#FeministMondays | No Cheers For Good Women

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"Acche ghar ki ladkiyan alcohol drink nahi karti". This translates to "Girls from good homes don't drink alcohol" and this was a line made wrongly famous by the movie PINK.

Have you ever noticed that when you are out for a meal and how the waiter gives the woman the food menu and the man the drinks menu? In India, drinking is somehow considered a man thing. I'm sick and tired of being judged for enjoying a drink every now and then. If the whole point is about alcohol being bad for health, when did the importance of good health become gender specific? Men can drink, but women can't? Our society needs to grow up way too much.

Girls who drink are considered characterless, sluts, immoral and what not. But somehow a man drinking is directly proportional to his virility. To be a man, he must drink. To be a woman, she must not drink. Or rather to be a good woman she must not drink. If this isn't prejudice then I don't know what is. As long as a woman is not pregnant or planning to get pregnant, I don't see why she should not enjoy a drink. While drinking is not good for health, it can be fun when done in moderation. I love having long conversations over a drink with my husband or a night out with my friends where we talk about everything under the sun and say Cheers for the wonderful time we have. While it is something very normal for me, many people just frown upon it.

To be honest, I'm someone who enjoys her rum and I can hold it very well. Nothing like a glass of Old Monk and Coke to relax me. This drink holds a lot of significance for me. It was over this very drink that my husband and I bonded years ago and fell in love. Till date, when we drink together we look back at those beautiful times. There is one more thing that is associated with a woman who drinks. If she drinks, she must only drink mocktails, a breezer or wine. Apparently hot drinks like rum, scotch and whiskey are manly drinks. Once when I was out for a team outing and was happily sipping on to my OMR, a female colleague who was seated two seats away from me, messages me saying that she cannot believe that I'm having rum and that I should have wine instead as it is more ladylike. Safe to say, we are not friends anymore. It is 2017 and I live in the party hub of the country and still men raise their eyebrows when they hear that a woman drinks. If she drinks anything apart from wine and the fruity breezer, their jaws would need to be picked off the floor.

While a lot of things in our country is considered gender specific, drinking still remains a taboo for women. While most men think this, they are joined by an equal number of women. It is not a hidden fact that mostly it is a woman who is responsible for judging another woman. Mothers who are okay with their husbands and sons drinking, suddenly bring the roof down when they hear that their daughters or daughters-in-law drink too. I remember the furor a display picture of me created where I was seen holding a glass of white wine. I thought I looked good in the picture, so I uploaded it. Not to prove a point or anything. But people thought that it was to show off and since I was holding a glass of wine (it could have been water too), more than one finger was pointed at me. If a guy puts up a picture of him holding a drink, people will comment with "Enjoy dude" instead.

As a woman, try buying alcohol from one of the stores and you will be welcomed with glares. Does anyone look badly at a man buying alcohol? He'll be applauded for his choice of strong beer or would be recommended something stronger. I have male friends who complain that their wives don't allow them to drink and how they look forward to their time out with their boys. I once suggested why not drink with their wives and include them in their night outs too, they gave me a stare that I cannot forget till date. When men date women, they need a cool girl who drinks and smokes and gives them good company. But for marriage, they need a girl who doesn't know how to spell alcohol. If they end up marrying the woman they date, then the woman is expected to give up drinking and smoking as she is some one's wife now. What is the connection you ask? I have no clue my friend.

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While drinking might still be considered okay for a woman, smoking will generate more gasps than required. When I used to smoke some years ago, I know the looks that I have got. Men have asked me out in the smoking zone thinking I was easy, other women have shunned me and others have looked at me like I was a virus they need to stay away from. But men are considered cool when they smoke. I know of some men who have taken up the habit just to look cool and be "in". Smoking is a disgusting habit and I'm ashamed of having done it, not only because I'm a woman. Let's face it, it is not like the lungs of men are made of iron. When someone I know once saw me smoking at work, it caused more catastrophe than the 9/11 attacks. Instead of confronting me, they decided to call the whole universe and let them know about it. Including my to be mother-in-law. Very classy, I know! Had I been a guy, this very person would have joined me for a smoke at that very instant, that I'm sure of. I had nothing to hide, I came clean on what I had done. While for me it was just a bad habit, it apparently had dented my character as well. Not that I cared about it, because I knew how dented their thoughts are.

I work in a big MNC and with people who have traveled abroad many times. Till date, when they see an Indian woman smoking, they lose their shit. Strangely, it is okay for them to see a non-Indian woman smoke. While they will stand in that very smoking zone, holding a cigarette in their hand, they continue to judge the girl in front of them for smoking. If a woman smokes, then it is the stamp of her being a characterless person. If a man smokes, he's the coolest being on the planet. We indeed are an awesome country.

Hookah joints are getting pretty famous all over the country and my husband and I like to enjoy it once in a while too. Every time I place an order for a particular flavor, I'm warned as to that is a very strong flavor. When he does it, they take the order with a smile. This has happened way too many times to be ignored. Who decides what is strong for a woman? Who decides what a woman should drink? While we are already judged enough for what we wear, are we also expected to think twice before enjoying a drink or two? When I finally developed a taste for beer, the guys said "Welcome, you are one of us now". When I have more than a few drinks and still sit steady, the guys said "Wow, you can handle your drink well for a girl". The saddest thing is that some women think that girls who drink do it to show that they are strong like men. Almost like it is a showcase of strength for survival. I have actually seen some men pass out just with the sniff of a drink. What do we say to that?

Alcohol and smoking are not the best of habits, but it can be fun when done in moderation. Like they say, too much of anything is too bad. The same goes with this as well. The unnecessary need to make this gender specific is beyond stupid. Anyone who is an adult and knows what they are doing can drink or smoke. They know the bad effects of it. Why make different rules for men and women when it comes to wanting to have a good time. Not that drinking is the only way one can relax and have a good time, but if one wants to, then what is the harm?

Judging a woman based on the drink she holds in her hand is probably just one of the reasons why we need feminism today. What is your take on this?


This post is a part of the powerful series #FeministMondays on Naba's blog and you can be a part of it too. On the second Monday of every month, write an impactful post with the hashtag #FeministMondays and link it back to Naba's blog.

18 comments:

  1. I hate it when a girl's character is determined based on her drinks. How shallow can one be. You go girl... You enjoy your rum and Live your life. I used to drink and have fun with my girlfriends... Mostly vodka as I didn't like any other drink. These days it's only an occasional wine, I have become boring now :)
    I can imagine how stifling it must be enjoy a drink there. Here we have office drink parties and no one judges what the other person is drinking.

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    1. Nothing boring about that, it is always just a matter of choice :)

      That's the difference between India and other countries.

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  2. I know what you say is true, hypocritical as that is. I would say ignore the lot. I generally don't like hard drinks. Wine works for me or cocktails like Marguerita etc. But I am perfectly fine with women having hard drinks. It is very strange the ways of the world and how much judgment a woman endures.

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    1. I just ignore and move on. Nothing else can be done too.

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  3. Typical case of us guys being MCPs and hypocrites. The 'sanskari naari, bahu ki rani' image moulded into their head cannot see beyond that even if they drink and smoke themselves. Again, sadly, I have doc friends who are very much the same and definitely judge on this criteria... so I can't even say it is education. Upbringing matters.

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    1. I hear you, Doc. Education should help, but it doesn't. I've seen some of the most elitest families behave like this. Yes, upbringing definitely does.

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  4. seriously, Indians are the biggest hypocrites and the level of subtle gender inequality even in upper crust is disgusting. well penned!
    btw, have you tried Feni (cashew wine), it is awesome! I am fan!! :D

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    1. Sadly, it no longer is subtle.

      Tried once, the smell gives me a headache. If only I could drink it without having to smell it.

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  5. Well, as someone who has both smoked and drunk old monk with you, I'm just gonna say: They can go kiss where the sun don't shine.
    You do what you want to do girl! We've with ya!

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  6. Cheers to you post, Soumya.At a party, I'd overheard a married man tell his friend that 'women who smoke and drink are easy.'I couldn't believe my ears. He was glad his wife was a non-drinker.My husband and I enjoy our chilled beer and masala peanuts.Have been doing it for the past 30 years :)...cheers

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    1. You guys are now my rolemodel now :)

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  7. Oh! Ignore them all. You just enjoy your Run, girl. For me, I love my mock tails and wines and an occasional vodka. That's definitely not because I'm scared of what the society would think of me.

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    1. Oh yes! You drink what suits you, sistah!

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  8. I'm so sick of the double standards. I don't like smoking in either men or women and am unlikely to date a guy who smokes. But that's my preference around also having allergies! With drinking though, I like my drink in moderation and yes, in the past have been drunk. Last summer, I'd gone to an Indian restaurant with my partner at the time and he ordered a lassi while I ordered a beer. When the order came, they gave him the beer and me the lassi. I was so annoyed! Never happens in other restaurants or bars but somehow Indians assume women don't or shouldn't drink.

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    1. That's so annoying. You should have given them a piece of your mind, but I wonder how much even that would help.

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  9. Well, everytime I tell someone I drink or want a drink they behave like I'm an alien. When I say I want beer or tequila and now wine they again give me the looks. I don't care. If it is acceptable for a man to drink why shouldn't I?

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