Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thoughts During Navaratri

Namaste readers,

Those of you who follow the holy days of Hinduism know that the period of time known as Navaratri has begun yeah, I'm a bit late in acknowledging that. Sorry! Still, better late than never in regards to writing something on it, I guess.

Before I share my personal thoughts on the occasion of Navaratri, I should probably link to more information on the topic. I will link rather than write on what Navaratri actually is, since, well, there are people more learned on it than I am. Among those more learned are people at the Art of Living, who have written a series of knowledge sheets on Navaratri, which I have just linked to here.

Anyway, these thoughts of mine aren't really related to Navaratri per se...they are tangentially related in that they're about issues of gender and equality, since Navaratri is a period devoted to worshipping the Goddess in Hinduism. But these thoughts of mine take on a certain...profoundness on the nights of Navaratri.

Basically...considering all the inequality, injustice, and oppression women from all over the world face today, sometimes I feel ashamed to be a man, a male, whatever term you want to use. I know some people would say there are evil women out there too, and there are, but systemically, me being a male saves me from more brutality than if I were female. And then there's all the cultural oppression out there, saying women should only be confined to certain roles, meaning I as a male benefit once more.

I hate it. I hate this fact that just because I'm a man means I get to be free from these inequalities. Many men take it as a blessing, well, for me it's a curse, because it means I have the stigma of being born an oppressor, being born a benefactor of a system that excludes the other half...being born evil.

I honestly can't handle it. But as tempting as a sex-change operation is, I honestly don't have the courage to be medically maimed to be free from the male badge. And I honestly know no other way of freeing myself from male privilege, so...I'm stuck.

If I had to ask one question of the Hindu Goddess, be Her in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, et al, it would be: why am I male? Why was I born into a gender that my own personal conscience can't handle being? Sure, the obvious answer is that we're all born into equal parts male and female incarnations, i.e. we've been both over the course of our many lifetimes. But that answer alone isn't satisfactory for me, because why have I been born a male now, at a time when oppression against women is at a peak? Why am I male now, when men are reasserting their privilege and power when they don't deserve it, and representing me when I don't want to be represented that way?

Of course, all this could be my mental maladies acting up again, clouding my thoughts and adding to my delusions. I oppress myself as much as men oppress women these days. Still, everyone with half a decent conscience keeps saying the same thing to a man, I have it better than women. And I don't want it!

What makes it all the worse for me is my inherent programming as a male. My Y chromosome alone means I can never grasp the thought processes and intelligence of women. As a result I keep saying things that are offensive, and I can never grasp how the ways I act hurt women as a whole...because it's the way I'm wired.

Of all the issues out there that personally hurt me, gender is by far the most devastating to my psyche every time I think about it. Discussing it beings an abysmal low emotional period for me every time. And I'll never be free from it...

I'm sorry for the depressing whiny rant here, readers. I just don't know how to...well, take it like a man.

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