Hello! Greetings from a halfbreed. I call myself a halfbreed because, biologically I am a male and socially, in many ways, a heterosexual man. However, I find literally (and I mean, literally) everything most men do, think, and preach or practice, objectionable to various degrees. If that is not the definition of a halfbreed in your book, I sincerely apologize, but please bear with me. I hope by the end of this letter, you may find my offenses forgivable. Before proceeding any further, I must make a disclaimer – I am from a third world country, so what I am about to describe might sound Victorian in its essence, and perhaps obsolete. Though I wonder, how many kilometers or nautical miles separate the modern world from mine, especially when connectivity is the middle name of our age. I have a hypothesis though, albeit, completely unsupported and unverified so far; perhaps, every developing nation needs a queen Victoria and a Victorian society to advance to the next stage!?
But I digress! My troubles began after I wrote a story about a woman, who was seduced, sexually abused and dumped by one of her male lecturers during her first year as an undergrad student. Later that lecturer (now a professor, but full, half or quarter, I do not care) did the same to quite a few other students too. There are also rumours that the protagonist of my story was not his first prey either. Anyways, due to a diminishing but still widespread practice of marrying off female children as soon as they reach the legally acceptable age of 16, by the time the protagonist got enrolled in her undergrad program, she had already been married once and five childless years later, divorced consequently. In my opinion, individuals with such turbulent background are often more susceptible to sexual predation.
The story also has a male character (other than the serial rapist) as a foil to the protagonist. What this character propounded in the story was the view (quintessentially Victorian, in my opinion), that is harboured by most men around me at least; or that was what I thought while composing the story. He is a batchmate of the victim/protagonist. Once she tells him about the incident, albeit hiding a little in fear of the judgemental nature of men, he tells her that it must have been her fault, because she did not know how to behave like a “proper woman”. According to this view, God created men to be easily arousable, both in terms of sex and violence. So it is always a woman’s responsibility to resist men’s advances. In brief, if a man successfully seduces a woman, as long as the woman is older than 21, it is her fault. She has sinned twice in fact; once by arousing the man and then by failing to resist his advances.
Being the naive fool I am, I had hoped that the woman readers of the story would find such beliefs abhorring and I was sincerely shocked when my eyes were pried open to the realities. I have lost friends for my socially unacceptable writing. I have been warned, with varying degrees of humility, not to make too much noise about the underlying issue, because a “teacher’s respect” and career is at stake. I can only gasp in shock! If a mere “teacher’s respect” provides one with immunity against such atrocities, I wonder, how much immunity does a celebrity’s or a political leader’s respect ensure! Then came this : “Since, a woman has more to lose from a sexual intercourse, if it does not end up in marriage, a woman must always be more careful than a man before committing to sexual intercourses.” I was completely blown away (not literally, though I wish I were!). Being a married mother of one, she has access to and knows about the existence of contraceptives. Before their invention and widespread availability (since 1960s), for hundreds of millennia, female Homo Sapiens have been fertile all year round, unless they are either pregnant already, or have one or more nurslings to care for. So, it was literally a female’s responsibility to choose the father of her children, very wisely and with extreme caution. Statistically, one out of every three intercourses could have resulted in a pregnancy. But the availability of contraceptives has finally freed the female from that biological burden.
The reason I have used the term “Female” instead of “Woman” in the preceding paragraph, is because I have learned and believe, Female/Male are biological categories, while Woman/Man are social constructs. One does not necessarily imply the other. Therefore, with the freedom of your own body and reproduction cycle, I believe a female Homo Sapiens can demolish the construed wall of differences between a man and a woman. However, I can only guess at how obscenely thick and rockhard that wall must be. The species, now with immodesty and incompleteness, named as Homo Sapiens (Wise Men), first evolved in East Africa around 300 thousand years ago. Since then we have eked out our living more or less like bands of chimpanzees, with weaker teeth and jaws for at least 75% of the time of our existence on Earth. So much so, that even now, “One on one, and even ten on ten, we are embarrassingly similar to chimpanzees…” (Harari, Y N : Sapiens) Only in the last 70 thousand years, since and due to our cognitive revolution, we have been able to bypass our genome, and suppress biology with cultures and history.
Now, after 21 centuries since the advent of the largest organized religion in existence today, and 15 since the second one, how far have we come? I have no degrees in history, but from my reading I have realized that at least for the last 3,000 years – myths, legends, stories, fictions, collective imagination and imagined realities have been primarily the dominion of males. Unsurprisingly, they have constructed the social definitions of Manhood to suit their biological inclinations. The production of sperm cells is empirically cheaper and less cumbersome than eggs; so much so, that evolution has limited female Homo Sapiens to only 400 eggs for her entire fertile life. But males have bypassed their genome and some of them can even become a Pope to spiritually rule over more than two billion human souls, without ever having to contribute in the biological realm! Why must a female be limited to and judged by her capability to make as many or as little of her eggs as possible (depending on the prevailing socio-economic and political fictions of the time)? Unless of course you are freely choosing to do so. But, come on, do you, really?
Yes, Male and Female brains are different in some ways. For example, due to evolution male brains are usually more adept at registering sudden movements (to aid them in their hunting) and female brains are usually more adept at recognizing who is sleeping with who in a group (to aid them in their socializing). But at the same time female brains are more adept at caring and tolerance than male’s. Not only that, but your brains are also better wired to approach issues holistically, while my brothers’ ones are better equipped to solve the problems, one at a time, often without caring for the accumulated harm from their disjointed efforts. So I humbly beg you, can you not take over the world’s governments, religions, societies, corporations, markets, academies, courts, communities, families and let a handful of halfbreeds like myself, breathe in peace? If you believe in the existence of God, why must God be a masculine word, or referred to by the male pronoun, “He”?
What do you think, Almighty God cannot bless us with Her light?