Monday, March 26, 2012

Bhai Chod: "Because why should only behens get fucked?"

So if you’re a desi on twitter, chances are you’ve probably already heard of Bhaichod :) An incredible woman, who is not afraid of speaking her mind and calling it like she sees it, check out more of her musings here. I’ve asked her to do a guest post on Nice Mangos….cummon…. with a name like Bhai Chod…. How could I not? *drum roll* :

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What would you do if someone asked you this question?

Admittedly, a name like Bhaichod is a surefire way to attract the dregs of the internet, which in itself comprise of the dregs of a global society joined by magical cables and screens. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you

But how should 'one' react?

How about humour?

Why does someone wonder whether I wear undies or not? Is there some sort of taboo associated with underpants that I am not aware of? Are panties the new frontier for local mailas or maulvis or both? Is there a Panties Please Pehen-na (PPP) team operating that has sought to focus on my blog? Questions such as these have me awake and bathed in cold sweat in the middle of the night...questions for which I may never have an answer.

(Much like how this guy feels.)

But of course, not every question is purely hilarious

The above makes you question what constitutes "normal" (if there is any such thing) in terms of sexuality. But the reason it sometimes doesn't feel funny is because you are the object which someone else's power is being forced upon.

You wonder whether it is the culture of repressing mention of sexuality - along with defecation and urination - in the public sphere that creates these desires by exoticizing them.

Are the dukaan uncles who blankly wrap sanitary pads in unmarked brown paper bags symptomatic of the brazen desires of men in our society? So deprived by the lack of knowledge about the wondrous contents of what sanitary pads might touch that their fantasies have gone into hyperdrive, manifesting as a need to sexualize any act a female performs.

Every question sent to my blog is almost definitely written by a man.

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(Aside from having a guest blogger, I've also asked the wonderful @Pathipen to be a guest artist for this post. This brilliant and fitting piece is entitled 'Girlstick'. I for one adore the creep factor here, and the girl factor, don't cringe boys, its ok... its a natural part of life. Do check out her blog!)

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Men who are eager to explore the limits of their sexual selves - a fact that all women regardless of era, geography, culture and religion have been subject to as long as mothers have spoken to their daughters.

And in response to these unwarranted explorations, I can choose to mock them, or start pondering over it with some half-baked theory.

Let's explore these two roles a little deeper, shall we?

Being a woman who chooses to ridicule these conventions doesn't win you everyone's approval. Time and again, I am singled out for choosing a name like Bhaichod. The disapproval is not reserved for those who regularly use the desecration of female relatives as an acceptable colloquialism, nor does pointing out the hypocrisy of such behaviour find you any friends...well, unless you have the privilege to know the women I do on twitter :) *shout out to all you lovely ladies for being "you"*

So anyway, being funny is only half acceptable, which leaves being academic about such concerns. The advantage an academic argument has is that you can be taken seriously. In fact, the more you pepper your words with wikipedia-copy-pasted theories and drop the names of odd-sounding academics, the more respect you accrue.

But the further you dig up these references, the further you travel from the mainstream, the more you alienate most people and end up with a thin slice of the people pie.

What if I decide to get angry about this?

Unfortunately, our society reserves the same fate for angry women that it does for friend-zoned guys - once you cross over, there is no turning back.

An angry feminist, or feminazi - to use a more delightfully popular term - is one who doesn't pluck her eyebrows or shave her armpits simply to spite men (as if) and even if she does, she is one whose anger at men is obviously the cause of some deep-rooted and irrational hatred towards the Y-chromosome which is little more than a storm-in-a-teacup.

All these lazy and crude stereotypes have managed to achieve is drive said angry women further up the wall, to the point that they lose their own sense of femininity and are reduced to simply becoming anti-men, their only identity being defined by opposition to the Other, rather than any sense of self.

So how does one react?

The answer might lie not in a multiple choice approach, but a multiple layered one. A woman is not, and can not, be restricted to one pigeon-hole. Men might prefer their goals to be clear and their approaches to be linear, but women often find themselves occupying several roles and emotions at the same time, and even revel in such situations when possible.

But perhaps the biggest deterrent to this multiple-approach is that for all the feelings we may feel, we are given very little clue, or space, to articulate them.

If we return to the tumblr questions I was asked, we see that they are the products of men exercising their curiosity and crudity towards sexual matter. Much of this world is structured to allow an unashamed freedom for men to do so.

Male, and mainstream, humour is repeatedly sexual, but that's just ‘shits-and-giggles.’ Mainstream curses - in every language that I have heard of - are also primarily around the act of sex, and these are words that are almost inevitably regular when uttered by men, but can get risque or even rebellious when spoken by women, showcasing their relative exclusion from such spheres. Male achievements and ambitions are also often brazenly sexual, with everyone from idiots to intellectuals holding an orgasm as their purpose of existence.

Nature seems to give this advantage to men. When they have the first stirrings of sexual impulses, they manifest in a visibly erect appendage and a visually verifiable orgasm, which they spew in a sticky mess (yikes, doesn’t sound too enviable now does it!?)

Women on the other hand deal with the development of appendages that are visible to all. The girls who revel in the new found attention two sacks of fat endow them with, or those who hunch their backs in vain attempts to try and cover the sirens of sin that have suddenly sprouted on them.

And then they also have to deal with the trauma and wonder of mensuration, which immediately saddles responsibilities and disasters on a monthly basis. There are those who have to call home to ask for a new uniform-wali shalwar and a pair of panties while they try and come to grips with how much their life has suddenly changed, and those that sharply turn every time they get up a chair to see if there are any traffic-signal-red stains left behind.

And when we get to our desires - oh, our layered, murky, impossible to isolate desires. Desires which are caught between the dance of curses and stares, guitar solos and chocolate eyes, glimpses and grazes, shame and submission.

But of course, these advantages are not as natural as they seem.

Instead, because our culture and our selves privilege one set of expression over another, it is a given norm that male sexuality is obvious and undeniable. The journey towards sexual freedom has not done as much for the liberation of women as it has allowed for the proliferation of shockingly disgusting behaviour, such as the growing success of the Axe deodorant commercials.

But not all hope is lost amidst a nerdy man selling odor-repellent on the corpse of female dignity.

This very blog is testament to the possibility of having multiple approaches to these conversations. About the possibility of exploring these feelings in a sense that does not intimidate. But the only way to appreciate this space, instead of admiring it as only some socio-political gesture, is to embrace these ideas. To start seeing that the silence and shame and shock that we are forced to associate with sex are all superficial to what our truer emotions are. That they are facets which only display the most limited and limiting approaches. That exploring further doesn’t mean shedding these thoughts, but surpassing them.

We can’t keep pretending we don’t feel too. Nor do we need to. Embrace the female octopus...


  1. Fahad tanwiri. Fahadtanwiri@gmail.comMarch 26, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Appreciated and propagated.

  2. Well said, as always :)

    It's undeniable that patriarchy and brute force,for lack of a better term,give men the same advantages when it comes to talking about sex,that those same men enjoy in other spheres of life as well.

    I love that unlike many others, at least in my experience, you appreciate that what seems as criminal to many, may just be normal for a confused/ignorant man (although that sounds like a very elitist line!)

    I actually think that talking about sex is constrained for everyone in Pakistan,probably more so for women than for men,but it's not like men can talk about it openly either. If I raise the topic of porn then I am immediately branded as a perv by all females. One of my friends immediately got the reputation of being a horny weirdo when he mentioned in class (we were studying Freud and human sexuality was PART of the discussion!) that he had read that women were hornier than men. Needless to say, no one but the lecturer (a woman,btw) was ready to talk about it.

    Does that lead to a conducive discussion? Is that a 'safe space' to talk about sexuality?

    I would argue that not even men in Pakistan can talk about sex openly. Talking about it between friends isn't necessarily 'free', in the same sense that a group of revolutionaries aren't 'free' when they are plannning a protest in secret.

    It's also heartening that you mentioned how feminism can let itself down when it allows itself to be dominated by anti-male discourse - something that Barbara Kay played upon in her rant against feminism a few weeks ago in Toronto ( Please note btw that Barbara is a right-wing commentator and I disagree with most of her opinions.

    The other point on feminism,that you touched upon,is that it has been bashed by many for supposedly only caring about white women and leaving the rest in the dust. Similarly, the journey towards 'sexual freedom' as you call it, seems to have left behind the women. Now I'm a little dubious of this claim that we now enjoy sexual freedom,largely because of this point - what 'freedom' when it's only men who are even nominally free? This may come across as really conservative but does nudity on television really equate to sexual freedom, especially when it is often gratuituous and exploitative? What sort of freedom does that Axe commercial symbolize?

    I didn't understand your distinction between men and women (that the former are linear but the latter occupy several roles). It seems like a statement that would be criticized to death for being patriarchal and simplistic if the roles were reversed. Why can't men occupy multiple roles? More importantly,is there any evidence for this belief? You understand of course that this is not just me being defensive,but rather an attempt to learn and maybe prod your thoughts too...

    I read through a number of posts on this blog today,for the first time. And Eiynah mentioned in one of the postst that even when she identified herself as a girl, other females were unwilling to talk to her about sex. So I wonder - is it that women have been conditioned by a history of suppression to not talk about their feelings and experiences?

    And how do we get to a 'safe space' in a relatively conservative society. In fact, what does that idealized conversation even look like? I'm not particularly interested in hearing about someone's genitals, as it happens. I'm more interested in what turns them on,what pleases them, etc...

    just some thoughts and questions..

  3. This perv also reminds me of the one you wrote about in your post..
    NJ ..that guy was a real character. Why are these men so obsessed with smells?

    for example:and also coz vibrator don't have that natural smell & warm unique feeling... you know that vapour mix of pheromones with some sweat.

    so gross!

    Great post as always! love the blog.

  4. re: your angry feminist remarks. rush limbaugh, crazy nut bag in the states, is the one who came up with the term "feminazi." the idea that women would choose not to pluck or shave to spite men is exactly the type of thing rush would say. moreover it's generally not true. (ask someone who doesn't and they'd probably say something to the effect of being lazy or not wanting to buy into societal notions of what constitutes femininity.)

    so i'm not sure why you would say these stereotypes only encourage angry women to "lose their sense of femininity or becoming anti-men." it seems to me that you are in essence confirming the stereotypes, as though "angry women" are incapable of serious analysis, thoughtful dialogue, and saavy responses.

  5. Anon i dont know abt your gender but you too are perv. Make sure what search words landed you on Nicemangos blog !
    Re smells yes human being are animals and all animal species attract opposite gender by scents. If you wanna make sure; Buy any domestic pets and observe. And don't hide or deny that you never happened to find someone your oppsite gender attractive by his/her natural scent. nj