“If history bothered to document our stories, there wouldn’t be enough paper in the world to bear witness to all the women who’ve been imprisoned because our emotions proved too inconvenient for men to handle and too terrifying for them to ignore.”
This quote is from a powerful book called Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford – a book that I think everyone who identifies as a girl/woman must read. Ford is unabashedly, unapologetically talks about the fact that women have been, and still are, treated like shit. Like we don’t serve any purpose other than to be housewives, to cook, to maintain a home, and to be feminine because otherwise, “no man will want you.” Because no matter how modern people are, there are only so many “allowances” that will be proffered before things start to become “unnatural”.
I had originally wanted to post something here on International Women’s Day, talking about how privileged I am to be a woman. But how can I say that being a woman is a privilege when so many of my sisters across the world are treated as less than human? I can only say that I am privileged to be a woman in a family and a friend circle who are not so ancient in their thinking and who know the truth that a woman is not a baby-making or a cooking machine. I won’t say everything is hunky-dory. But a step forward is a step forward, no matter the circumstances.
This does not mean that I am happy with where we women are in the world at the moment. There are miles and miles to go before we get to a place where we are not looked down upon by half the world. I say half the world because patriarchy is such that it has conditioned even a lot of women to bracket and limit other women. “Oh, did your husband allow that?” “What will your parents say?” “What will your in-laws think?” “Oh, society is not kind to women. CONFORM!”
And not once is the way men are brought up talked about. I saw somewhere on the Internet today where the message Protect Your Daughter was spray-painted on a wall and someone wrote underneath it, Educate Your Son. Why don’t people understand this?
There are more, in addition to this. The seemingly innocent but micro-aggressions that happen every single day in every single house. The difference in the way people treat sons and daughters in the littlest ways. The way one’s comforts are prioritized over the other. The expectations that a woman needs to do everything that needs to be done at home but when a man does it, he is “helping out”, as if he doesn’t live in the same house.
And unless these are rooted out, unless people understand that micro-aggressions can be as annoying and sexist as the larger ones, how can we hope to change the world for women? How can we “celebrate” International Women’s Day wholeheartedly? Yes, the world is much better than it was. But there are elements that still exist that are so regressive, that sometimes it feels like we’re merely taking two steps backwards for every step forward.
This might seem a little negative, a little pessimistic, and blind to the progress we have made. But becoming complacent has always give women the short end of the stick. Women can never rest easy. How fair is that? To the gender that gives birth to life, no less! How arrogant do people have to be to treat birthgivers like that? And how self-important do people have to be to designate a whole gender to a level lower than theirs just because they see the world as they see it? This is what pisses me off. That the negativity and the dump causes us women to feel wary of the entire world because we don’t know which part of it is the good part.
There is good in the world. There’s no doubt of that. But when so much crap and deception gets thrown up, all we can do is keep our distance from everything. EVERYTHING!
And look at how the world treats women. Meghan Markle, who has done nothing to anyone, just trying to live and breathe with her family, is the butt of so much hate and ridicule. Sarah Everard was walking home and a lunatic decided that he’d had enough of a human doing a human thing. Her disappearance is causing outrage, and rightfully so. But you know what pisses me off? The people saying shit like, “Oh she shouldn’t have worn that.” Whoever says crap like deserves a special place in hell. That’s all I’m saying.
Oh, and let’s come back home and talk about how things are here at the moment. Democracy is being shat upon. People are unmindful of the fact that the pandemic is in full flow. And let me tell you, these are the least of our problems. Gang rapes are happening left, right, and center, and the authorities aren’t even protecting the victims. Instead, witnesses and family members are being swiped off the face of the earth. Making statements like, “call your molester ‘bhaiya’ and you can prevent rape” and “girls shouldn’t wear short clothes” is a fad. Shame on all these people.
Instead of targeting the criminals who do these, these enlightened people indulge in victim blaming to the point where they push the victim into doing extreme things. And then they say, “Oh, it was good that she did it. How could she face society?” Did these people ever once realize that THEY were the society she ran away from? That their way of thinking drove someone to take such an extreme steps? But no! They are pure and well-meaning and shit. Boils my blood.
If you tell me that being a woman is a privilege in the midst of all this, I’ll say yes, of course it is. But there’s also a chunk of the iceberg that you can’t see and that every woman lives with. Acknowledge a woman. Respect a woman. Treat her well. Give her the same importance you’d give a son or son-in-law, and not just behind the scenes.
And that is why, people, this year especially, after a lot of thought, I have come to the conclusion that celebrating women on just one day isn’t enough. CHANGE. Change the way we operate all year round. Change the way we think. Change the way we see differences. Change the way men, with all their privileges, butt in and say on Women’s Day, “Oh, but what equality are you talking about? That way, we need to have a Men’s Day, no?” If you kept your eyes and ears and mind open, Mister, you’d know that it is on November 19th. But you are so focused on raining down on other parades that you just don’t want to see that, do you?
I’ve gone on this rant for way too long this time. Just… Don’t forget us when March is over. We exist at other times too.
Happy International Women’s Day.