Friday, January 28, 2011

Our Sexual Identities come in all Shapes & Sizes - Oh - and being a rapist isn't part of the spectrum.



So a lot of interesting things've been happening lately... I've been getting several emails and even a new interview volunteer. However, some of the stories being brought to my attention are horrific. And I'm so sad to hear this stuff goes on in the motherland. (Sad but not surprised)

Im glad that people feel comfortable talking to me about it... but again, much of it is behind the scenes... Obviously, i can't discuss any of it, but I do urge you to share... anonymously even. It'll help others in the same situation as you.. and maybe, just maybe you can provide comfort for someone else. Knowing you're not alone is a starting point for sure.

We've already talked about how a lot of people in Pakistan are sadly misinformed about sex and consent. Men and women alike. I'll say it again, prostitutes can be raped. Sex without consent with any human being is rape. Doesn't matter what they do for a living. Another common misconception is that you can't rape your wife - since its part of a wife's duty to be available to her spouse, whenever, wherever. Obviously, that isn't the case. Most of you reading this post are civilized creatures I assume :) , but its only an assumption. The sad fact is there are wives being raped all over the country and not just amongst the poor and illiterate either. An even more painful truth is, the women just assume thats how sex is....And if they try to bring it up with other women, they're politely told to shut the fuck up and to be a more cooperative spouse.

Again, before you send me a pissed off email or leave me a stinker of a comment (which i always love btw...seriously, so do feel free to argue the point) I'm just going to say : I DO NOT mean to imply that all men in Pakistan are like this... all I'm saying is there are more than you might think. And it could be someone super refined, educated...someone you'd never suspect. But fuck.. how do we combat that problem? we can't exactly go policing things in other people's bedrooms.... but we can make sure that us and the people around us are aware and educated about sex. Discussion is a great way. So talk about sex with your friends, often :P Some of the views that come up might surprise you. And of course if you know anyone in an abusive relationship.... help them to recognize that...and speak up.

Most importantly... when you fuck... make sure you fuck well :) If you're a better lover, you're making the world a better place... you're contributing to equality, education and less abuse...

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I wanted to give a shout out to one of the commenters from the last post, Black Mamaba...Wasssuup! :) I found your comment really interesting. (Since you had India as part of your name, im going to assume you're a fellow brownie :) ) Now from what I gather, you're a Male Identified Lesbian, n'est ce pas? Also known as a Guydyke.
And jeez if you're in India that must be tough.



Many of us in the subcontinent are still coming to terms with general sexuality let alone alternative sexuality....Although India's really moved along, but till the late 90's i think, we didnt even see kissing in bollywood movies. Trying to be understood as a Guydyke in a fairly conservative society must be next to impossible. For those of you still scratching your heads...let me try to explain...a male identified lesbian is a guy... who identifies as a lesbian. Usually (not always) attracted to other lesbians or just butch women. Being gay or even straight is hard enough in our society... but being something other...i can't even imagine how you'd find a like minded individual... or manage to get laid.

Im sure some guys are rolling their eyes thinking, "pfft Im a lesbian too... i love lesbians and watching women get it on" but thats really not what its about. Many times being a Guydyke can be very sexually frustrating, I imagine (and please anyone that can shed more light on the topic, feel free to do so), If you're a guy - you're almost never going to be fully accepted as a fellow dyke...and as much as you'd love to indulge in and fit in to lesbian culture, you may always be considered an outsider. Another issue that you could come across is if u truly feel like a lesbian, and you fall for one.... you will most certainly not have those feelings reciprocated.

My husband and I have an acquaintance who identifies as a 'girlfag' she wants to be referred to as a 'he',  is married to a cis man AND lives 'his' life presenting a traditional female. A lot of make up,  dresses, etc..... at first i found this totally confusing... and a little unnecessary...i still often call her 'she', its gonna take some getting used to. I don't mean to offend, but she chooses to present as a female and is in a traditional hetero marriage. I forget (s)he wants to be identified as he.

In my eyes its definitely an alternative alternative sexual preference.... and im sure it could leave you feeling pretty isolated.... from both straight and gay communities. I'm glad the comment came in and gave me a chance to talk about it. Im sure its not a super common thing in Pakistan, but im pretty sure that it still exists. Our sexual identities come in all shapes and sizes... and sometimes shift or evolve. Being more aware of all thats out there will only help us be more in touch with ourselves.

Speaking of being more 'in touch' with yourself....guess i'll be posting about next...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why are we such a fucking mess....?

Happy New Year :/ it certainly started off on a 'wonderful' note. One of our few liberal thinking politicians was murdered...and there were many who celebrated. Ugh, it really sickens me more and more to belong to a country like Pakistan. We've become a nation, where bringing up a simple opinion will get you killed. Fuck. I mean no offense to the moderate Pakistanis, but seriously, is that a country anyone with half a brain can be proud of?

Not to mention the recent gang rape in Karachi, Defence (or was it clifton?) - sorry not living there, these details escape me sometimes. The most shocking thing i came across was a facebook post about this rape. From a desi i went to university with in Canada, a seemingly liberal person... his status on fb claimed that apparently the girl was a prostitute, and thus can't actually be raped since thats what she (supposedly) did for a living anyway.

WHAT THE FUCK? Like seriously, an "educated" pakistani male that thinks like a fuckin' jahil. What she does for a living, is her fucking business, and whether she was a prostitute or not, isn't related to the fact that she was raped. RAPED motherfucker, which means she was sexually penetrated without her consent. So this cocksucker thinks its ok to rape sex workers.... aaa... it so sickens me. They prolly have a horrible enough life as it is.

Anyway, nuff venting, i've been on a super long break i know. Its time to continue on with where we left off. We were talking about the inequality of sex (sadly the above rape is a great example - i'll bet u not many adult males get raped on the streets of Karachi, and if they did, im sure they'd be shown much more sympathy than this poor soul)....

So consensual sex.... what do my male interviewees have to say about the balance of power involved?

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Fahad, Male, 24

Most of the times sex is something that’s favourable to men. I believe a couple needs to make the effort to make it more equal. Of course…men need to make more of an effort than women, but also the women need to speak up and say what they want.

But generally, Just the fact that the man has to insert something into the woman and the woman has to accept something from the man has a lot to do with social inequality.

*

Sultan, Male, 19

I think because society in general is more male-oriented, a lot of times according to what I’ve heard, the male species (this is not in all cases but in conservative societies this is common) just seeks his own pleasure and does not care about the females orgasm that much and seeks only to attain orgasm for himself.

To me a human being is a very complex creature - and to ask him/her to fit into any sort of role would be asking them to suppress their individuality. I don’t agree with gender roles in general.

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Khizer, Male, 26

Guys... I think get off a lot easier than girls do because it’s a man’s world – because we have been taught to believe that all our lives. Girls are taught to raise a family and make a house into a home… basically it’s what every guy wants – a woman that can turn a house into a home. That’s what I want. When a guy lives in a house its still a house, it’s a bachelor pad but once a woman comes in then she adds her little touches; fresh cake smell (how gay do I sound?)…Maybe this difference in guys and girls comes from our feudal ancestors who treated women like a piece of property... I don’t know…They are different beings – men are visual creatures they like to see things – that’s what triggers their emotions – like when I watch a basketball game I’m very emotional but at the same time its very visual, maybe that’s why women became an object. The way women are made they were made to attract men. Everything about them their hair, their eyes, their skin, etc. Men are hairy, bulky, they have pot bellies. A hot woman is curvaceous and is something nice to look at, like a flower. Men that are considered to be hot are muscular and muscle is bulky, you can tell that he’s a good worker, you can work him he’s a working dog –Men’s bodies are made to be used, I think women’s bodies are made to be appreciated.

I know someone who has had sex but has not yet had an orgasm. This girl I know she was going out with this guy because she doesn’t know any better. She is one of those girls that kind of got swept away when she was very young. She never met any other guy, she never got to explore her likes and dislikes – the first guy that came along, he tried and tried and tried and she agreed. Now that they are so ‘close’ (she is married and pregnant) she’s realized that she’s not attracted to him any longer in any way. But just because of the fact that she’s been with him for so long she’s still sleeping with him, but she doesn’t have any feeling. I know that because she told me. She feels very helpless. I’m sure he does everything he can but she doesn’t feel it.

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Imad, Male, 25

I don’t think nature or our physical differences have anything to do with the gender roles we live by. Not at all. I think our gender roles are determined by how our society has taken shape. I think women generally are a lot more energetic and man is essentially lazy – even if you compare it with lions – you see that the lioness hunts and you know thats how it is. What pisses the man off is if he loses control and authority – which is where gender roles came up from. It has nothing to do with nature or our physical differences. But clearly….it is because of these ‘roles’ that sex is usually not based on both peoples pleasure….equally. Men want control and authority in this part of life too.

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Qasim, Male, 26

Majority of the times ‘sex’ is just the guy getting off.... that’s it .. there are very few circumstances that pleasures the woman... I’m not saying there aren’t guys out there that wont go the extra mile... but majority of the times when the guys satisfied that’s the end of it... as a whole... despite how far we've moved ahead.... not just as a nation …but as humankind… its still at a point where the man is still superior... for the lack of a nicer way of putting it (laughs) men are seen as being more of a sexual creature than the woman is. So it will end when the guy is happy. It’s not hard to get the guy going again... but most of the time it will just stop there.

I wouldn’t say that has anything to do with the physical differences between men and women... but when u look at the sexual roles... it does make a difference... but I don’t see it making a difference outside of the bedroom.

*

Ali, Male, 29

Sex can be quite ‘equal’ I think... it goes both ways....and generally, that’s the way it should be. It just depends on who you’re talking about – but it certainly can be an equal act.

I think physical aspects of our bodies do contribute our gender roles. Men try to look strong and build up their bodies…the way they act just follows that. Women try to look physically appealing to attract a suitable mate…and the role they fall into is just a result of that. Basically, everyone is trying to reproduce and better their genes…we try and follow gender roles that will better our chances… it’s a race of being attractive and finding the best mate…


*



Ok, so Ali is the only one amongst the men who thinks sex can be an equal act. Fahad’s opinion sort of mirrors Ayesha’s…which is most unexpected coming from a guy…

“Just the fact that the man has to insert something into the woman and the woman has to accept something from the man has a lot to do with social inequality.”

He doesn’t go as far as comparing it with impalement but at least he recognizes the ‘giving’ and ‘taking’ aspect of power involved in intercourse. Even within the context of sado-masochism a ‘top’ is the dominant partner and a ‘bottom’ is submissive. It’s no coincidence that in regular, missionary sex…women are naturally at the bottom and men on top. The terms ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ obviously have roots in a classic male/female dominant/submissive contrast. This inequality in the bedroom bubbles over and bleeds into every other aspect of our lives, and hence,

“Guys I think get off a lot easier than girls do because it’s a man’s world…”

Khizer’s view on gender roles is very conservative…and I’m sure he’s pushing the wrong buttons on anyone with even a slightly feminist position in life. It’s obvious he thinks a woman’s place is in the home and a man should go out and work. He especially hits a sore nerve with me when he says,

“The way women are made they were made to attract men…”

At, this point I’m thinking – are you serious? Of course during the interview I kept my mouth shut….but jeez! I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement, and in a social setting I would definitely debate that further… I most certainly do not think women were made to attract men…that is not our purpose in life (many have tried to make us believe otherwise)… neither is it to turn a house into a home. It’s a sweet and confused compliment I think, where he’s proclaiming that a house can never truly be a home without a woman…it is sweet… but again, this is not our purpose in life. Maybe if he had said women were made to bear children….it wouldn’t be so bad. One of our biological purposes is to bear children….but it’s a choice, not an obligation. If a woman chooses to focus on her career or something else…she shouldn’t expect to hear comments about infertility! (Not that Khizer said any such thing) But it’s true, in our culture…you’re expected to start popping out babies soon after marriage… the fact that I’ve already waited several years…pisses off a lot of gossipy old women. At several social events I am asked when I will be bringing ‘good news’…ARGH! I cannot tell you how much I wish those people would lay off… I’m sure there are rumours circulating about my infertility… but whatever…these types of questions could be much more painful, if infertility were actually the case….these women don’t stop and think they can actually hurt someone. Expectations, expectations….social norms…gender roles…to me it sounds like the incantations a witch would be screaming, dancing around her cauldron, when she’s about to curse someone….and yet it’s a curse we all have to live with.

Imad claims that men want control and authority in all aspects of life…including the bedroom…and that is where gender roles come from. To him, it has nothing to do with biological differences…it’s completely a social construct. I find it interesting that he says men are lazy and women are energetic – especially, because in a traditional setting men are seen as the breadwinners…the workers…or like Khizer our man with ‘traditional’ values says,

“…(man) he’s a good worker, you can work him he’s a working dog…”

It’s wonderful to see such diverse opinions…it brings so much more to the blog…we have Sultan who doesn’t believe in gender roles all together… he doesn’t think there should be any such expectation at all since it would require suppressing individuality….he’s right…but once again...he describes a scenario from a ‘perfect’ world…we simply cannot exist without stereotyping and having pre-conceived notions of how we are supposed to live…how we are supposed to be…it’s who we are…we are judgmental creatures and putting everyone into neat little categories helps us maintain order and sanity in our lives…for the most part. Of course, we can challenge…we do so…that is what progresses our species (or gets them shot - in Pakistan :( ).

But as we erase certain aspects of inequality…more are created…we need to keep broadening our minds to stop our selves from being swallowed whole….

We're a country with an actual blasphemy law... in this day and age. And not everyone thinks thats retarded. All the levels of inequality in our country are alarming. Gender is a part of that.

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Now this isn't directly related to what we're discussing...but it definitely illustrates the level of inequality...We're in such a sad state. I know there are plenty of decent Pakistani men out there... its time for you not to be silent!