If you are attractive and you are a Bhutto, there’s no way you can be ignored. Fatima Bhutto anyway draws attention for the simple fact that she’s a rebel. She could have been just another young woman in her late 20s, had she not been living the Bhutto lineage. But don’t let her petite frame fool you. In a crisp cotton sari, with a poise that equals grace and conviction at the same time, Fatima Bhutto is more than just a pretty picture.
Of course, she garners enough glances from men. At the recent launch event of her book, Songs of Blood and Sword, Bhutto admits with a laugh. But does she also manage to intimidate them? “You know, you don’t need to have the power tag on you. I think men are generally intimidated by any smart, intelligent woman,” she confesses with a smile.
Do powerful women overawe men? Clinical psychologist Hemalatha S says, “I think men are not as intimidated as much as they are confused. Most men in our country grow up with stereotypes of women. They see their mother or grandmother at home and the fact that the educated women of today suddenly equal them, becomes hard for them to digest. It boils down to an ego conflict.”
She adds that young urban women are now educated, financially independent and have parental support. They manage to combine and balance the emotional and cognitive parts quite well at home and at the corporate level. “It baffles men when they see their women questioning things. They are usually brought up in a system that ingrains the idea of domesticated women and when they see their partners doing well, they start feeling insecure,” Hemalatha explains.
Trupti Jayin, another clinical psychologist, feels this is common with women getting into male-dominated fields like aviation and mechanical engineering. An attractive woman is also valued more for her looks than her intelligence. “Men have always known one role, that of the provider. Now women also have taken up that place. Gender bias and one-upmanship come into play,” she asserts.
About 40-50 per cent marriages result in divorces in the age group of 25-35 years. Jayin says, “It’s better to work at two different places to avoid stepping on each others’ toes. Many women lead two lives — one at home and another at work. Often they tend to punish themselves for any confrontation at home. I think women should just drop that self-blame and guilt.”
According to Hemalatha, female chauvinism shouldn’t come into play. “I feel the concept of nuclear families acts as a boon. There’s no one to tell the kids that women are to be typecast in one single role. A lot of young couples raise their children well, and teach them to respect women today,” she reflects.
Fatima Bhutto would rather…
*Be an established writer. She has no intentions of joining politics, would rather comment from the periphery.
* See more straightforward Indo-Pak collaborations on films. She feels films are a powerful medium to raise and explore the conflict.
*Read books day in and day out and whenever she gets the time. The History Of Love is her favourite book.
*Wear a T-shirt and jeans on a normal workday. She was told to cover her head while participating in a campaign in her homeland once. But she feels women can wear whatever they are comfortable in.