Physical Feminism -Part I : The Crucial Art of turning Fear into Fury.
Posted Jun 20 2013 12:00am
Taking - in and of itself - is empowerment for women . - Gloria Steinem.
In this post I will address two major arguments against women hitting back at aggressors.
Fighting Back is futile/puerile/not the solution.
Fighting back is dangerous as on the average women are physically weaker.
Women are so vocal about so many social issues today.We feel disgusted and despairing on issues ranging from Abhijit Mukherjee ,Asaram Bapu Nigella's bashing ,Rape,foeticide,sex-selection,the MNC's which put us in the Beauty Trap , to curfews,dress codes,dancing ,drinking lack of Equal Rights.
Our protest is real, visible ,loud and clear.Sarcasm,rhetoric,vehemence,calm logic - we have all tools in our Arsenal against rotten Patriarchy. I revel in all these.I enjoy the debates, the digs ,the Pink Chaddis ,Bells ,Seetis : all. I support them .
I want Police Reform,Legal Reform,mental reform,End Of Rape Culture .I DO.
But all the time we are asking ,these days DEMANDING : that we be allowed to live on our own terms the way Constitution promised us . We ,the most ardent Equal Rights Advocates , educate ourselves like men, earn our keep ,make our decisions and speak up in our professional and personal lives. Yeah : we do not take shit.
But the problem is, the moment we step out of our cosy-perfumed-with-impeccable-logic cocoons :we smell the shit ,we see it .And short of covering our noses and shutting our eyes, there is Nothing we can Do- to- Stop- it .We come back and spew our anger .So far so good.But what if that shit was getting splattered on you ? On those precious to you ?Or by those *entitled* to you as in Nigella's case ?
You could wait and expect,Demand and Protest that the designated Shit Treatment facilities do their job promptly.No doubt this is very important.We need good systems in place. In a Democracy, citizens need to make their voice heard.Bureaucracies need to be shaken up. Candle Light Marches too are needed.So are art exhibitions and Flash Mobs.They give a sense of solidarity and community when the abused person is at her lowest and loneliest. I am for all these.
I also agree that learning Self -Defence can not be *The Solution* to violence, abuse,acid attacks,the ridiculous moral dictums that women are subject to. Or that it can be universally applied in every situation.That would be an insult and victim blaming of one more kind.
Having a basic acquaintance with Krav Maga is akin to getting formal education.You know having a degree does not guarantee a job or success.But it does open your mind and increase your chances of survival in a competitive world .
The way having money in the bank gives you an option, knowing combat skills gives you time to escape. It lets that insidious mind of ours give us the permission to act.So that we do not freeze, recoil,quiver and panic.
The apparent problem with the Physical Feminism advocacy is the sorely felt absence of Dhai Kilo ka Haath in most of us, barring Serena Williams.We women ,who often make fun of men's obsession with bigger and better feel that our size dooms us in a physical situation.But it is not until you take a training in a Street Fighting course, that you realize that victimization as well as sidestepping it, is basically a mind game.The way one small fierce cat can stop ten dogs by her snarl and hiss.Raw Strength plays a small role. How you multiply the smallest force you have is an art EVERYONE can learn.
Remember how we can never tire of Seeta- Geeta / Chalbaaz movies ? I love them, because all that works in favour of the spirited sister who fights back ,is her deadly Attitude and Street-smartness .Technique and skill follow the mind.
Training the reflexes,situational awareness and reading is an essential part of training. Counterattack is resorted to , when a person is left with no options. First two steps are, defusing, blocking and making a quick exit .People who learn self defense are not violent bundles of unbridled agression.They keep pet cats and let the dog sleep on the sofa and rescue squirrels.They are also not not Duh's like Aditi in YJHD challenging random thugs for a duel.
They are people who want to be safe in their minds first and who want to turn their fear into an ally in any encounter with the dark side of life.And they do not do this because they are morbid and hypervigilant but because connecting with the anger and physicalizing it is an awesome thing to deal with our cooped up stressed out lives.What you eventually do in a dangerous situation is a result of what you do daily.Revving up the body while keeping a cool head.