Women in Cars

For some reason I woke up this morning recalling how, when I was a child, it was always taken for granted that men would be the ones to ride shotgun in a car journey.

There’d be the driver, and then if there was an adult man and woman present, the man would have first dibs on the front passenger seat.

So, for example, if my father was driving, and the passengers were my mother and her brother, her brother would naturally get the front seat. If my uncle were driving, my father would get the front seat.

If my aunt were driving and the passengers were my mother and her brother, my mother would, I think, automatically sit at the back, unless maybe it was her youngest brother (she had five).

Back then, in my experience, women were always expected to take the literal back seat and it was done automatically. Discussing it with Malaysian friends, it seems it remains the case in some families. However, one friend (A) said that, in her community (Malaysian-Sri Lankan), people of the same gender are expected to sit together, unless they are married. So, if B and her dad are being driven by her aunt, B will ride shotgun and her dad will sit at the back. Another friend, B, a Malaysian-Chinese, agreed with me when I said I believed a Chinese man would rather die than sit in the back behind two women. It’s like Chinese men don’t even like the idea of being driven by a woman.

B also said that, if there are men present, her mother never thinks of her as the one who will drive. A man is always the default choice.

I wonder if this is an Asian-only thing.

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Having It All or Doing It All?

Today I was introduced to a blogger (Emma) who draws her thoughts about social issues. The blog post that I read is called You Should Have Asked and explains why women tend to end up doing everything at home.

(Hmm, even as I typed the last sentence I found myself wondering, guiltily, if it’s actually all my fault that I don’t get any help at home. That is another story though.)

Right now my ex-husband has moved back into my flat, with me and our children (a long story that I won’t go into right now) and does next to nothing to help with the chores. I badly want to tell him to get out, but I admit I’m afraid that things might get ugly if I do. Still, I know I am going to have to tell him that sharing a space just isn’t going to work.

Anyway, I read Emma’s comic and almost every frame made me want to cry because it was such a relief to know that it wasn’t all just me being a total failure at managing and being assertive and all the rest.

emma3
From ‘You Should’ve Asked’.

Why do I even need to ask?Read More »

One Small Step

Today I posted, on my Facebook wall, a picture of myself in a swimsuit.

It looked something like this …

daphneswimsuit

It’s certainly not something I’d have done a month ago, but as I am trying to stop being negative about my appearance, I thought it was time to stop just talking about fat-positivity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Fears

My fifty-seven-year-old sister started wearing sleeveless clothes just last year. Mind you, she has always been considered the beauty of the family and is as slim as I am fat. When I was younger I resented her looks – especially when my father, in his capacity as an official at a sporting event, insisted that she present a bouquet to the guest of honour. My mother had suggested eight-year-old chubby me, but my father said my sister (sixteen at the time) should do it because she ‘looked better’. I was furious and felt very much my fatness and grubbiness – I’ve always felt that fat children feel much dirtier than their thin friends. For a start, we are usually sweaty and hot, and often sport red, angry faces from being fat-shamed.Read More »

Review: The Power by Naomi Alderman

First published in The Star on 9th February, 2017

THE POWER

By Naomi Alderman

(Viking, 339 pages)

ISBN: 978-0241015728

IF you identify as feminist, you are likely tired of explaining that the women’s movement is about gender equality and not the domination of men by women. If you are a feminist you are probably  sick of hearing it said that you and your ilk hate men, burn bras, and are all lesbians (closet or otherwise). If you actively oppose the oppression of women in whatever form, you will have rolled your eyes countless times in response to those who declare that feminism is a sexist movement and that they prefer being called humanists or equalists.

Feminism is not about women being better than men, but it is about and attempts to address personal, political, social and economic power disparities between the sexes. So, what if women had the power? Would it automatically result in gender equality?Read More »