By Anira Barai.
Yes, you read it right. I don’t need a month to celebrate the power source of this universe. It was Thomas Carlyle, circa 1840 , who said, ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men,’ and as a girl growing up in a country like India what I believed and taught was pretty much, that you go to temple to get blessings from the goddess and disrespect a female in your house as she means nothing important in your life I said its bullshit what he said.
If we do something over and over again, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over again, it becomes normal. If only men are dominant in the household or are a decision maker, then at some point we all think, even if unconsciously, that every decision has to come from the man of the house. If we keep seeing only men as heads of corporations, it starts to seem ‘natural’ that only men should be heads of corporations. We need to change this mentality and to change that only a month in a year is not enough.
I am a girl who grew up in this stereotype environment, the world around me tried to zip me inside a constricting dress, after spending years trying to breathe inside it, I am done. I feel ready. Ready for a new way to do life, ready to challenge the antiquated ideas and pressure from society to be an ideal woman.
We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likeable, we spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer or none guides for men about pleasing women.
I went on a date with an international boy just like me and after the dinner, he felt obligated to pay, when I suggested splitting the bill his reaction was “ I am the guy, so it is my duty to pay bills you know.” Why it is his “DUTY” to pay the bills just to feel muscular or fulfil his ego to be the men? What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity and money? What if our attitude is not ‘ the boy has to pay’ but rather, whoever has more should pay or just divide it equally? Why boys have the pressure to prove their masculinity by material means, but by far the worst thing we do to males by making them feel they have to be hard and that is what leaves them with very fragile egos.
And then we do a much greater disservice to girls because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make her smaller. We say to girls, ‘ you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise, you will threaten the man.’
Gender matters everywhere in the world and I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world, and this planning is not possible in just a month, but every year. It will take every single day of our life to change the old mentality and accept the change, except that there is no difference between male or female, both need to be treated fair and true, both need to get paid equally and both need to get respected equally. I don’t want to prove or even argue that women are better than the men, I just want society to see them as equal, I don’t want women to fight for rights or opportunity which men get easily.
As Mary Wollstonecraft said, “I do not want them to have power over men but over themselves… it is not an empire, but equality and friendship which women want.” There are millions of women who already proved that by their determination and support she can fly with or without her wings. Just don’t cut it with narrow thought processes just let her be.
That’s why my friends; I don’t need a month to celebrate. As a woman; just respect me and my choices on a daily basis.