Getting in touch with woman-things


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Category: Women Date: 04 Jun 00

To women, love, hate and food are tied up in tight knots. We glow like candles when people appreciate our cooking. We eat when we are depressed. We stop eating when we’re in love.


Don’t doubt it. Women have an intimate and complex relationship with food. Moreso than men. Yes, there are overweight men. But we know how they got there. Too much beer. Too much meat. Not enough exercise. With men, what you eat is what you get. If they’re fit they like sport and lean meat. Speak of lean meat and their mind wanders off already. So let’s leave them there for a while.


But women and food. That’s another thing altogether. Remember they are 50 per cent of the world’s population and they are everywhere. Centuries of growing, harvesting, pickling, baking, roasting, frying, cutting, boiling, broiling, seasoning, peeling, salting, drying, cracking, straining, has given us a close relationship with food. For hundreds of years we lived in our narrow worlds keeping the fires of home and hearth going while our men played boy games.


Men fought wars, divided up countries, built forts, killed, murdered, pillaged, tortured, took prisoners, carved up treaties, conquered and colonised countries. They also played with machines and invented many useful things like wheels and planes and not so useful things for their games such as weapons and nuclear bombs.


Although women were fettered, our brains and our feet bound, and our sexuality strictly controlled, without us the human race would have died out long ago. Because we didn’t have to be distracted from boy games we had to look in and around us.


We began to study colours and textures of vegetables and fruit of plants and trees. We learned to like the feel of crisp leaves of spinach in our hands, the round smoothness of a melon, the jagged and pulpy texture of a sugar apple. We learned lessons about life and human nature from small things. Like biting into fruit with anticipated pleasure, and learning some fruit no matter how perfect on the outside could be worm-ridden on the inside.




Womanly Hands


Somebody had to stay home and have children and pass on values and culture, languages and religions, a sense of history and humanity to our human race. Women did it.


While our men were slashing others down, on podiums and trenches, or building tall buildings to feel important we kneaded and shaped our children’s bodies hearts and intellects so they could grow bigger than us.


Some womanly hand once fed, and washed little faces and hands of Plato and Socrates. Women planted seeds of justice and humanity in the hearts and minds of great men like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.


We have shaped the history of the world after all. The biggest irony for us women is that after we won our battles to vote, study, work, and be equal, we began to think of domesticity the way men do - with contempt, placing little value on the many little things women do at home.


Instead of using our new strength to demonstrate to the world that women at home perform executive jobs, and are excellent managers, we sold our sisters out. We bought into the male worldview of power and wealth that we previously knew to be somewhat shallow and egotistical. We began to lose the little things.


This came as a revelation to me one evening in the kitchen while making spaghetti for dinner. I was watching the whirlpools of salt in bubbling water while the rain drubbed gently outside, a timid voice in my head said, “You like this don’t you?”

“Yes,” I replied “Its fun.”


The little voice continued. “You like it because it reminds you that your core is not made up of that rat race at all.” “Well, what is my core made up of then, since you know so much?” I asked the voice. (I hope not aloud since I’m still too young to talk to myself.) “Children, friends, books, travel, music, laughter, family, conversation, words, the way a child’s red ribbon lights up like a bulb when sunlight hits it. Learning new stuff, music, swirls of sand and waves, health, lovely faces, a face that makes your heart thump; dawns, chocolate.”


The voice wouldn’t stop. “For years you’ve devalued this work dismissing it as menial, but see how the stirring and the cutting and the peeling heals you, gives you back the sharp edge to your senses which were going dull from lack of use?

Our Hearts


“Here are ripe red tomatoes, and green green peppers and the grainy light green leaf of shadow benny. See how it crackles together in the frying pan makes you happy to be standing here, cooking?

“Here is a bottle of red wine - see its deep crimson, how it makes you think of miles of vineyards?

“And here are your children - who, with their tiny hands and clear eyes, and peculiar questions show you how fresh and huge the world can be. They should remind you that the only real stuff any of us ever leave behind is a bit of our hearts.” It paused. “This is the most important so listen up.” (Bossy voice).

“Women must leave to their children a strong resolve to give back to the less fortunate on this earth - believe in themselves so they can fulfil their potential anywhere on this vast earth.

“Plant a seed of humanity which will grow long after you’re gone. Tell women never to forget that they are the salt of the earth”

Salt water bubbled up and spilled out.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur