Of virtual sisterhood and a secret Chinese script

Kavs left a comment on last week’s mommy post:

[…]we are a sisterhood, aren’t we? 🙂 can’t tell you how much all these stories from my virtual “sisters” have helped.[…]

A little tidbit suddenly came to mind. Did know about the NĂĽshu_script?

Source: Wikipedia

It’s a script for writing Chinese but it’s only known to women. Interesting, isn’t it? I found an article from The Guardian about the script. Here’s an excerpt:

After having their feet bound at around the age of seven, girls in Jiangyong County in Hunan province would live indoors – first in the “women’s chamber” of their own homes, and later in the homes of their husband’s family. To ease their isolation and offer support in their pain, girls from the same village were brought together as “sworn sisters” until their weddings. But a more serious relationship, almost akin to marriage and expected to last for life, could be arranged between two girls by a matchmaker, with a formal contract, if the pair shared enough of the same “characters” (being born on the same day, for example). In See’s book she writes: “A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity. A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose — to have sons.”

We expect more from our marriages today and we do get a whole lot more. It’s also finally politically incorrect to say #DespiteBeingAWoman. But there’s still a clear split between “real” problems and “women’s” problems. Men, even husbands, are not expected to listen to or take women’s problems seriously. In fact, those who are interested are thought much less of.

The need for a female confidant hasn’t diminished in any way. We still need someone who understands the baggage we carry and the problems we face almost everyday just because we’re women. We may not need a secret script but given how “shameful” some confessions are, we do need relative anonymity and virtual sisterhoods.

I find it a little sad sometimes that I can’t talk about some things without the cursory, “Oh, more feminist/girly stuff” dismissals. Why can’t things be feminist or girly and why shouldn’t more men be interested in what they might never feel or experience?

SMBC expresses this sentiment much better…

Source: smbc comics 3764

Dear Indra Nooyi

Thank you for reminding us that a degree from Yale and being the head of a Fortune 500 company does not equal shedding regressive expectations about gender roles. I wish I could say something insightful here but I suspect that your definitions of “having it all” and being a “good mother” don’t match those of my generation.

Link for those living under a rock (and peeking out only to read Simbly Bored)


A long time ago, when l was in grad school, F. D. shared with me her Secret Sauce. Pick two, she said. Two of Work, Life and Sleep. Don’t be greedy and you’ll be set. It worked. Not just in grad school but beyond. It worked right up until Chotu Singh came along or put differently, Life happened. Work can’t be put off indefinitely once the sleep deficit catches up, can it?

I’m battling a horrible time war at work these days. l love my new job but hate the hours. No, this is brutal honesty month so I’ll rephrase that. l hate IT culture. People come in late, take long breaks, stay late and expect everyone to do the same. On some days l get held up at work and hit traffic so bad that Chotu is asleep when l get home Before you judge, that’s at 7:30pm.

All l need to do is work from 9 to 6. I’m usually done with my work by 5. But l get held up because people get warmed up by 4 and ready to raise issues by 5:30. So l miss my low-traffic window. And lose the entire evening.

Brutal honesty part two… l really resent my 3 year break on bad days because l could have been one level higher and more in control if l hadn’t left.

No, I’m not bitter or angry. Just occasionally resentful when l miss my child at the end of the day. Facts can’t be denied, right?

Sigh! lt’s just a vent… Thanks for listening.