Monday, April 16, 2012

Dude, give us a break!

(If I have addressed men in this post, it does not mean all of them out there. But it surely means most of them)

If a woman accepts her sexuality, it is a mistake. If she doesn't, it is a mistake.
If a woman embraces and exhibits her beauty, it is a mistake. If she doesn't, it is a mistake.

Then really, what the fuck is she supposed to do?

I was doing my usual thing of Facebook surfing today and one friend whom I respect a lot had updated his status: "I can appreciate her voice but I can't appreciate her trying to act cute. Lol. Semma Comedy piece"
and he had posted this video:

Now, frankly, had his status been - "Wow, I appreciate this girl's voice", I would not have bothered clicking on the video. Perhaps even if he had given a negative review of the song, I might not have been too interested. But here is a guy accusing a girl of putting scene and acting cute. Ah, the vicious woman in me pounced on the video with curiosity and glee. Honest. In retrospect, my intentions surprised me but there I was, already partly happy that some vain woman was being put in place. 

I do wish to generalize the trait - though any pop psychology book would tell you that women are adept at bitching about each other and carrying charged emotions within them while men, though, might not show as much of empathy and emotional quotient, will never really bitch at the back and will always stand by in times of need.

Movies and mega serials amply offer to support and propagate these claims. If you ask me personally, well, yes, to an extent, that might be true but really, that doesn't make one gender any nobler than the other. I could list dozens of stories that speak of what harm a man is capable of. So, in the end, each score at a few places and lose at others. My point here is not to debate who is better than the other. 

The video above shows the girl - she must be around 15 to 20 years of age - recording her version of the song from Osthi. It doesn't take a genius brain to figure out that she is trying hard to accessorize the audio with visuals of the glamorous side of her self. In plain words, trying to act cute. The important question is why do we automatically register this as a crime and how big a crime is this? Very severe, you would think, looking at the comments (some from women too) that proceeded:

Now I officially need to pour acid in my eyes!

She has the 'come slap me' face! So annoying!

We write slogging for so many hours and got 2000 fans in three she sings like something is stuck to her lips and she gets 3000++ fans... ena kodumeh ..

 i dont get why the F....the eyes and lips were focused in the video...even in porn i havent seen yet?

 bro u absolutely right..she giving the cute pose with thick make up and looking like a hooker which trying to get bussiness by her look

And all she did was sign a song - of course, in not a modest way.

It might be a very impulsive thing but have we ever wondered why we are so averse to women who blatantly try to attract attention with their looks?

Of course, as the comments enlighten us, such an act is akin to selling your sexual appeal to gain some advantage. So, in this video, we register the message that the girl is not just showing her talent but trying to win by advertising her talent through her looks. 

So, beauty is seen as an unfair advantage that women are born with and we are expected NOT to use this advantage to manipulate men. Somehow it is registered in their psyche that women can manipulate with their looks (see comment 3 above).They don't like it, it seems. Okay, noble indeed. Accepted.

However, the irony is, they too, do not seem so clear with their ideology. A confusing love-hate affair with beauty is what is prevalent in the male species. With a highly evolved eye to judge looks, they find it inevitable that every woman who passes by be rated on her appearance. From the heroine who comes on the screen to the jogger who passes by in the beach, every woman is either a 'super figure', 'sumaar figure', 'mocka figure' or 'attu figure'. The worst types are those who believe they are doing a favor for humanity by passing this comment loud to make sure the girl hears them. What is the most desired qualification for a bride in a matrimonial ad? To be fair. Who is the girl who gets the maximum attention in class? The best looking one. 

Youtube comments section is perhaps the best place to see the primitive gender behavior. Whether the woman on screen is dancing or singing or knitting or talking or driving in a race - without fail, at least 60% of the comments that follow are a testimony to her looks. Give it a try and see for yourself. She is first an object to please the eye and only then will all other thinking follow - goes the uncivilized and genetically ingrained train of thought. 

"Yenda ippadi?" I ask a man and he replies "Alzhaga rasikanum maa... naanga laam alzhaga rasika therinja kalaignargal"

(Translate: "Why this tendency" I ask a man and he replies "Beauty should be admired...we are the artists who admire beauty")

Right, so here we have highly evolved Machiavelli descendants who believe in appreciation of art and beauty and this is their reasoning:

" I want a woman to be beautiful but the woman should NOT over a limit exhibit her beauty. If she does, she is a slut"

This 'limit' that they talk of is relative to each one of them though a common consensus is seen, which changes with nation, class and generation. So, today, for most of them, it is okay if a woman wears a shirt but it is not okay if it is too tight and showing the outline of her body. It is okay if a woman wears lipstick but it is not okay if it is too bright and tawdry and supplemented with heavy foundation and eye shadow. It is okay if she is sleeveless but it is not okay if she shows her cleavage.

And as shown in the video, it is okay if she wants to shoot herself sing but not okay if she tries acting cute.

In short, slog to be pretty if you want our approval but be modest and humble in exhibiting it.

Hah, thank you guys. Sure we will try because we were after all born to obey your illogical whims.


CHIBI said...

That was quite the anger, you have expressed in your post..!

as a Male, i can't really justify or give a counter argument about it.. not even going to try..!.

However, the cause for this behavior, i should say is primarily fear of dominance. an expressive woman is considered dominant.. men by their natural quality like to be dominant. so try to suppress it, hence the name calling and comments.. and since it's no holds barred suppression, there's no limit to which is acceptable.

Sadly, it's will not change in this society cos it's not only the movies/TV that propagates it, but it's present even in the nature of order in many homes. father treats the mother pretty much like a master, seeing this from childhood, the guy also behaves the same way with other women..! I blame the family first, not the society.

abt the video, i found it to be a typical youtube performance.. every other video there is pretty much the same type of singing and expressions in front of a webcam..! it wasn't funny or dumb, not bad about the effort, she's covered it pretty well wit almost matching lyrics.

Anonymous said...

See: The Dirty Picture- Female Sexuality vs Patriarchy.


Sinduja said...

@Chibi: Is it fear of dominance? Hmmmmmm. Yeah, I do agree there are many with huge egos. More than fear, I think it is the inability to accept that someone they consider lesser can rise above them in skills and potential.

As for dominance, I know quite a handful of men who actually like dominant women. They are attracted to the power charisma in a few women. Small number of men but yes, it seems to be increasing.

This observation in the post, however, has to do mainly with the looks factor. Men seem to have an ambiguous love hate relationship with it. At the end of the day, I think it is the knowledge that they DO succumb to beauty but still the resistance and shame at this tendency. I think there is a conflict within themselves.

Sinduja said...

@V: What V, orey the stalking feminist blogs ah! :D

Thanks for the link. It seems like an interesting blog. Want to read all the posts someday.

Arumugam said...

The animal world is divided into male and female and humans into men and women,and what a tangle of trouble this has created:-)What delight too:-)Each desires the other,dreams of the other both for biological reasons and otherwise.

The desire of man is for the woman,Swiss author Madame de Stael famously penned,and the desire of women is for the desire of the man.One of the most fundemental psychological cues for a woman is irrestibility.The feeling that you are desirable.Of course both genders want to feel sexually irrestible but nature has bestowed women with that gift.

This irrestibility cue explains the willingness of many young women to enter wet T shirt contests and flash themselves at Mardi Gras in the US.While male exhibitionism is considered a psychiatric disorder and a crime,female exhibitionism is rarely considered a social problem and is exploited by 'both' men and women for different reasons.Closer to home,in India,recently released videos of Poonam pandey and tollywood actress sneha ullal on the internet are examples of that.

Now coming to your last part,the typical average male is envious of female sexual power aka a highly sexual women,partly because it seems unfair and unearned and also because in the dating/mating dance,men have to chase and prove themselves and women only have to wait and choose

I recently read a book'Self made man' in which a woman,Norah vincent dressed as a man to live a man's life and 'date' women.Of course only she knew she was a women and the women she dated thought she was a man.

She says

"Dating women as a man was a lesson in female power,and it made me of all things into a momentery misogynist.I saw my own sex from the ther side,and I disliked women irrationally for a while because of it.I disliked their entitlement to choose or dash me with a single finger,an execution so lazy,so effortless,that it made the defeats and even successes unbearably humiliating.Typical male power feels by comparision like a blunt intrument,its salvos and field strategies laughably small next to the damage a woman can do with a single cutting word:no"

Such an insightful passage no.Now you know where some that male envy comes from.

bomzie said...


I can't agree with a few of your statements

And all she did was sign a song - of course, in not a modest way.

Well, she sang the song, but its very bad. I saw it just so that I can get a proper perspective of your post. If not for that i would've closed the page within the first 20 seconds. It was crappy singing. Bad content and worse quality.

It might be a very impulsive thing but have we ever wondered why we are so averse to women who blatantly try to attract attention with their looks?

Again, are we really averse to women who try to attract attention with their looks? People do appreciate women who are sexy, but that alone won't take them far. Poonam Pandey, Mallika Sherawat, Amrita Arora, Diya Mirza are classic examples of looks can take you only so far. They should have the skill to keep the audience hooked, which means there should be good content, that is the reason why Katy Perry, Madonna, Kayley Williams, Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, Rihanna, etc. are/were successful.

Of course, as the comments enlighten us, such an act is akin to selling your sexual appeal to gain some advantage. So, in this video, we register the message that the girl is not just showing her talent but trying to win by advertising her talent through her looks.

And the audience's anger is directed not at her trying too woo with looks, but at her poor effort. It was neither visually pleasing nor acoustically. People would've accepted if at the least one aspect of the video is interesting, but this video fails on all levels and hence the anger.

That's my two cents on this piece. :)

So, tell me Sindu darling will you marry me?

Anonymous said...

Judging is OK, but passing comments in bad taste is... well I don't like it.
I saw the video - she does kind of look cute, no?

Add handful plus 1; I fall flat for powerful women.

Anonymous said...

@Arumugam - *clap clap clap*


sumitra said...

Very interesting post, Sinduja! I like the way you build your argument. It's always so systematic and logical. Yes, women are expected to be modest, we always tend to find women who express their sexuality as cheap or vulgar. I don't really know why this is, but it's not just the men, women react in the same way too, right?

Sinduja said...

@Arumugam: The desire of the man is for the woman and she desires his desire? Hmmm... so, is the natural world slated to be one where she is the object and he is the one to covet? No no.. no angry tone but I am curious :)

Does this have a scientific basis or are we just thinking from the point of social conditioning? I thought men want to feel needed and important too. Isn't that a psychological cue as well?

Frankly, women have a problem with their beauty too. I feel they simply do not know what to do with it - is it something to be proud of or is vanity a silly sin? Are the body and self one? Is it safe or is it progressive? There are simply too many factors confusing the mind.

Add to this the feminist revolution ideologies and many women associate the rebellious 'Why not?' question to everything involving the appearance. Simply too many women perhaps confuse 'breaking the norm courage' with the compelling psychological cue of irrestibility that you speak of.

As for your dating game concept, I don't agree. Men do the choosing first. Men choose a few and to them, try to prove. About the unfair and unearned part, yes, true.

Great passage you have quoted. Thanks. Male envy...ah. What flusters me the most is, I believe it all started as a vicious cycle. If pretty women are snobbish, I would blame men for having given them such treatment and attention and belief that they can truly yield power. Of course, it might be an evolutionary vulnerability. Can't blame either.

Sinduja said...

@Bomzie: Aditya, my point was not whether she deserved good treatment but that, the kind of comments she got was firstly, too harsh for just the crime of bad singing and two, not at all really related to singing. If you see the comments, they all target her for the way she tried to please with her looks. Therefore for your statement, "the audience's anger is directed not at her trying too woo with looks, but at her poor effort." - disagree, disagree.

Had she sung well, would they have over looked it? I doubt. There would still have been comments on that, after acknowledging that she sang well.

Sing me a song better than her (easy no?) and I will marry you.

Sinduja said...

@V: Only now looking at the video va? Cha, what is this, V?

Cute eh? Hmmm. What you like big eyes or wot.

You fall for powerful women? *Bigger hmmm* Freud would have a LOT to say on that.

Anonymous said...

Does this have a scientific basis or are we just thinking from the point of social conditioning?

There is an explanation possible through the selfish gene concept:
Every organism would like to propagate its own genes.
Success for a male is to impregnate as many females as possible, whereas for a female the investment in propagating its genes is to ensure the survival of the limited organisms that it produces. The propagation cost for a female is high whereas for the male it is low. That is why the male woos many females, whereas female tries to involve the male in ensuring the success of its progeny.


Sinduja said...

@sumitra: That is so true Sumitra. In fact, we are acerbic to them equally - which is kind of sad because to me, it seems like it all stems from innate jealousy and fear; an evolution-instilled fear of whether she, by means of flaunting her resources, would end up getting the better men! (though many might find it difficult to agree with this)

Sinduja said...

@V: Woh my gaad. Yes! Richard Dawkins! So the men is the depositor and woman the depository, in crude terms - which supports Arumugam's point.

Marriage must indeed be so against nature for men. Sigh!

Sinduja said...

@V: Suddenly struck me - 'powerful women'. How did you define powerful here? The ability to be assertive and get things done her way and go up the ladder? The one who is mature and sturdy when it comes to emotions? The one who can manage difficult people and situations with knack? or the one with charisma who quietly has a no-nonsense approach to life?

Anonymous said...

How did you define powerful here?

All of the above, in short, women who know their minds and go about their tasks with self-assurance.

Could it be a reflection of the mother fixation? Freudian?


Sinduja said...

@V: All of the above? Damn.. I should have never given the choices!

Yeah... a lot of Freud is inane they say but I think it would def strongly mean something - liking powerful women. It could also mean you like going for what poses a challenge - not just with women; everything.

Anonymous said...

Damn.. I should have never given the choices!

It could also mean you like going for what poses a challenge - not just with women; everything.
Hmm. I admire strong women and I like the cute ones too (like being protective of them). Shows that both, Freud and Dawkins, maybe at play. :)

PS: While I like both the above, i am not enamored by those who use cute and climb the ladder. Is there something wrong?

R-A-J said...

Hahaha.. I hate to bring this up but Sinduja, me thinks that the only person who's really obsessed bout the gender thing here is just you :D

No offence but I do think that she really looks corny n is actually tryin to look cute n if guy had done somethin similarly weird, I'm sure the net-junta wud pick that up n comment on it in the same manner - the point here is on the corniness that she displays n her gender has nothin to do with it here :)

The anonymity n democracy on the net has made it a fabulous place where people express their individual preferences n prejudices quite strongly n if there is something that people don't like, they'll almost always say it on the net without mincing words, unlike the diplomatic real word, where there is the pressure of following social norms - so yes, if there are sexists or chauvinists out there, they will exercise it on the net - but this one is just not it! :D

In Kerala, there was this dude called Santosh Pandit who made videos on the net and honestly, he looked like an freakin idiot (check: - but me a big fan!) and there was a unified uproar against the way he looked, the things he did n on his general demeanor as such.

Similarly here too, methinks people are commenting on the corniness and the effort she does to look cute (n she is using her sexuality for the same), n the effort is actually showing, and thats what everyone's talking about here; that she's a woman is not the argument here at all - if a guy had done something corny like this, the net junta wud hav similarly picked it up :)

n honestly, this lady is phenomenally corny n thts exactly whts enhancin the virality of this video.. :)

Sinduja said...

@RAJ: "me thinks that the only person who's really obsessed bout the gender thing here is just you" - Aw come onnn Raj. Don't be such a guy! :P

Hmmm... you have a very valid point. We would have been equally negative to a man who would have tried to act that way. I just wanted to use the example to start with the point of how we do not, in general, encourage vain and showy behavior in women especially when they do NOT have anything intelligent to offer. Inappropriate example, maybe. And all the attack somehow targets her being a slut, which I think is quite miles apart from corny.

Of course, thinking about it now, I am able to think of one of this kind of bias for men too - of how, easy it is for them to fall prey to being called 'gay'.

And diplomatically you have avoided touching upon any of the other points huh? Very the nice! Thanks for writing in Raj. What happ to your blog? Don't write only for competitions okay? :)

Sinduja said...

@V: "Hmm. I admire strong women and I like the cute ones too" - *Blah stare* - Okay, basically you like women. Period.

But hey, nothing wrong in that, wokay?

" i am not enamored by those who use cute and climb the ladder. Is there something wrong?" - On the contrary, if you had been enamored by them, there would have been something seriously wrong! :)

Anu Krishnan said...

I think it's the whole 'unfairness' of the situation that irks people here. A plain Jane finds would find it preposterous if the good-looking girl grabs all the attention, despite the former being more talented and what not. And most men, I believe, think it's unjust that they have no control over their drooling abilities that let them be swooned over by pretty girls who use their looks to their advantage. Almost every guy has one such experience to share.

"We write slogging for so many hours and got 2000 fans in three she sings like something is stuck to her lips and she gets 3000++ fans... ena kodumeh .."

He's very obviously pissed off at how easily the girl has worked her magic, while he has been slogging his rear end off.

That is what makes people be so averse to women who pout, apply tons of make up and dress 'provocatively'.

And don't we all have the same aversion towards guys who try to act smart?

Arumugam said...

@V: Thank you for the Dawkins POV:-)

Sinduja & V : I couldn't stop smiling at your conversion.Loved the Freudian angle and Sinduja's *Blah stare* had me in splits!:)

bomzie said...

Perception Sindu, perception.

Get ready for a recording of "O re piyaaaa...." ;)

harishsram said...

i wish i could read through the comments section to see how this argument you started with this article went. But unfortunately i dont have the patience.

All i can say after reading this post is, the answer to all your questions likes in the post you wrote before - 'The ignored Zen Habit' - why did you get offended by people when they exhibit their laurels & one minute fame in FB?

Tangled up in blue... said...

I'm a little late here, but this is something that I've wondered about often. In fact, since I see Dawkins was already mentioned once, I'll mention him again. I was reading his book The Selfish Gene and he remarked upon how in pretty much every species that is divided into two sexes, it is the males who attempt to make themselves look attractive in order to win over females. The birds with the brightest feathers, the lions with their luxuriant manes, the dungbeetle with its big ball of dung - all in an attempt to make sure the female chooses them to father her offspring with.

When it comes to Homo sapiens, this undergoes a drastic change - the onus of preening and prettifying falls upon females and this metrosexual trend aside, on an average men are hardly required to take care of their looks because as you said, no one is going to comment on them or judge them on account of them.

And the idea that women bitch about other women while men really don't is completely false. I have seen oh-so-many guys bitching about other guys and girls, too. They just do it more discreetly I guess or maybe I just know too many bitchy guys! :D

As for a woman being judged by her looks first and her talents later - this has something to do with the default male gaze - I don't think that heterosexual males can really help giving every female they see the once-over. And women after ages and ages of this happening have perhaps realised that if their looks are so important to men, they might as well use what they've got to their advantage.

And I dont see the point of people criticising the woman in the video as acting cute or whatever else - but she knows just like everyone does that only a mellifluous voice is not enough to get her anywhere especially on youtube where the visual sells better than the auditory.

And even internationally, for every one singer such as Adele who looks like an average woman and sings extraordinarily there's ten women who look like one of the Spice Girls and sing somewhat like them, too. And earn equally well.

Who cares if ten people think a good-looking woman should be modest when enchanting a million people with her looks can earn her a couple thousand bucks an hour?

As for banking on her looks to earn money, that's how most marriage alliances are 'earned' as well. Looks are a currency just as intelligence is or a beautiful voice is. Who can argue with that?

Anonymous said...

Here is another post I chanced upon, that tries to categorize gender based behavior titled, "Waka waka"

This was triggered by I being smitten by this video: Waka Waka. Super, illae?