Saturday, April 12, 2008

I know I already blogged today, but I'm just too exhausted and wanted to spend some minutes up on the rooftop by myself to catch the last few minutes of dusk.

The weather's been quite punishing, which exacerbates the power failures that have been happening with increasing regularity. Haven't been getting enough sleep, and waking up earlier than usual - which is a good thing, and I should be doing this more often - but the end result of the fatigue and heat... well I'm just exhausted.

The Indian visa application was a disaster. It's a long and boring story, but after two failed trips and too much bureaucracy to face, and I decided to give up the attempt. Would normally be feeling guilty for doing so, but in this case, I think I can safely say that I really did try my best.

So this means I have no plans for the upcoming Bangla New Year. The last time I was here, I wore a sari and went out to some park to hang out. I am NOT doing it again this year. I find myself rejecting the notion of beauty as held by the general female population of this country. I haven't yet really thought about this, so it still feels like a knee-jerk reaction on my part.

Objectification of women occurs in all cultures, and some would argue its even worse in the West, but there is a uniformity about it here that unsettles me. Women objectify themselves, that is not something I can deny or argue about coherently, but at the very least, in the West, there is still a form of self expression in that objectification. What 'type' of beauty would you like to assume? Here, the eyeliner is piled on in the same fashion, the jewellery of different design but worn with the same effect, and of course, a sari is a sari.

It's all very futile anyway since regardless of self-expression or no, the end results are the same, but that's the distinction I will offer if I am asked to articulate my uneasiness.

And of course, I would not dare to go further to belittle women here who do conform to this culture's notion of beauty. It doesn't require a rejection of culture to assert your rights, but I suppose there is so physical evidence of this assertion, I end up being too presumptuous about things.


Another factor is the obligation for such conformity. A woman who does not conform as such is regarded as a misfit by her own peers. I don't know what the men think, but all negative comments I have ever received regarding my physical appearance all comes from women. This could be, of course, because the men are too polite/shy/conservative to say as much, but it also seems like they don't expect it of me since I am a foreigner. And if they don't, then why do the women?

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