Is it really awful that I don't feel sympathy for anyone killed on a gap yaar? That's awful, right? Yes, I'm a terrible person ... I actually smiled when I saw that they had double-barrelled surnames. Sociopathic?
So who is Kia Abdullah? She's a 29-year-old twice divorced writer who grew up in a Bangladeshi family in Tower Hamlets in London.
But she's hardly done too badly out of Britain. She graduated from the University of London, has had two novels published, was appointed an editor of Asian Woman magazine, was then appointed a columnist for Asiana magazine and has recently been a columnist for the left-liberal Guardian newspaper. It's difficult to see exactly how she has been held back, whether by being working-class or Bangladeshi or female.
Here's something else that's interesting about Kia Abdullah. Despite growing up in a Bangladeshi family, she absorbed the modern girl ethos just as thoroughly as any middle-class white girl. In one column she engaged in some self-reflection on why she and other women like her feel the need to be in competition with their boyfriends and husbands:
....a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly prevalent among my circle of friends and acquaintances: ambitious, successful and talented women suffering from an ever-diminishing sense of humour, and an unrelenting need to prove that they are equal, if not superior to, the men in their lives. It seems that showing signs of need, weakness, dependence or sometimes even personality, somehow compromises our quest for gender equality.
This type of behaviour is perhaps necessary in some arenas. When there is still a substantial pay gap between the sexes and people feel comfortable expressing sentiments such as "woman + ambition = bitch" in a public, albeit anonymous, forum, women need their armour of cold tenacity and competitiveness, but professional battles seem to be increasingly spilling over into personal lives.
It's what I refer to as the superwoman complex. So many modern women have fought so hard for freedom and independence that even when we have careers, homes and husbands, we still can't take a back seat and stop trying to prove ourselves. I may be wrong about the wider community of British women, but it's certainly something I see in my generation of British-Asian women who arguably have had to fight harder and longer for independence.
I am certainly guilty of this type of truculence. I react against all forms of dependence, stressing time and time again that I am independent and autonomous. During the course of my most recent relationship, I felt a constant need to prove that I was smart, secure, strong and self-sufficient. I was fiercely competitive and felt a relentless need to prove that I was right: a need that almost emasculated the man closest to me. In short, I couldn't stop fighting. I, like most women, want financial security, comfort, love and warmth, but for those of us who have grown up fighting patriarchy, it's difficult to allow a man to guide and support us, be it a father, lover or a boss.
It's a significant confession. She's saying that women are brought up to value being independent and autonomous and so become competitive with men not only in the workforce ("armour of cold tenacity") but even in their personal lives ("I felt a constant need to prove that I was smart, secure, strong and self-sufficient. I was fiercely competitive and felt a relentless need to prove that I was right"). She understands that this is at odds with her feminine need for financial security, comfort, love and warmth but that if you have grown up "fighting patriarchy" it's "difficult to allow a man to guide and support us, be it a father, lover or a boss."
You get some idea from this how Kia Abdullah managed to be divorced twice by the age of 29. It's also an insight into the mindset of a certain kind of modern girl; it shows how once women are persuaded that they should be independent and autonomous that relationships then become competitive as women won't allow themselves to admit to needing men and become determined to show that they are equal or superior to men in all fields of life. Hence the "harshness" that men sometimes intuit about a certain kind of modern woman.
We are bringing young women up with a set of political values that doesn't allow much of their natural femininity to be freely expressed - and this is particularly true of those young women who spend the longest in the education system and who are best able to discipline themselves to serve abstract ideals.