To propose or not to propose
I am usually an avid reader of Mita. I know it sounds a little sadistic, but it's nice to begin a lazy Friday morning by reading about the various interesting dilemmas of people. Despite the space constraints, Mita manages to give suggestions that are wise and helpful. But I was really surprised and appalled by a response she gave to a reader's problem last week. The reader had asked if she could propose to a guy she really loved. You'd think Mita would be a little more progressive in her suggestions than saying – if he hasn't proposed to you yet, there must be some problem in your relationship. The reader didn't mention anything about the guy's hesitation; she simply stated that she wanted to be the one to propose. I know Mita had the best intentions in mind, given our cultural context, but one hopes for more nuanced solutions from her! Why can't I propose to a guy if I really love him and think he is the best choice for me? Why must I wait for him to decide it's the right time? Why must I “ask a friend” to suggest to him or give hints that it's high time to settle the issue? When will we start to challenge our norms?
Thanks to Star for coming up with new ways of presenting the cover stories. I was specially impressed by the last issue. It was a novel idea to present citizen's opinions in a separate box. The cover photograph, too, was excellent. However, reading the story, I still cannot comprehend what benefit our honourable premier wishes to bring for us Dhakaites through the division. There is a saying that goes, “whatever happens, happens for the best”. At times like this, I feel that we have nothing to do but rely on that saying. Let us wait for the day when our autocratic leaders ruling under the shadows of democracy will lose interest in the administration of our country, making it possible for us, the citizens, to live in peace.
The Importance of Being a Man
I really enjoyed the piece on “The importance of being a man.” Being a man myself, I am terribly embarrassed and deeply offended by the huge range of chauvinistic practices many men take pride in partaking. I guess they think because I have the XY chromosome, I'll share their crude jokes belittling or objectifying women. There are times when I protest and call them out on their sexism, but in certain crowds, even the protests aren't well received. Just the other day, I vociferously objected to a very chauvinistic comment (I won't recount the story here for decency's sake) made by an acquaintance. Instead of apologising for his actions, he started to attack my sexuality, called me a sissy etc. The rest of my friends sat there and chuckled. It makes me wonder: all these men are from well-educated well-off backgrounds who have had strong female presence in their lives. Why, then, do they insist on acting like ignorant fools?
How far have we really come in terms of women's rights, when men still “rate” women on their looks and physical appearance? How can we say we're making progress when there are men who chop off their wives' hands or gouge out their eyes? Women still can't walk out of their houses without hearing some petty but offending comment on the streets from gawking creeps; they still don't earn the same wage as men; they still have to fight and work twice as hard to achieve the same level of success as a man. What I really don't understand though is how my frustration at the existing state of sexism in this world makes me less of a man.
New Year Specials
The “voicebox” special for the last issue really brought smiles to my face. It's so amusing to read about the ridiculous things our politicians and renowned personalities say on a daily basis. Of course, when one thinks about it, it isn't really funny – the way we (the ones who count, that is) take pride in saying baseless things (Exhibit 1: “BNP is the only pro-liberation party…) or refuse to take responsibility for our actions. I applaud the Star for their weekly “voicebox,” and special thanks for the special year end edition!
I also had a few laugh-out-loud moments as I was reading the satire piece on the Bangladesh split. It was such a wonderfully creative article – I could actually vividly imagine the two B-deshs! I wish the writer would continue to write satire stories because she has a natural flair.
Politics is not
As a representative of this generation, I want to share my opinion regarding the article entitled 'What's So Despicable about Politics'. It's true that a large number of young people despise politics because of its bleak and negative image. In most average families, there is no room for politics. We have been taught by our family and teachers that people who get involved in politics are cunning, shrewd and corrupted to the core.
This generation doesn't want to waste a single moment thinking about national issues. I have come across some young people who don't bother about our liberation war and trials of war criminals because it is 'just a political issue' to them. An alarming number of young people don't read newspapers and have no clue about our current political condition. Hating politics, it seems, is very “in”.
I am not asking every young person to get involved in politics or be a connoisseur of politics. However, I believe that everyone should have a good knowledge of politics in order to be a good citizen. Politics is not something to despise; it is our hypocritical politicians who need to be despised. If loyal, dedicated, honest and rational young people take the helm of today's politics, the abysmal condition will disappear and a positive wind of change will arrive soon.
Kohinur Khyum Tithila
East West University
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