For all its androcentrisim and hegemonic femininity, which is rooted in evil, watered by fickleness and sown by fragility, it is surprising, really, how much blame (or credit) cis-women are given to shoulder, when it comes to their causal relationships with wars.


Whether it be Eve, the wily temptress, the first femme fatale herself, or the bitter and unforgiving Draupadi with her smouldering desire for revenge, Helen with her beauty as a double edged sword that drove men to madness and her to helplessness (had cis-men not been there to save her, helplessness would've been morphed into destruction), Surpanakha, with her unfazed and loud sexuality, Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, who would've been engulfed by the metaphorical green-eyed monster had there been one- who spurred wars out of spite, or Pandora, the woman who couldn't contain her curiosity and let the gift of Zeus erupt, bringing upon mankind the doom of diseases and despair, leaving at the bottom, just enough hope for all of humanity, something to draw from when we're hitting the rockiest bottoms, and as a woman, you're placed into so many boxes, sometimes without being informed that it is meant to be a casket, it almost feels that our collective unconscious guides us through the recollection of this one memory, leaves us groping through the dark, searching for the same hope, that Pandora left in her box.

Being a woman, in my experience, placed the mythic angel on my shoulder, in a constant war with the devil, who is hiding somewhere in my body, and I, who refused to establish a relationship with my vagina beyond the acknowledgement of the precarious 'sexuality' that it was supposed to represent, of the fragility and the fickleness that are ingrained inside me as a woman, am convinced it is between my thighs.

Until now- The gender binaries, the social construct of gender identities, injection models of socialization, and most of all, the brazen, raw, naked, and conventional (and often, hegemonic) forms of femininity, that often strip women of their individuality, and bring womanhood itself on a dais to be prodded and probed and eventually peddled into a new existence, whether by an act of benevolent sexism or hostility that women so often incite with their imprudence (a wrong look, word or other subtleties)- our relationship with our sexuality are constantly shaped by the perceptions of the stories we're told, the narratives we adopt and the cadence of the voices that breathe life into the existence of the characters.

The correlation and causation between being a woman and a war- has always been the same, even if too unobtrusive for the roving eye of the male gaze, it's always been about taking control of our sexualities, and our voice, still is.

The voyeuristic angel has been thrown off.

this piece was written by Tashneet Kataria.

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