I grew up in the liberation-generation. We were taught as young girls to stand up for ourselves, claim our rights and pursue our dream on which there were no limits, but those were lies. There were important things they forgot to tell us about this empowerment, these are those things.
People often tell me, especially on days like today which is International Women’s Day, that things are different now, and the modern woman in India in free. While many exceptional women have achieved extraordinary things in our country, they have done so against the odds. In reality women, modern or otherwise continue to be suppressed by bastardised versions of good ol’ sexism, and letting women believe things have changed is yet another ploy to discourage feminism and the fight for equality.
I do the wrong things, often and with relish, because after spending years working myself to death for validation I realised the patriarchal agenda had succeeded at reducing me, like many other women, to just one thing. Women are expected to find their identity within roles and justify their existence by excelling at them. This is how it transformed my life the day I decided the roles would have to find their place in my life without changing me.
While all women are subject to a certain degree of sexual harassment, some women are often treated to inappropriate behaviour from men they know at a much higher frequency. These men will often tell you that you are “open-minded” and therefore sending them signals, but what do they mean when they call you that? Why do men think they can be as inappropriate as they like with “open-minded” women? In our latest piece, I detail my personal experiences to figure out what an “open-minded woman means to a man.
Women’s lives are governed by dress-codes but in the Indian Army, wives are obligated to dress in sarees for various events. Many people argue that this affinity for aestheticism shouldn’t be a big deal, but what if it’s not just an aesthetic choice? What if it’s not a choice at all? In this piece we discuss how forcing a woman to dress “beautifully” devalues us, and how the army dabbles in this casual oppression.
There is a social trend that dictates women must hate each other: the tomboy must hate the makeup artist, the homemaker must hate the career women, the bookish must hate the party girls, but in my experience I have faced more dislike from the women most similar to me than the ones that were very different. Is this real? If it is, why? Why does it feel like the feminists hate other feminists?
Women are theoretically free, at least as far as most of the law goes, but in practice women are controlled much more by the culture of “concern” dispensed by husbands and families. In this piece we discuss how love is used to turn relationships into prisons for women.
This week alone we’ve had the Chief Justice question women’s roles in farmers’ protests, a brutal gang-rape resulting in the death of a woman, a minister suggesting all women be tracked and another insinuating that women are only baby-making machines, but somehow any time I complain, I hear people tell me that women are goddesses in this great country. Well, I’m a tired goddess, and I don’t have the energy to pretend anything is great anymore.
A sample from my upcoming book of poetry, The Girl In The Painting is a poem about womanhood and how its stories are co-opted by other voices. Stay tuned for more information about my first published book of poetry.
Any person who has ever bought a menstrual product knows they are sold in black plastic bags as if they are things that need to be hidden. Women are taught to apply shame and discretion to bodily functions and parts, and that is not free of impact. Here is why it would be better to be able to talk about tampons openly at the dinner table.