Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Chapter 12 “Nine Nights of Dance”

[Behind the Beautiful Forevers]

In chapter 12 “Nine Nights of Dance” of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Annawadians prepare for Navratri, a yearly festival of dancing where girls considered themselves equals to the boys. During preparation, Meena and Manju spend a great deal of time discussing, marriage, family life, and the death of Fatima the One Leg.

Boo writes “The day before Asha’s Navratri began, the maidan underwent a fury of beautification. Abdul and his garbage piles were banished, and women swept and swept. A teenaged boy shimmied up the flagpole to anchor the strings of lights, while other boys climbed onto hut roofs to affix the ends of the strings to corrugated eaves” (309).

What did you find most notable about the author’s discussion of gender inequality in the chapter? Why? Provide page citation please.

--Kacee Aldridge  

12 comments:

Shervonti Norman said...

What I found most notable about Boo's discussion of gender inequality had to do with the festivities right before Navratri. This was on page (301) and the girls weren't allowed to play in the mud with the boys on during Haandi. It bothers me that the girls that are the same age as these boys are expected to be perfect and behave as perfect little women. The girls are robbed of their childhood and even with that little short of a part in the chapter, it's very notable.

Mercedes H said...

In chapter 12, what I found most notable about Boo's discussion of gender inequality dealt with Meena and her being beaten by her brothers. It is absolutely disturbing to me that because "at lunchtime, she refused to make her younger brother an omelet because she was fasting and didn't want to be tempted by food. Took a beating for that, too" (pg 311, 312). I don't see why simply because the woman of the house would not prepare a meal she was beaten. It is not only the job of a woman to cook and clean, but the job of everyone who takes part in eating or making that mess. It sincerely touches my heart that a girl could be mistreated and beaten because she has not cooked nor cleaned good enough.

Brianna B said...

I think what I found most notable about Boo's discussion of gender inequality Meena's comment on page 308 about preference for poison leading to death rather than being burned alive. To me, this was the most notable because it was bleak and incredibly negative and it was just accepting of a dark deeply negative position in life with no desire to change it. These women are robbed of their rights except it seems how to accept death rather than the unfair lot they are given in life.

Natalie Thompson said...

I found it notable that the young woman are married off at such a young age and that the young women have no say so in who they marry. One page 306 the author states how marrying into a village is like a time traveling backward to Menna and Manju. It seems that these young woman have no decision making when It comes to their lives. They are raised to be given away at the age of 15 to be someones wife, so to me it doesn't seem like they get to really enjoy their youth. In the end I guess it is all too much for Meena to bear so she commits suicide.

Conradette King said...

What I found most notable about the author's discussion of gender inequality was when Meena was beaten for not making food for brother while she was fasting on pg 311-312. It is hard for me to imagine a world where I could be be abused for not following the orders of a male figure. It just shows how society really hasn't changed in all these years for Indian women and women of the 3rd world in general.

Belainesh Nigeda said...

I think the most notable aspect of the chapter regarding gender inequality was the fact that they got nine days (Navratri) to be considered an equal (301). Besides those days, men are superior to women; and as a result, women are forced to live their lives according to the Annawadian tradition.

Although, the roles of women in the culture is to submit to the men, it would be expected that it is "okay" or "normal". However, these women know that it is not right to live life answering to the command of a man. Manju and Meena made it clear several mentioned it several times when they mentioned "time traveling backward" (306). These women felt that the current traditions of Annawadi was wrong and that they should have the right to finally make decisions for themselves.
-B. Nigeda

Anitra B. said...

What I found most notable was on page 311-12 when Meena was beaten for not making her brothers' food. It saddens me because she was only trying not to be tempted while on her fast. It also saddens me that the women have more expectations and are forced to grow up faster, unlike the men of their same age. I know that this is the norm in some cultures but it's really heartbreaking and unfair.

Sierra Ewing said...

In chapter 12, I found that the women had very little choice on the direction of their life. For instance, they had no say on the person that they were to marry. They had no protection from the tradition of fixed marriage. They had their whole lives decided for them. I find that to be a very empty existence. This quote really stuck out to me; "What if over the verge of marriage stretched an adult life even more confined than her childhood had been?" It is amazing how they describe this on page 306, the word confined is such a strong word; it is as if she will be trapped in a life that is not her own. This almost doesn't make me think of gender equality as it does the right for people to choose the way in which they live and find happiness. It makes me really feel for those who grow up in cultures where the norm is a fixed marriage. What quality of life is offered to those who have no choice in how they live in it? It should be a universal right to choose who you get to spend your life with.

Andrea R. said...

What I found most notable about the discussion on gender inequality is how much women and young girls' lives are policed. This is best exemplified in the line stating that girls are not allowed to play in the mud during the Haandi festival (301). Reason why this is an example of body policing is because it shows that young girls are taught from an early age that their bodies are not meant to be dirty. These are ideals that carry into adulthood as well as women are then taught to believe that their bodies are not truly their own or that they don't have total control over their own bodies.

Breanna B. said...

Marrying so young is something I can't imagine having to do myself, so I find it extremely "out there." It's sad to know those young woman won't decide who they'll be with or when they will be with someone. On page 306, it's said to be like "time traveling backwards." The message behind this is not one of positivity.

Ajeenah Johnson-Brown said...

One thing I found notable was how the young girls are expected to grow up so much faster than the boys. They can't participate in fun activities, like play in the mud with the boys (301) at Haandi. THey are also expected to serve the men of the house and take care of the household. We saw this when Meena got punished for not making food for her brother (312). While reading the chapter, I began to reflect on our society. While we do not make girls take on so much responsibility, we too have gender differences. Girls are expected to not be as sexually forward as men. Girls are taught at a very young age that marriage is important and one of the ultimate goals in life. Too many women here in America give up their dreams and goals to either serve a man or give him the "power" he needs to feel like the head of the household. So really, are we that different from Annawadians?

Jessica Oranika said...

The thing that I found most disturbing about the gender inequality was the frequency and the casual nature of the beatings that Meena received from her brothers. (pg 311) It seemed that they were allowed to beat her for pretty much any reason and she was treated almost as their slave just because she was a girl.