Dear all and sundry,
I am a single working woman in my 20s, comfortably living in a metro city, earning my livelihood – in a nutshell -‘fortunate’ in many ways. But being a woman, I have faced my share of struggles and humiliation. I have been reminded of my femininity every single day since childhood – when boys in my class passed lewd remarks at my body, when I was being ogled by street hooligans the day I wore my new skirt, the wrinkles of worry on my mother’s forehead when I was late while returning from school, when men don’t look at my face but at the area below my neck – as if it is their new way of paying respect to a lady. They think we don’t pay attention to their eyes – the reality is we know how each and every eye is set on us. We can differentiate the decent from the lecherous.
But I have been fortunate in many ways – my family has given me every encouragement that a child of their family deserves. In fact, I did not know what words like feminism, chauvinism, women empowerment meant until I moved out of the realm of my protective and supportive family – because both my brother and I were equally ‘empowered’ at home – we both received rebukes from mom when we made mistakes; we both got rewarded when we achieved an accomplishment. Both of us got good food, good clothes, good education, independence of thought and a good environment to grow. Neither of us received undeserving favors from either of our parents.
My point in telling all this :
I am neither interested in being a victim nor in preaching feminism here. What I am interested in is telling exactly this to the whole world. I am not a victim. I do not need sympathy. I want equality (Gender Equality is often a misunderstood term these days). Yes, I am reminded of my femininity everyday – but I am not backed down by it. It is not a handicap. I am an independent , strong girl capable of teaching misbehaving men (or even women) a lesson. I don’t want undeserving recognition or retribution from anybody just because I am a female. I want to be treated equal to anybody and everybody –like my brother and I are treated at home. Yes, I want protection from criminal minds of the society , but don’t men also need that ? I don’t want empowerment but equal opportunities – I will empower myself. Putting myself at a pedestal above men is not my intention. All men are not bad. In fact I have met many who are gems of a person. Just because of a few rotten ones, I cannot blot the entire race – like the way not all women are respectable and virtuous- some are nastier than men.
For all the criminal-minds / so – called- feminists / misogynists / chauvinists , here is what I have to say to you :
I will not tolerate any kind of violence inflicted on me – not by men OR women. I will not tolerate assassination of my character by a man OR a woman. I will give as much freedom and respect to my husband as he gives me. Infidelity is not an option – same rules for both of us. I do not want to receive undue advantage from anybody – be it in school , college or office. I want to earn my respect . I will pay half the bill when I go out with my boyfriend. I do not want any man to get up from his seat in a bus or train until and unless I am old, unwell or pregnant (In that case, I will need it !). I will teach my son to respect girls as much as I will teach my daughter to treat boys with same respect. I will teach them to protect themselves from criminal minds in the society – both men and women alike. I will teach them equality in its purest form.
I want to be free from feminism, prejudice or chauvinism.I don’ t want to be objectified or worshiped. I simply want to be a face of equality .
21st Century Woman