Movie Review : The Bookshop

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I’ve always thought there was something romantic about libraries and bookshops. Once upon a time I even dreamt of bumping into my Prince Charming in such a place. Well, that was until my innocent mind was ruined thanks to the Netflix series –  YOU (I really owe y’all a review on the one).  Anyway so its understandable why a film titled ‘The Bookshop’ would appeal to me. It also stars that Brit legend and silver fox, Bill Nighy, which added to the appeal. So I dragged #zlotybaby along to see said film on our last date night. And let’s just say I doubt she’ll be letting me make movie choices again anytime soon.

The protagonist of the story is Florence Green, played by Emily Mortimer. At first glance, she is a somewhat dowdy looking, wouldn’t say boo to a ghost type. Not quite a 30-something virgin but a bit of loner since her husband died in the war. Despite appearances, she does actually have some spirit because she is willing to go against the grain to pursue her dream of turning a decaying building into a bookshop in this butt-fuck nowhere village somewhere in Blighty. Anyway, she comes up against a lot of passive-aggressive opposition from other major players in the village.

One of her first customers is Mr Brundish (Bill Nighy), a slightly eccentric (he burns the book sleeves with the authors pictures on – strange) recluse whose major love is books (especially since his wife didn’t drown while out fetching blueberries to make a pie for him). At some point, the Mr Brundish and Florence strike up a ‘friendship’ and he is pretty much the only person willing to champion her cause and help her fight to keep the bookshop open.

To me, it’s not exactly clear why the villagers, led by some sour-faced old hag (played by Patricia Clarkson), are soooo against Florence’s bookshop. Even though most of them seem a bit backward, they obviously can read because they buy the books from Florence’s store. I guess, a part of it is to do with them being a bunch of conservative twats and not wanting a single woman running a business and corrupting their delicate minds with her dirty dirty books…

The movie got some awards and lots of smart, film buff types said good things about it but honestly… I don’t know why. The only thing I could take away from it was firstly, that it’s possible to meet the love of your life in a bookshop (because Flo did after all!) but then he may die and you are basically doomed without him. And secondly that the world really hasn’t changed that much since the 1950s, mainstream society really doesn’t have much love for born-again virgins (we worked out that it was unlikely that Florence got laid in about 16 years and for Mr Brundish it was probably about 55 years). Sure, they touched hands at some point in the movie but that was probably the most action that either of them (or perhaps that whole god-foresaken village) had seen in an awfully long time.

Perhaps I’m just a little too basic (or sex-obsessed) but I wouldn’t recommend you pay to see this movie. Actually, even if you get hold of a free version, I would say make sure you exhaust all options available on Netflix before wasting a few hours of your precious life. All in all, the movie was pretty underwhelming. Obviously, some people enjoy spending hours reading between the lines but I’m sure you can find better things to do such as munch on pasta and talk about anything and everything else like #zlotybaby and I did after this ordeal. So yep, give it a miss and rather do some swiping so you increase your chances of getting lucky rather than living a sexless existence like the main characters in this story.

Rinsers, Have you watched The Bookshop? What did you think? Also, can anyone provide any insight into why through the ages, societies continue hate upon and ostracize born-again virgins and other forms of social recluse? Answers in the comment section below. Please and thank you.    

 

 

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“Hi. Do you want to be my friend?” and Other Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Woman

doucheThis post is going to be slightly ranty in nature. Perhaps I will express in it, however, some struggles that women deal with daily.

Last year, I decided to start a writing group. I’m a part of an expat community and at the time it seemed like a good idea to start it there. A part of starting such a group is introducing yourself to the community, which obviously makes sense. How otherwise would people find the group? When I created my spammy introductory message and sent it to the members I expected to be mostly ignored. After all, most people are not writers. Surprisingly, a lot of those who received the message did reply in a very polite way refusing or accepting the invitation. I felt for a bit like the world was a nice, welcoming place.

After the initial wave of nice replies from both genders, I started to be contacted by various men, who clearly didn’t think the message was sent to everyone. In their opinion, it seems, I have sent this personal message to them specifically. Must be, because they’re so hot and I’m lonely and confused as ladies often are. “Hi there. Thanks for the message. I’m not a writer but how about you give me a call on XXXX-YYY-ZZZ?”, “Hi! Don’t do much writing but I’d love to meet up for a coffee”, “Hi! Not a writer but do you have plans for New Year’s?” and my favorite of all, “Hi! Thanks for the message. Do you want to be my friend?”. Eventually to protect my privacy and prevent these people from reaching me on other channels, I changed my surname to initials only. Then I realized that I made a terrible mistake and I didn’t wear a potato sack on my profile picture nor had I  focused on demonstrating a clearly visible sign of belonging to another man. I updated my profile picture to one in which you can see me, my husband and my wedding ring (hint for the more determined types: this man next to me is not my brother). The messages stopped. I never wanted to be this person who defines herself by being married or in a relationship. As I have written before, merely being in a relationship isn’t an achievement.  At the same time, my life is just easier on different networks if I have a profile picture with my husband.

Men are so disrespectful, treating women like commodities they find in a shop. Oh, what a nice pair of shoes! I’ll just touch it and try it on to see whether I like it. WHAT? This pair of shoes isn’t looking for an owner? What a ridiculous pair of shoes! It needs one! Oh, I see they have one. Nah, that’s okay then! I’ll just keep looking. Many men think about women in such terms. She can be approached at any time if she’s not taken and any opportunity can be used for it. Whether a woman is single or not this is very annoying.

Dear men, the list of ways in which a woman shouldn’t be approached include:

  • Hi.
  • Hi, you’re hot.
  • Hi, you’re pretty.
  • Hi, do you want to be my friend?
  • Hi, wana do coffee?
  • Hi, wana move to my country? I pay for everything (true story)

There are very few women who like to be approached in this way. Sure, being complemented on beauty is nice but it’s also nice to be treated like a human being. There are millions silly ways in which a man can strike up a conversation with a woman, which have nothing to do with her looks. She’ll still know you mostly just thought you like how she looks like and had a good feeling about her but will feel nicer that you put some effort into a conversation starter. If she doesn’t seem interested, just let it go. Also think twice whether you should hit on anyone at all. Are they sending you a message that they’re potentially interested? Perhaps she really just wants to have a glass of wine on her own in a bar. A woman isn’t a child that cannot be left on her own. Last but not least, if someone is being friendly or invites you to join their writing group, they may be actually doing what they say they’re doing. At least try to take this possibility into account.

I’m done for today, Dear Rinsers. Any thoughts welcome!

 

 

 

 

#MeToo: Sexual Harassment and Assault Awareness

quietYesterday I saw women all over my Facebook sharing #metoo. The idea was to raise awareness about sexual harassment and sexual assault in that way. Perhaps if all women in someone’s Facebook feed shared the hashtag, it would make people realize how widespread the problem is?

The problem is indeed massive. Of course, there are levels to which women are touched by it. However, the fact is that ALL women experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault. Rape, verbal or physical sexual coercion, unwanted touch, predatory looks, comments on your appearance, “jokes”, aggression because you rejected someone – all these are just elements of the world where women are objectified. When women aren’t treated like people but like sexual objects, men believe they can do whatever they want with them: comment on, evaluate, touch or use at will for their own sexual pleasure.

Most women experience a garden variety of sexual harassment. Catcalling is honestly just a daily experience to which I never know how to react. As I work from home for instance, I like to go for a cycle or a walk during lunch. The problem is that the nearby construction workers take their break then. I can’t go past one not to be catcalled and neither can any other woman who’s on her own. Why do men do it then? Probably because they can. It’s certainly not to actually get anything out of it:

Catcalling makes me a mixture of angry and ashamed. I want to react or do something but mostly I’m scared. Perhaps if I reacted to a guy who’s on his own I could get him to think about his behavior but a group would mock me or perhaps become aggressive towards me. I’ve gone out a few times preparing myself to say something next time I’m spoken to and I’ve always chickened out. Now, I try to go out before or after they’re gone. I’ve lost, I’ve altered my behavior. That’s just catcalling. Being a woman, however, means a lot of fear in general. You’re scared of being raped too. You may second guess a guy’s intentions when he invited you for a cup of coffee to his house. You walk faster when it’s late and men feel like a threat. Sometimes someone gives you a predatory look and you feel that if circumstances were different he would hurt you but after all it’s not like anything really bad has ever happened to you, right? Are we supposed to count ourselves lucky because we haven’t been raped, though? Men don’t count themselves lucky because no one chopped their arm off or they didn’t get murdered, do they? Of course, it’s much more probable for a woman to get raped than to any of this to happen to a man. The point is that every time a woman feels threatened, she feels like this not because she’s crazy but because something could happen.

Something should be done to make people understand the problem. Will #metoo do it? I doubt it. It feels like preaching to the choir. The women who shared the hashtag in my feed are all lefties and that’s who likes on my own status came from. I haven’t seen any negative reactions but I haven’t seen any positive reactions either from anyone outside of my circle of expectations. I’m sure some people thought about some women’s statuses “she should only be so lucky that someone harasses her” but in the age of social media finger pointing they knew better than to share such views on Facebook. Perhaps the hashtag is not so successful in achieving its goal but that doesn’t mean it has no use at all.

As much as people may not change their mind because of this social media campaign, it has become a voice of female solidarity. We are all ashamed of our experiences with sexual harassment and we often feel guilty. It’s something we don’t talk about because often if we looked for sympathy after we are harassed we just found more sexism, even in women. When I was slapped on my bum by a stranger in Paris a friend of mine who was walking with me replied to my outrage: “Chill, it’s not like he’s taken away your virginity or something”. When I was maybe 10 a drunk guest house manager stopped me on my way from the communal toilet back to my room. He started hugging me and making inappropriate advances. Then I saw a ray of hope walking down the stairs: a female friend. She ran away when she saw us, though. I eventually managed to escape and then was shaken and outraged that she didn’t help me. She just said it wouldn’t have happened if I was wearing long pajama pants like she did. These are of course just illustrative examples not the entirety of my experience. All women experience sexual harassment and certainly they all experiences negative reactions to trying to speak up. The bigger the trauma, the more shame there is associated with it and the more potential there is for a negative reaction for speaking up from both men and women. Yesterday, however, some women had the courage to talk about unimaginably horrible events such as rape when they were still children, gang rape or sexual abuse in family. It is sad and it is so depressing that such things happen but maybe by talking about it, we’re making even more people share their experiences. In taking the shame away from the victims, we can finally move to focus on the perpetrators. It’s NEVER the victim’s fault.

Today a new hashtag is trending: #iwill to express what will we do to help to improve the situation. Can we really do something? What do you do? Any thoughts on #metoo, Dear Reader? Do you think it can truly help spread awareness? Feel free to share your #metoo stories in the comments. 

#EnglishRosiee and the Maasai Warriors – Some Food for Thought from Deepest Darkest Africa

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Let me start by offering my deepest to apologies for being a bit AWOL recently. In part this absence from the blogosphere was simply due to a severe case of writers block as a result of being removed from the Tinderverse and subsequently not having as much to bitch and moan about. In addition to this I was also away exploring other parts of deepest darkest Africa with limited internet connectivity. And this dear Rinsers leads me to the topic of today’s blog post …

Spending two weeks in Kenya where lions (and tigers and bears and of course the elusive Kenyan unicorn) really do roam free was certainly a magical experience and even though I’m heartbroken to be back in humdrum I am pleased to say that I managed to collect a lot of blog matter for all of y’all! On my travels I witnessed a lot of weird and wonderful things, the most exciting of which were lions having passionate sex while jeep loads of pervy safari junkies aka voyeurs looked on in awe. But enough from the animal kingdom for now (I shot some lion porn if any of our more animal inclined readers is interested!). Aside from the safari’ing, I also visited a Maasai village where we got to check out a bit of tribal life. Learning how these folks kill lions to demonstrate manhood (poor kitties!), start fires with nothing more than some sharp sticks and can jump higher than most of us could ever dream off (just to get a discounted price on a bride) was interesting and all but what I though was most relevant for the purposes of this blog was how the Maasai people view relationships,etc.

Forgive me for what may come across as a bit of reductionist account of what is a probably quite a complicated subject matter and something that people have slaved for years writing PhD theses on but my comments are based solely on my observations (and me just generally speaking out loud) and with really, really limited internet I don’t really have the chance do more detailed research/fact-checking. Anyway here are some things that my interactions with the Maasai warriors got me thinking about.

Monogamy vs Polygamy

So as is the case in quite a few cultures these Maasai guys tend to be polygamous. The one that was showing us around had two wives (neither of which was his favourite!) but he said he knew of cases where a Maasai had ten wives. Apparently, there really is no limit to how many wives they can have just as long as they are capable of providing for all of them (and subsequently the multiple kids that they are sure to produce) sufficiently.  (Guess it’s not that different from our beloved chavs back in my homeland except they just tend to knock up multiple women and get the state to foot the bill)

While polygamy is pretty much an alien concept to a girl who grew up reading too many fairy tales and since developed slight feminist leanings, there are people (even so-called progressive liberal types) who claim that such a system has it’s advantages over monogamy. Hmm…I’m not convinced. Perhaps it’s the only child in me that doesn’t like sharing my toys (read: boys) but I really don’t see how it can work on anything but a superficial level. Sure, for the Maasai people there are certain benefits such as a division of labour (one wife goes out to trade things while the another one stays home to take care of their collective kids!) but surely jealously and competition are common human emotions/behaviours that transcend cultures. I just can’t deal.

That said, it’s really probably not all that different than phenomena going on closer to home – threesomes? Open relationships? Philandering scumbags? At least the Maasai ladies know what they are in for, right?

A Woman’s Worth 

In Maasai culture before a man can get married, it is standard to for him to give his future wife’s family ten cows, essentially putting a price on her head. As I mentioned before, if a dude is particularly athletic and can jump really high then the number of cows he is required to exchange for his chick can be reduced down.

As a hopeless romantic (see even Tinder couldn’t take away my sparkle and turn me into a jaded old hag) who believes love makes the world go round this type of dowry system where even an elderly man can buy a girl young enough to be his great granddaughter as long as he can get his hands on those all important cows does make me pewk in my mouth A LOT !

But then again things could be worse, at least these women have some worth (calculated in cows), the dowry system still in operation in parts of the Indian sub-continent see the chick’s family literally paying men to take the daughters off their hands. Again, I just can’t deal.

Should we just keep our noses out of other people’s business?

Finally, as we are all well aware we live in an increasingly globalised world where we are all more likely to be exposed to different people and cultures (I mean, a few centuries ago I very much doubt that the heir to a Maasai empire would be chatting up a Brit girl and telling her that he’d like to be monogomous for her, now would he? True story!) Living in more connected world is great in many ways because it opens our minds to new perspectives/ideas. But on the other hand, it could also lead the erosion of different cultures as well and perhaps that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Our guide told us that there are something like 42 different tribes in Kenya but the Maasai are pretty much the only ones that have managed to keep their culture intact. But even with them as they become more educated (in the conventional sense) more of them end up leaving their tribes. It’s kinda of sad, I guess.

Then there we are (in many ways not so different from our colonial ancestors) wandering into their villages and getting all judgey about the way they do things. A younger, more idealistic/naive version of myself would have probably spent days ranting about women’s rights after my encounters but I’m starting to see things a little differently in my old age. Sure, I would like to think I’m worth more than 10 cows (although my Dad would probably trade me for a dog and a free gelato) but maybe other women are OK with being treated like a commodity? Maybe they have bigger problems to deal with? Perhaps they look at as mindlessly swiping away on Tinder and pity our existence? Either way, I don’t think any of us should be judging and commenting. Whichever perspective you look at things from things on both sides are going to change eventually but it should only happen when people are ready to make the changes themselves rather than because of external interference.

Anyway, enough from me lets in the comments below Rinsers. What are your thoughts of polygamy vs monogomy? Do you think dowry systems are archaic and should be abolished from this world? And do you think we should even be commenting on the way other people do things? Go wild like the lions in the comments below. 

This was #englishrosiee reporting for #rinsebeforeuse! Good night!

Emmys 2017: Reviews of The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies

TVI’d been planning to write about two great series “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies” for so long that they received Emmy Awards before I managed to do so. Better late than never I guess!

The Handmaid’s Tale

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a drama series. It’s based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about a sexist theocracy in a world struggling with fertility. Women who can get pregnant are captured and serve as incubators to the ruling class of theocrats. They’re referred to as handmaids and the series focuses on the story of one of them, Offred (Elisabeth Moss). After her training in obedience and servitude, she is placed with an infertile marriage to whom she’s supposed to provide an offspring. You’ll have to watch the series to find out more!

The show is very heavy and depressing, especially for mainstream TV. However, it is very good and it does address important issues such as the emancipation of women, contraception, reproductive rights, feminism and sexism. I think especially given the worrying extreme right wing behaviors around the world, it is crucial to think about such issues. The message of the series is clear: it’s easy to ignore warning signs but the consequences of not reacting in time may be tragic. After all, Gilead is a country which replaced the USA.

The series is also worth watching due to convincing acting and interesting characters. The protagonist seems to be created in a way, which doesn’t make it easy for the audience to like her. And yet, the inhumane treatment she has to endure makes us relate to her on an empathic level, as we would to any human being in pain. It’s not only Elisabeth Moss (Drama Actress, Winner) whose acting should be praised. The other handmaidens, including Samira Wiley (Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, nominee), Alexis Bledel and Madeline Brewer give unforgivable performances. Ann Dowd (Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, winner) in the role of the ruthless superior of handmaids is excellent. Last but not least, Yvonne Strahovski as a seemingly emotionless Madame of the ruling class is a scary, yet pitiable character. You may like or dislike the series, but watching it will certainly be an unforgettable experience.

Apart from the above-mentioned Emmy awards and nominations, the Handmaid’s Tale received and award for the best Writing for a Drama Series and for the best Drama Series.

Under His Eye.

Big Little Lies

“Big Little Lies” is a series contained in one season, a so-called limited series. The story has a defined opening and an end. It is a rather uncommon format these days, as the makers try to usually squeeze as many season out of a series as they can. I’m a proponent of ending things when they’re still good, so I was very happy with this solution for the excellent show.

Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) comes to Monterey with her son Ziggy to start a new life. She hopes a small town will give her the peace she’s been looking for. She quickly makes friends with Madeline (Reese Whiterspoon) and Celeste (Nicole Kidman), who are happy to have some “fresh blood” in their circle. Unfortunately, the alleged aggressive behavior of her son towards one of the other school kids causes her to also quickly gain new enemies. Renata (Laura Dern) is an overprotective mother and she starts a personal vendetta against Jane. On the top of this background, we learn that someone’s going to die. But who and why? Yet again, watch the series to find out, I’m not taking responsibility for spoiling your fun.

“Big Little Lies” looks like a predictable series about life in a small town, where seemingly perfect aren’t truly flawless. It’s much more than that, though. The series addresses important issues such as domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, infidelity but also female solidarity and forgiveness. Similarly like “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Big Little Lies” is a feast for the audience missing good female performances. Nicole Kidman received an Award for Limited Series Actress, while her co-cast Reese Witherspoon was a runner-up. Laura Dern won the Award for the best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and Shaileen Woodley was a nominee in this category. Let’s not forget about Alexander Skarsgard who was chosen the best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

Last but not least, the music in the series is just magical. I could listen to the theme song “Cold Little Heart” by Michael Kiwanuka over and over again, but the whole soundtrack is remarkable. Zoe Kravitz, who appears in the series in the role of Bonnie, may not be an amazing actress but she has a beautiful voice and I was mesmerised by her version of “Don’t”. Please don’t miss this series. It’s really worth your time! If you don’t believe me, you should know that the series also received the Emmy awards for Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special as well as for the best Limited Series and was nominated for Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama.

Review: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

IMG_7680.JPGIt’s National Women’s Day in South Africa today! There’s no better way to celebrate such an occasion than to ponder on the situation of women these days. That’s why I decided to review the essay “We Should All Be Feminists” published in a book form, summarizing how much there’s still to be done about gender equality. I’m so happy I’ve found this little gem in a bookstore. The book consists of not even 50 pages and can be easily read in a lunch break. Don’t underestimate its content, though. It really is worth reading.

Adichie starts her essay by enumerating misconceptions about feminism. Many people consider feminists to be women who are unhappy because they can’t find a husband and that they hate men. They’re also believed not to wear make up, shave or wear high heels (which is also something that some feminists consider to be the “proper” way to be a feminist). Last but not least, feminism is considered a “Western” idea and therefore an “un-African” one. This is the reason why Adichie half-jokingly proclaimed herself to be a “Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men And Who Likes To Wear Lip Gloss And High Heels For Herself And Not For Men”. You know, just to please everyone. There are indeed many expectations towards what a feminist should or shouldn’t be, when in reality no qualifications are required to support gender equality.

Expectations towards feminists are not dissimilar to those towards women in general. As Adiche points out, society spends so much time “teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them”. Girls are not supposed to be angry and tough but pleasant and agreeable. Women are trained how to be in order to please men (you talk too much, no one wants women who talk too much, my father would say) or how not to be to avoid upsetting them (you should never tell anyone that you’ve been with an Arabic man or no one would want you, my mom would threaten during her sexist/racist rants).

It’s not only girls who are taught wrong ideas. Boys suffer as well. They’re meant to be “tough”, they’re denied the right to fear and to be vulnerable. They’re taught that their value is measured by money they have. Masculinity is very strongly associated with money. It’s not only men who pay for women, already boys are taught that this is the right way. Because of such conditioning male egos get bigger (but are fragile) and consequently females are trained to “get smaller” in order to please such egos.

Women are meant to compromise in a lot of different ways. They’re expected to keep their virginity, while there are no such requirements for boys. Women are not allowed to express their own desire but they’re supposed to embrace the male animalistic nature. It’s up to a girl to cover herself up and not to tempt men. If she gets sexually assaulted, she’s the one to blame. After all, boys will be boys. It’s not only in terms of male attentions that women have to be careful with what to wear. They also need to think carefully about their looks in a professional context. They need to dress in a certain way to be taken seriously, while the freedom of being a man is to look as good as he wants to without having to worry about it.

We also teach girls to make marriage their aspiration, while boys aren’t taught the same. Women are subjected to a lot of pressure to be in a relationship. Whether it’s happy or not remains irrelevant. It is not easy to just free oneself from such expectations, as Adiche rightly points out, humans are social beings after all. That is why if we normalize certain things, there’s a point where they become “natural” (an issue upon which I touched in my yesterday’s post). Seeing only men in position of power for instance, makes us expect only men to be there.

Last but not least, Adiche explains that feminism is a part of the human rights movement but also a separate issue that needs to has its own voice due to its focus on upliftment of women to achieve gender equality. If we really want to see the change in the world, we have to question the status quo. To see a shift in the perception of femininity and masculinity we need to change what we put in head of new generations.

 

The Google’s Employee’s Diversity Rant Manifesto – A Few Words about “Biological” Differences Between Sexes

megaphone-2550737_1280Have you heard about the diversity rant manifesto published by one of Google’s employees? A man with conservative views states that the reason why women are underrepresented in the tech industry is because of biological differences between men and women.

I’ve actually read a version of the manifesto just to check whether the author is justly accused of sexism by the media. Let’s be honest, the moment something goes viral the actual story may fade away. Not this time! The guy puts it all out there. He enumerates “possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech” and quotes among them “personality differences”. Women, according to this specialist in our nature, are:

  • more interested in people than things
  • extroverted and gregarious rather than assertive
  • neurotic
  • more agreeable

According to him, instead of focusing on why there are so few women in leadership positions, we should focus on why there are so many men there. The reason for that is higher drive for status in males. The author suggest that the non biased-way to support women in tech is to embrace their “natural” characteristics.

I was shaking a little bit with anger and I was teary when I was reading it. Perhaps I’m being more “naturally” emotional as a woman and that’s why. Or perhaps we know shit about how men or women are. We can’t attribute to biology what’s in fact cultural. For centuries we’ve been living in a patriarchal society that told women they’re not as good as men. We’ve endured centuries of suppression of female intellect and stereotyping. The drill is: women are the caregivers, males the breadwinners. The success of a man is associated with money, self-expression and assertiveness. The success of a woman with obedience, homeliness and pleasantness. After centuries of such conditioning perhaps men may seem to be “naturally” more driven to achieve status and women more agreeable. It just seems natural, however, because that’s what we mostly see and this is because such characteristics are results of imposed social conditioning. We can’t possibly know how males and females would be if not for that! If in a hundred years of teaching women that they have the right to speak up and that their opinions matter, they’ll still be more agreeable than maybe (just maybe) we can start to talk about our natural inclinations to be in such a way.

As a kid I used to be a hardcore gamer and I knew a lot about computers. I could even fix small problems and if I couldn’t do it myself, I knew how to follow the instructions. I liked books and I liked computers. Informatics was one of my favorite subjects at school and I always had A’s in it. Then I went to high school and our informatics class got divided in two: boys and girls. For all I know the curriculum was pretty much the same and yet, there must have been a difference between us if we got divided in that way? I used to help others with various assignments as I just found them easy. I really enjoyed the class but I felt that whatever I did wasn’t going to get me recognition. And it didn’t. When the regional competition in informatics was happening none of the girls was encouraged to take part in it. I think that’s when I lost interest. Then life happened and I didn’t have time for gaming anymore. Slowly but surely I stopped reading updates about the newest gadgets in the tech world. Now, I need to ask my husband to sort things out for me, just like I’m “biologically” inclined to.

The guy who wrote the manifesto got fired. Justice has been done? Not really. Finger-pointing will just discourage people from speaking up and if they don’t speak up we’ll never know how many people believe such theories. We should find ways to make people understand why they’re wrong in their internalised sexism. They’re views are not “biological” and they’re not just like that. Such thinking is a product of social conditioning too and we should try to find ways to undo it. This guy is a Google engineer for goodness’ sake! We must ask ourselves: How do people with such views still slip through the cracks during their education?