bySonu BohraMar 08, 2017 #ThingsToDo 1 Likes
Most of my early teenage life was spent as a tomboy. By that I mean I didn’t particularly enjoy “girl talk” about crushes on neighbourhood boys and I simply didn’t want to deal with any of the associated societal pressures of being a woman: from being expected to behave demurely to having to doll up at family affairs. Being a boy seemed like an easy option then (and really, at that age, it’s as simple as that. I want to be a boy. Okay) and not much has changed since. Of course, ironically now I’m a fashion writer and a style blogger (and luckily a far cry from the teenager using laziness as an excuse to hide the frumpy and gawky growing years); a career viewed as supremely feminine.
Then, the struggle was internal; now time and awareness and travel have opened my eyes to the ongoing struggle at large. My ideology wasn’t about feminism at that young age; it was about my choice and my comfort and the acceptance I may or may not have received. I see that that is a luxury not everyone enjoys. Today, I see and accept that a lot has changed for women – but there’s a bittersweet edge to it. We get to vote but not be president. We get to drive (almost everywhere) but are stereotyped and the butt of bad driver jokes. We get to cry openly but are called too sensitive. We get paid more than we used to in many fields, but not as much as our male colleagues. The irony isn’t lost on me… although the ignorance of youth felt like a safer haven.
Patriarchy is so well cemented in our system that ‘allowing’ us to study, vote, drive and simply be is considered “good enough”. Asking for anything more is asking for too much. Sure, we’ve evolved from where we started, but is that enough? I’m not cynical or lacking perspective on the situation, but it baffles me that we’re still discussing issues over feminism. A friend once asked me if I was stuck in a fire wouldn’t I want a male fireman to save me instead of a ‘firewoman’? It took me a second to understand the question and gulp down the straight-faced prejudice. I simply said, “I can’t afford to be a sexist during a crisis (or ever).” There was a world of assumption in his question: that women couldn’t be as strong, as fast, as capable in such situations. That we are somehow less, because of the gender we were born.
While there are ill-informed individuals, and (my favourite term for such people) sh*t stirrers everywhere in the world, I want to focus on what it truly is to be a feminist in today’s world. It’s not just about equal pay: it’s about equal opportunity, equal understanding, equal acceptance. How many girl children are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts? From opportunity comes talent which translates to qualification for equal pay, and more importantly, a life of equal value. But none of that is possible without an equal voice. And every troll out there looking to make a joke about “feminazis” and “man-haters”: you’ve missed the point. We’re not the ones putting a silent majority down; we want to help them rise. So the next time you meet a real-life troll don’t just ignore him/her. You may not be able to change his/her opinion but it’s just as important to voice yours.
Words by Sonu Bohra| Edited by Namrata Sheshadri
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