"Desde mi punto de vista –y esto puede ser algo profético y paradójico a la vez– Estados Unidos está mucho peor que América Latina. Porque Estados Unidos tiene una solución, pero en mi opinión, es una mala solución, tanto para ellos como para el mundo en general. En cambio, en América Latina no hay soluciones, sólo problemas; pero por más doloroso que sea, es mejor tener problemas que tener una mala solución para el futuro de la historia."

Ignácio Ellacuría

O que iremos fazer hoje, Cérebro?

domingo, 1 de novembro de 2009

De Istambul: Penis is not for fixing the socket

Penis is not for fixing the socketSaturday, October 31, 2009


ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

Please do not think that this column will be about sexuality when you read the headline. Ok, it is somehow related to sex, but not in the way that the headline implies.

Let me tell it from the beginning. It was one week before when a reader sent an email to Ayşe Arman, a female columnist for daily Hürriyet who writes about sexual issues. The title of the email was “Women with penis.” The author of the email is a man and he complained about urban women who try to behave like a “men.”

“They make you feel like they have a penis, although they do not have one physically,” the reader wrote, and explained why he feels that way quoting an imaginary woman with a “penis”: “I fix my own electric socket, I take care of myself if I’m stuck on the road with a broken car, I get well on my own if I am sick. I do not need a man to protect or support me.”

The first thing that came to mind when I read those words was, a penis can fix a plug? Oh, I have never known that. To fix a socket, a screwdriver is a pre-requisite, if you do not have one, it will be difficult, but a knife can also work. A side cutter would be perfect to cut the cables, but if you do not have one, don’t worry, a lighter and a knife can help you burn the part you want to get rid of and peel it off. Then you need isolation tape for wrapping the cables if some will stay open. And of course the new socket you need to change with the old one. Still I cannot find a penis. Let’s push, may be instead of screwdriv…. No, no, no… it would be so cruel and unhealthy.

The email then goes on to tell how these women do not let men come near them for an intimate relationship although these women like to have sex and look feminine. It took me a long time to understand the connection between allowing a man to fix your socket and allowing him to affiliate with you. Ok, not that long, cause in a second I decided that this sentence does not have any intelligence in it.

Many women, these are housewives generally, can fix sockets or other broken things at home because they are alone at home carrying all its responsibility. In my childhood one of my neighbors was a young housewife with two children from the Black Sea region with an engineer husband. The engineer could not even change a bulb, while his wife could use all the tools efficiently. There are also many men who can cook perfectly but do not feel womanly when they make soup for their sick wives. Shall we call them men with vagina?

It would take pages to discuss what describes a man and a woman, what are included in the gender roles of each sex, how these roles lead to the oppression of women in front of men, and how these roles are changing. There are many valuable academic works on all these issues.

Moreover, the debate about women getting more and more independent each day and causing men to panic is not new as well. However it is obvious from this email as well, we still need to say couple of words about this issue.

The change in gender roles is not recent, but may be more visible currently, as an increasing number of women start to live alone, make their own living or even raise their children alone after a problematic divorce. Fixing something broken has long been a symbolic example to tell about those things that are under the responsibility of men, like cooking or cleaning is a woman’s responsibility. However, what is painful is to see men who believe that fixing a socket or a broken car is a reason to say a woman is manly and make them think or feel that these women keep men away. Unfortunately it is generally the man who keeps himself away from a woman like that because she makes him feel unsure of himself. It is still funny that a woman who can fix a socket makes a man feel insecure. It is a pity, but this funny situation is because many men, and women, think relationships are a power struggle. That is why men who see a screwdriver in a woman’s hand feel they are losing control over women, which is what many women want while they struggle for their rights.

Please do not think that women are out of this game totally, as this article includes harsh criticism against men. Women who refuse to fix a socket and call on their men immediately even for issues they can solve alone are the leading players in this game too. Maybe this is the subject of another column, but let’s pause for a second and think why some behavior makes us more woman or man.


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