.
He describes his show as a “no format radioshow with a bunch of passionate people and live music. The interviews are important but we want people to help each other too. Topics relate to technology, start-ups and Berlin.”
The show is called Friday at Six, because every Friday at 6pm he visits a startup office in Berlin and broadcasts live from it, always inviting musicians to play along. It is a great idea and I had an awesome time last Friday.
If you want to listen to the whole show, please click here.