In a recent online interview, our homegrown American TV star Priyanka Chopra was quoted saying she "doesn’t need a man for anything other than to reproduce." While I reserve my comments on her show Quantico, she does make a point and I have to partly agree.
I have always believed men are beautiful creatures and have their use, but not necessarily for reproduction. We have other sources for that now. There are enough fertility clinics from where we can buy a can of good pedigree sperm and experience the joy of motherhood, without the hassle of marriage and intercourse, or adoption for that matter.
Before we turn this into a debate on gender equality, male chauvinism, women’s rights or female chauvinism, let us accept a few facts: Men and women are different, physically, psychologically and genetically.
One, they have penis, we have vagina. They have chest hair, we have breasts. They have the Y chromosome, we don't. Women have a uterus, men do not. No amount of bra burning feminism can change these realities.
The only common point where men and women meet to become equal are intellectually and financially. It is power play of the genders. Whoever wins gets to be on top.
When Priyanka says she would rather buy her own diamond ring or house, she is barely signalling this change of guard.
The role of men as the provider of food, shelter and security has blurred.
Financially independent, successful, powerful single women such as Priyanka don't need men to perform these traditional duties. Nor do they need a crutch to lean on to prove themselves, unlike some who require a marital or parental surname to ensure social acceptance and importance.
Oddly enough, as Priyanka was revealing the psyche of a successful, bold woman, I was watching a show called The Fall (2013) starring Gillian Anderson. Gillian plays Stella Gibson, police superintendent, a single woman who is bloody good and at the top of her job.
In one of the episodes, in between examining a butchered dead body, she waves at a handsome constable. She casually tells him the name of a hotel, and says, "I am in room 203", and then gets back to analysing the crime scene.
Later in the evening, when she opens her door for the constable, he asks, "How long has it been ma’am?" She says, "One month". Point taken, cowboy style. Once she heaves a sigh of relief, the constable, now back in his uniform, says, "Is there anything else ma’am?."
She says, "No, you may leave."
The high-strung, top cop Stella was merely looking for some stress busting and relaxation after a day of crime fighting. Now that's what we call a sweet night. Or in man-speak: a one-night stand. No questions asked, no goodbye kisses and cuddles. Job accomplished. Out the door.
Good sex that comes without the baggage of love, emotion and expectations. Not every woman wants to turn the process into a "lovemaking" or "will you call me" situation. Sometimes all she wants is a night of pure sex. No conditions apply.
This is the crossroad where men and women part ways, literally and psychologically. For a man, sex is about masculinity and scoring. Ask a guy about his one-night stands and there will be an entire story of how "she was so hot and f**kable", with an annexure, "but kind of clingy, I think." Men are tuned to believe that every time he has sex with a woman he is responsible for her, and that the act comes with certain expectations and ownership.
Which makes it almost impossible for them to comprehend the woman of today. She is independent, financially stable, in-control and can put more than just bread and butter on the table.
And hell! She is totally comfortable with a night of unconditional sex.
Most men don’t get the idea. After all, sex was always a man’s decision and the woman a means to the end. When did she take charge?
A while ago. Remember Mata Hari, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor who were more than comfortable in their skin. Think DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterly who lusted after a working class man. The book, published first in 1928 in Italy, was banned from being openly published in the UK as it had "explicit descriptions of sex and unprintable words."
In 2012, ABC introduced Ms Phyrne Fisher to the world, a single, glamorous, fearless woman, played by Essie Davis. Ms Fisher was a modern, real woman (even though the show was set in the 1920s) who made no effort to hide her glad eye for handsome men and unabashedly acted on her desires, as often as she pleased.
There is enough evidence in literature and on screen to illustrate the ease with which women are capable of disengaging sex from romance, without losing the thrill of it.
Deal with it boys. Man has a one-night stand, she is the object, he is the subject. Woman has a sweet night: She is the subject, he is the object.
The power woman is secure with herself and her sexual needs. She will have it when she feels like it and how she likes it. The man is merely incidental. Blow her brains out and close the door behind you. Silently.
What is the role of a man in this world where women are growing increasingly self-reliant? A husband who is a good lover? An agent for reproduction? Arm-candy with benefits? Good sex, good bye? Whatever suits you, I guess.
Oh! And that thing called love, well, that is a matter for the heart. Conditions apply.