Women’s lives are governed by social and familial expectations but the experience of womanhood is worthy of more authenticity than that. Here are ten things every woman should do for herself once (and you know, you can do hundreds of others too).
Written by Aarushi Ahluwalia
- Dance. Dance you fucking ass off. Move your body without being concerned about how sexual it may seem to anyone watching. The first time I climbed onto a bar counter, I jumped off a different woman than I climbed up.
- Quit an oppressive job. A friend of mine had cancer wished upon her for quitting a job she hated, and that sucked, but now she has a better job and they have shittier employees. The first time I stood up to an editor who was stealing my work, I lost a professional contact, but I gained a tremendous amount of self-respect and ultimately became a better writer.
- Let your male partner have dreams for your money. My partner wants to buy a bike with the money I make off my first novel and not only does this make me feel like I have mad skill, but it also makes me feel like we really are partners.
- Call the fuck out of a cat-caller. You know that speech (I am hoping) all women practise in their minds whenever we hear stories of rape, abuse or sexism? Make that fucking speech. Make a scene if a man crosses his limits and infringes on your rights and speak like there’s a loudspeaker attached to your face.
- Refuse to define yourself by your role in a marriage or a job. You deserve an adjective. Be wild. Be strong or intelligent. Be insane. Be cold. Be whatever you want. You aren’t a mathematical concept, you don’t need an exhaustive definition.
- Make the first move with a potential romantic interest. Speak your interest. Ask someone out. Flirt with someone without worrying about what that says about you (because, really, it says nothing).
- Have the first (and maybe only) orgasm in a sexual encounter.
- Stand up to the relative who has tortured you forever. Whether it is the aunt who told you all your life that you were too dark-skinner to ever find a husband or the cousin who constantly told you you were too fat to be pretty or the uncle you called you stupid all your life. Call em on their bullshit. Fuck sanskar-infused forced respect.
- Study something you have always wanted to without doing career or gender math. Learn Latin. Study Harry Potter and its social implications. Learn to fly a plane. Learn to code. Study for the love of it not for what job or what kind of husband you will get or what is appropriate to study for a woman.
- Throw a fucking punch. Please don’t go around punching people just like that but if someone crosses a physical boundary with you, punch that asshole. If you need to defend yourself, punch. Punch. You have the right to defend your body. (Disclaimer: this is not to say women bear the burden of self-defence in a society that doesn’t respect her rights).