My Letter to Chetan Bhagat (I Hope you Read This)

Just stop Mr. Bhagat stop telling women what to do and what not do, you and many other men, well-intentioned, men get on my nerves when you tell women what to do and what not to do. The time you spend writing to women about how they should take on their mother-in-laws, how working women are better off than stay at home moms and your latest gem telling women about the five things they “should change,” you should probably focus on telling men especially the so-called “educated” men about how to treat women….

My issue with you is that you never check your male privilege….Your latest argument which reads Five Things Women Need to Change About Themselves is so rooted in male privilege that I cannot take it anymore. So here is my open letter to you..

You begin your write up by patronizing women and give us a list of things that men ought to do to improve women’s situation and then you go screw yourself up by saying that sadly men cannot do any of the above because they are ignorant and stupid and egoistic. You say that the pampered Indian male ego has a long way to go – My answer to you is that it is never late to begin and its time you started trying. And maybe take my advice and stop the usual “Men are like this only,” excuse – Give me a break, seriously!

Rather than telling women what to do and what not to do, why don’t you focus on what your gender, which has benefited from women’s oppression for ages, should do. Yes, I said it – though I know a lot of Indian women may not agree but the feminist in me is not afraid of calling out Indian men and their privilege.
You say that women need to do self-reflection, believe me I have been a woman for almost 31-years, and there has never been an instance when I have not done a self-reflection. Indian culture and our patriarchal society does not give women too many options, all our actions are measured, calculated and taken only after a lot of self-reflection – which sadly ends in only feeling more helpless in the current situation. For instance, even the basic act of choosing what to wear involves a lot of self-reflection – is it safe, would I be teased if I wear this….so you see contrary to what you think we women indulge in a lot of self-reflection sadly we don’t get too many opportunities to give voice to our reflections…

Yes women judge each other, we do because we struggle with our own internalized sexism and from the time we are born we are taught both consciously and unconsciously to compete with each other. We compete with other women, in the marriage market in the beauty department so we develop with a lot of sexist tendencies and are harsher on other woman however, we don’t need to hear that from a man…Yes most women would look at a woman in a short skirt and say slut, but why do we do that? I think you are smart enough to find the answer….

Yes we fake, to please your ego – to keep peace at home, because divorce is not an easy option for us! So if you and others of your ilk begin to check your ego we will stop faking it too!

You say that women need to be more ambitious and that is how we should earn your respect….how about you stop staring at our chest when we give a presentation or when we get promoted you don’t say that “She must have slept with the boss….” Will men respect us only if we have a career and our ambitious….Don’t men respect moms who put away their careers to raise them, then why don’t they respect their wives who want to do the same to raise a family with them!

So Mr. Bhagat on women’s day do us women a favor, stop telling us what to do….We have been told that since the day we are born….How about you check your male privilege and look at what you can do….Really let us women decide what we should do, what we need to do and what we can do….

For everyone of you who are wondering What the hell I am ranting about and why I am angry? Here is Chetan Bhagat’s advice to Indian women that has me all up in arms….
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6 thoughts on “My Letter to Chetan Bhagat (I Hope you Read This)

  1. Pingback: Five things women need to change about themselves-Chetan Bhagat - Page 2 - IndusLadies

  2. Well written article and well thought views no doubt. Despite being a woman for the past 23 years I would sheepishly admit that “Chetan Bhagat” couldn’t be more right about the changes women need to bring into their lives. Although, his article could have been more well received, had he preceded it with genuine changes that need to be brought in the attitude of Indian males and not by saying that “we’r a hard nut to crack”. It belies his true intentions of gender equality which he so righteously advocates. Let’s admit it, although, it does bruise our feminist ego, he might be a little right. We, by we I mean a majority of us, are not as ambitious as we ought to be. We do not utilize our full potential and intellect on various occasions. We do, tend to judge other women a lot more than we need to and so on.
    Judging other women give a boost to our self-confidence, I might be damned to say it, but it is kinda true. We might we tagged as “unambitious” but that’s only because we love our family more than we value our careers. And have to, time and again, make sacrifices out of our unconditional love for our loved ones . We laugh at our men’s silly jokes because we know they’ve had a bad day too and just want to make them feel better. It’s easy to say “be a little selfish” but can we really bring ourselves to go on a girls night out when our child is sick. Or go to movies and skip our child’s fancy dress competition. The answer is obvious. Women are anything but irresponsible and selfish. Head- strong, hardworking, independent woman knows her rights and boundaries in equal measure. She needs no self-asserting man to tell her what she’s supposed to do. She’ll tell you off in an instant. Coz there’s no denying that women are here to stay!!!!

    • Hey Juh!

      Thanks for your wonderful feedback. Well, I am not sure if Chetan Bhagat upset my feminist ego. Yes, I agree that there is a lot that women need to work on but I don’t think I need to hear that from a man. I am really wary of men like Bhagat, who masquerade as champions of women’s rights but are unwilling to look at their own invisible male privilege.

      I think as women we can focus on the changes that we women need to bring about, but at the same time men like Bhagat also need to work on themselves. Yes, women do criticize other women, but where does that thought come from. I tend to think that patriarchy pits one woman against the other. For instance, women are taught from a young age that no matter what they do they are never perfect – too fat, too thin, too pale, too dark. So you grow up rarely being confident of yourself, however, men on the other hand are not socialized to hate their bodies or be self-conscious. In the marriage and dating market women compete with each other, so thus we are always pitted against each other rather than become allies in this fight for women’s empowerment.

      That being said I completely agree with your last sentence that yes, there is no denying that women are here to stay 🙂

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