Tag Archives: feminism

WHY.

When I was ten years old, I was idealistic and innocent, as one would expect a ten year old to be. My perception of the world was hugely sugar coated. The story I’m about to tell you is from a time far before I understood the intricacies of human behaviour and relationships. This was a time when the world as I saw it, was simple and clear cut. There were good people and there were bad people. Friends and enemies. Black and white. I made friends easily, and I didn’t care where I made them. One such friend, was the liftman in our building.

He was new and I was curious. I went up to him and asked him his name, he told me his and asked for mine. That’s how we became friends. At least that’s what I thought we were. He would be there when I got home from school and would ask me about my day on our way up to the eighth floor. I would give him elaborate answers, describing my teachers, my friends, unnecessary details that were of no consequence to him. He would pay attention, nod sagely when I told him about something I learned in school, shake his head when I spoke about a fight with a friend. This went on for months and everything was great. But then things started to get weird.

A few months into my new found “friendship”, the liftman started to stand uncomfortably close to me while we were on our way up. I was young, the lift wasn’t particularly large, I presumed space constraints were the reason behind this sudden proximity. But I grew silent. I would stand there either anxiously looking down at my feet or up at the screen where the transition of floor numbers suddenly seemed painfully slow.

A few days later, on my way back home, I ran into him downstairs. He accompanied me into the elevator and smiled widely. I pretended not to notice, and fidgeted with the zipper on my bag. Again, he inched closer to me as the elevator doors slowly closed. He began to rub the side of his thigh, but the fact that he was practically pressed against me meant that his hand was running up and down the side of my leg. I was confused and scared. So scared. It didn’t take a particularly long time to get to the eighth floor, probably just a minute or so. But I was terrified. I got out as fast as I could and furiously rang the doorbell. My mom and dad were at work, so our housekeeper answered the door. She saw how petrified I looked and asked me what happened. I told her.

Fifteen minutes later my parents were downstairs with the police. That was the first time I saw my dad throw a punch. Angry tears rolled down my mothers cheeks as she yelled at the man who dared to touch her daughter. I was called downstairs to tell the police what happened. The liftman was there, crying and pleading with them and my parents to let him go. Thats a lot to take in when you’re ten.

I couldn’t sleep for months after, I’d wonder where the liftman was, whether he was plotting his revenge. I still worry sometimes, even though it’s practically impossible for me to run into him now after all these years.
Iv discussed this with a few of my friends and I found that each of them had their own stories to tell.

Why is it that the world is such a hostile place when you’re a woman. Why do these terrible things happen. Why.

Tagged , , , ,

Oh great, it’s the gender police.

I was wiling away time, as one does, on a popular social networking site the other day when I realized three things.

1) with anonymity comes power.

2) our concept, as a society of gender roles and feminism needed a major update and,

3) I really needed a hobby.

awkwaaardgif

I was introduced to ask.fm about a year ago, when a friend and I decided to start an account for a laugh. Joining ask, I assure you is no easy feat, it requires courage and reasonably fast internet speed. Regardless of how “popular” or “cool” you may claim to be, there are a few standard thoughts that cross your mind;

what if everyone sends me hate?

or worse still,

what if i get no questions at all?

I struggled with these doubts and insecurities for nearly four months, until one day, armed with my wit and laptop, I decided to  dive headfirst into the murky, virtual depths of ask.fm. At first, the only questions I received were from close friends, who I bribed or emotionally blackmailed so as to protect the little shred of self respect I had left, but as the weeks rolled by, I started getting questions from people I didn’t know. these questions ranged from being incredibly flattering to extremely demeaning.

while I got my fair share of- you’re so pretty’s and i like you’s ( i didnt send them to myself, i swear) I also had people calling me a “slut” or asking me for sexual favors. Now the fact that i have the sexual experience of a rock and the only serious relationship I’v ever had has been with my refrigerator, is besides the point. What really bothered me was that these people thought it was okay to slander reputations anonymously. They of course, were safe and protected behind the virtual wall of the internet, while I was left to deal with the trail of destruction they left behind.

I would be lying if I said the questions didnt phase me. they did. But if you know me, you would know i dont take things lying down. I typed my heart out in response to those offensive and ignorant claims. Their choice of words, made me wonder whether feminism was a dead ideal.

The oxford dictionary defines the word slut as a woman “with many casual sexual partners.”

If a woman decides to have consensual sex with more than one man, its her decision, not society’s. Its her body, not society’s. Unless she’s forcing herself on a man, you and I have no right to pass unnecessary judgement.

This also raises the issue of hypocrisy within society, a man who sleeps with multiple women is idolized and glorified, while a woman who engages in intercourse with more than one man is somehow a “whore.” As women, we have been brought up to suppress our sexuality, to hide it beneath a film of poise and composure. We are restrained by a grid of rules, created and patented by society.

Being a woman is hard. Being a teenage girl is even harder. You’re already dealing with feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty, that come with puberty,  and then once a month, just to make things a little more interesting, BAM! your hormones surge and you have blood gushing out of your privates. What fun.

All of this coupled with social expectations, and you’re probably wondering how we don’t just spontaneously combust under pressure. We don’t because we can’t. But once in a while, it gets too much;

The fact that I don’t sit with my legs crossed isn’t an invitation for your opinion,

The fact that I’m wearing a short skirt isn’t an invitation for your dirty stares,

The fact that I have a boyfriend isn’t an invitation for rape.

Being a man, comes with its own hardships, its own share of expectations. A man should be strong. A man should be able to support his family. A man can’t cry. These unfair and ridiculous presumptions are smothering a man’s ability to freely express and be himself.

We are all products of the culture we have been brought up in. Our ideas of what is right and wrong, of what we are meant to be or meant to do, are all shaped by our community’s supposed beliefs, when in fact, we should be shaping our culture and the world we live in.

so cry if you want to,

wear that skirt,

become a writer even though you might not be able to “support your wife and kids”

because it’s your life not anyone else’s and the rest of us just have to deal with it.

Driving_like_a_boss

Tagged , , , , ,