Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 23, Tuesday June 10, 2008



Under A Different Sky

Fulfilling Emptiness

When I first saw them, the four of them, I thought they were brilliant. It was nine years ago. Halfway through college already believing I know it all. Being 20…relating to everyone yet no one all at the same time. That's when I was introduced to this classic foursome, four women who define the face of America to some.

“Sex and the City” is what it is called; the show that brought a new meaning to love, fashion, and pretence independence. Glorifying weaknesses, co-dependency, selfishness, and narcissism all at the same time. Yet it was the best thing that could happen to any girl that had a love life or dreamt of having one. The half an hour pieces filled with eye candy and rhetorical questions was about the life of Carrie Bradshaw, the popular columnist and her three friends. Constantly seeking, searching for love yet semi-realizing after each half hour that it's also okay to be alone (until the next episode came along). Each episode with a newer man, new twist, new “insight,” new clothes and the same four friends whining and dining. These women seemed independent though they were anything but, yet they were good at deceiving us, at least the first few seasons. Somewhere between shopping and searching for men their shallowness became more and more apparent. It was okay though, I was 20 and Carrie Bradshaw made me fall in love with every flaw of mine because she was imperfect and so were all women. And it felt good to know that I was going to be just fine being me, if those women were. I forgot they were fictional, and I wasn't…

So it continued, and now when I look back to my 20s I can't deny the presence of “Sex and the City.” I grew up with the annoying voice of Sarah Jessica Parker playing Carrie, narrating show after show, looking the same, being the same. No transformation, no real understanding, the same desperation spelled with different words, in different colours in different seasons. Yet I still watched it, re-runs at night, and rented DVDs on dull Sundays.

No, I do not belong to the wiser group of women who claim to have never watched this show as they felt it was too shallow for them; too inane. I am more typical, I am someone who tried to relate my love life with one of the “Sex and the City” characters when I was younger, I can admit that. And I know I am not the only one who has done that…there are at least a few thousand women in this city of mine who have done it as well. So it's a comfortable mistake we have all made.

I once over-heard a 15-year-old quoting Carrie Bradshaw, when I looked over I knew she wanted to be just like Carrie when she grew up, and there are many more just like her. Giving into all stereotypes of being a woman, trying to prove really hard that women are complex and using the same complexity to act shallower. But she won't grow up to be Carrie, none of us will, and that is the best part about the show.

Why am I writing all this? There is no insight I have to offer, no answers. I am just recognizing the power of visual media, the weakness of our mind, our ability to scrutinize fictional characters because it's easier to judge them than ourselves. Easier to blame them. So I am blaming them too…while I make plans to go watch the “Sex and the city” movie with my girlfriends, because this certain emptiness is fulfilling and I like contradictions.


Liberating life

Intelligent, sharp-witted, agile, independent and immaculately dressed, 'the New Super Power', the women of today! She is capable of accomplishing anything, given the chance. But do I have what it takes to be a modern woman? Did I make myself up to the level of today's women? The women of today are making their mark as world-builders. But am I one of them or am I in pace with them?

Unfortunately, I live in a society that constantly keeps suppressing me. The society with rules and customs not enforced by the law, but by the community. The society that raises an eye at my efforts but appreciates my male counterpart. It is expected of women, but the reverse is true for men.

Since childhood, I have been groomed by my guardians to be in line with this society. I have been abused today; it is nothing new with me. I am usually ill treated by my parents, relatives and the men around me but I always absorb every pain, I have been trained that way. Then again, I wonder…has it been fair to me? My guardians have taught me to tolerate but did they teach me to be independent, to be free, to fight for what is right? Am I happy living this way? Am I being just by calling myself today's woman? Why should I bother about what others have to say? Don't I have a head to decide what is right for me? These questions have been crossing my mind since long and have been silently killing me. It has been enough and now I want to be liberated.

Gone are the days when I toiled at the kitchen stove all day long. I am aware of my needs and am willing to fight for them. I should be given the respect I deserve, both at home and outside. Of course, I am happy to deal with the daily routine of ordinary life but I demand more. I need, not just babies but the power to create an environment that is fit enough for my survival, financially and socially. I wish my family and man would help me achieve this. Instead, I am told that children with behaviour problems were the products of families where mothers worked, despite the belief that children get more "quality time". It is not quantity but quality that matters.

Indeed it is rather difficult combining a career and a decent home life. It becomes really stressful and also my colleagues doubt my commitment to my job, making it further difficult. Yes, it is a hard struggle to reach that goal but I want to face all the hurdles because I want to live my life. It took me some time, but I realized the need for my identity and am determined to do something about it!

Men still find it very difficult to accept new ideas when it originates from a woman. How many men do you find who are happy to show their culinary expertise in the kitchen? How many contribute towards childcare and household chores?I want to come out; for why should I tolerate? I cannot bear to be the victim of the nasty societal norms anymore. I cannot demean myself any longer. I am aware of what is right for me and I want to do exactly that. You can try to repress me, but I won't let you. I want to be a new woman, 'The Super Modern Woman' who still believes in the power and value of a family unit along with the determination to hold in high esteem. I am the woman of today and I want to live like one.

By Zion Ara Hamid
Photo courtesy: Emprint

By the Way

Natural remedies to sore throats

To one cup of milk add half a teaspoon of turmeric and one teaspoon of honey. Have this two to three times a day. Add a small piece of crushed ginger to tea and allow it to boil for at least half to one minute. Have this twice a day. Inhaling steam for a cold helps in soothing the throat and clearing your sinuses. Adding a few tulsi leaves to tea is also an excellent cure for a scratchy throat. Gargling with salt water thrice a day is good for a sore throat.


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