Since yesterday officially marked the end of the ‘Women’s History Month 2021’, so I wanted to share some of my feelings about this and wanted to keep this celebration of women’s history going!
So, this month’s theme was an extension of last year’s and was dedicated to all the “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced”. Personally, I would like to stretch this a bit more and include any women who is #valiant, any women who has #refused to be silenced! Because as an outspoken woman I know it’s not always easy.
Since the time I have developed my own ideologies and developed confidence to speak about them, I have been classed as a “Feminist” and growing up I genuinely thought that it was the biggest compliment that I could receive, because I had heard people call my mother a feminist too, so I was so proud to be like her.
But as I became more “worldly-wise” I realized that this term was associated with me and not always as a compliment. Sometimes people would call me a feminist simply because I would call out #hiddenbiases, make them realize about the various challenges, big or small, a girl must face in her everyday life growing up in India or because
I would just simply show them a mirror. And because the image they saw wasn’t always pleasant, even shocking sometimes, they would think that I am being disruptive or argumentative, they would ignore my rationale under the premise that I am a “feminist” hence my opinions are always “Women favouring and Men hating” …and in my naivety, I even accepted that!
But despite all that, there really has never been a moment that I have not been proud to be a #feminist. Though I’ll be honest, I sometimes got tired of the fact that I had to drag some conversations to make people realize that sometimes it is scary to be a woman! Trust me, its not the easiest conversation to have.
Thankfully as I evolved, so did my understanding of this term feminism and I realized that like so many other things in my life, this term is also very #accepting. It does not mean that I have to love everything a woman says and hate everything a man does. NO, infact a feminist can’t be far from it!
The dictionary definition of feminism means, “Advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
And that’s exactly what a #feminist does, a feminist is simply a person who is calling out for equality, irrespective of a person’s gender!
Being a #feministwoman doesn’t make me blind to when a woman is making another woman’s life miserable or when a man is going out of his way to support a woman. It doesn’t make me blind to the fact that in our patriarchal Indian society sometimes it’s the mother or the sister who is doing their best to make sure a girl doesn’t get a fair start in life or can’t progress ahead despite of her talents. And sometimes it’s the father or a brother who steps in and uses their authority to let a girl dream!
So why does everyone get so uncomfortable or scared when I sit amongst my peers and call out unfair expectations of women or when I mention how even a seemingly simple task could’ve required huge courage simply because a women did it?
Why do so many of my smart and progressive peers, still think that me raising my voice to shine light on women around me, means I am taking their shine away?
Why are we afraid around women who are refusing to be silenced? When clearly men can be feminists too?
But no matter what they say, no matter how uncomfortable they get, I know I wont stop talking.
I know I can’t stop them from thinking that I am “argumentative” so why should I let them stop me from supporting my female peers and calling out when I see unfair treatment or even unfair expectations?
But enough about me, I didn’t start writing all this, because I wanted to talk about me. NO!
I started writing because I wanted to talk about that little girl in India who took the courage to tell her parents that she wants to continue to study rather than sitting at home and waiting to be married – it is most difficult to take a stand against the people we love the most.
I am writing to talk about all those young girls, I see around me, who choose to play football despite of the fact that only drawing or craft sheets were provided to them in a daycare – yes this might seem trivial to us, but what we might not realize is that they are trying to break the mould right from a young age.
I am writing to support all those women who are busting their ass, trying to live their life the way they choose too, rather than conforming to the expectations that people had of them – afterall everyone has to pay a huge price to be independent and seem rather carefree.
I am writing to support all those working mothers, who would often have the guilt of being selfish and not being able to spend enough time with their kids – yes even the seemingly “cold-hearted working mother” suffers from her own guilts and she carries on despite of that.
I am writing to shine light on all those valiant girls, those Braveheart women, who in their everyday life not only carry on, but shine, despite hearing a gazillion times “its not a girls job”, “you’ve done good for a girl”, “are you sure you can do this” – yes we have our doubts and sometimes the naysayers around us fuel those doubts, but courageous are the ones who carry on despite that.
I am writing so that even after the end of #WomenHistoryMonth we should not forget that there are so many women in our history who refused to be silenced and that has enabled us to have generations of “outspoken”, “argumentative” women, and their celebrations and encouragement should not stop even if the calendar marks the end of the month!
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