Disclaimer : Long rant coming up. You have been warned.
I was only 7-years-old when my gender came up in a conversation with my parents. This was right after an ‘uncle’ who befriended me in the hotel restaurant, walked me to an empty hotel room because he wanted to do ‘good things’ to me. I barely escaped after I got the feeling that I wouldn’t like whatever would follow his groping, landing a hard kick to his groin when he tried to restrain me.
Ask me not where my instincts came from or how I managed to find my way back to my frantic parents. Somehow, my dad wanted to strangle this uncle, but couldn’t because I couldn’t fucking remember the room number. After my parents explained that the day could have been so much worse, the only thing I remember asking was, “But, what did I do to him?” Apparently, you just needed to exist.
For a long time after I understood the gravity of what else could have happened that day, I blamed myself for walking away from my parents to admire the decor. You don’t actually need to get raped to know how it feels when a man weighs down on you just because you are sexually different from them.
I am a feminist. I don’t believe that being a man is all sunshine and Spring. I just believe that being a woman is a little too tedious a job in today’s society.
You sleep around. You are a slut.
You get molested. You are provocative.
You drink. You are easy.
You don’t drink. You are a prude.
Phew. That is a lot of labels we get categorized into.
Unlike most of the young women I know, my sister and I, thankfully, never had to behave differently just because we are girls. Our parents and even grandparents (now dead), have never told us. “You are a girl. Don’t do this/that.”
Yes, we had our usual talks where our dad told us to be safe, but not because we’re women and can’t take care of ourselves but because he is a father and wants us to be safe.
I was in Kolkata, away in college, when the Nirbhaya incident happened. My friends and I couldn’t comprehend the brutality and spent days discussing our own position in society. What if one of us was next? How are we different?
Guess what my mom did? “Don’t let these incidents tell you that you are less. You are not. Stay safe, but don’t hide.”
Stay safe, but don’t hide. How?
To people who think men are the only problem, think again. There are so many women who never say anything when her father/brother/uncle tell her that she needs to not let men ogle at her, touch her. Because we are responsible. These women then grow up, either with a shattered self confidence and go on to being treated the same way by her husband and in-laws. Or she grows and realizes she has a spine and walks ahead to rise above these.
I know women who tell other women that it just CANNOT be the guy’s fault alone. “Ugh! Why was she wearing a dress?”
I also know men who tell these women to shut the fuck up. Because the world isn’t black and white. Because there are over 6 billion people and you cannot just divide it into two.
You might be wondering about the purpose of this post. There isn’t one. I am just another raving lunatic with access to the Internet.
Earlier this year, a fellow student at my journalism college was walking back to the hostel when a guy tried to get cozy with her. Naturally, she went to the cops. Guess what they said? “Your college has no dress code.”
Uh, that’s the problem. Of course.
Don’t get me wrong. I love men. I know many good ones. I know many bad ones too, but the good ones give me hope. I am a stupid optimist that way.
Lately, feminism has become a ‘thang’ online. For people who don’t understand what feminism is, please read here.
We feminists do not exist to make men miserable. In fact, I know many male feminists as well. If a ‘feminist’ tells you that we exist to make women rule the world, tell them, yes, that’s right. Women will rule. But not by stepping on men. By being equal.
I know our society has a long way to go before the ideal society is created and cultivated. However, would you rather sit back and wait for it to happen or would you too, walk a small step?
Stay safe, my ladies. But, never hide.
P.S. I know men can be and are also sexually abused. In no matter whatsoever am I trying to elevate our pain over theirs. This is a personal post. Problem? Get off my blog.