A teenage girl has enough strength to empower the world, tell me again how you thought a woman was defined by her bra size?
For a while now, I’ve had a thought just lurking in my head. It is just there voicing itself in my mind over and over again. It is a thought about being a woman. It is about bad experiences that led to a change of heart. It is a promise and it is a dedication.
Growing up I was taught, or rather made to understand a few things about my gender:
We are expected to stretch our arms towards nothingness and gladly accept whatever it is that life places on our bare arms. Be it the darkest hour or the brightest minute. Accept it, and move the heck on. I was made to understand that the respect that is bestowed upon a woman is directly related to her clothing – less of it means less respect. I was made to understand that the moment a woman is molested or raped, BAM! she no longer has any respect in society. I was made to understand that women are here just to fulfill the gap of pleasing. Please her husband, please her mother-in-law, please society. Score! She’s succeeded at being a woman. And lastly, I was made to understand that no matter what a woman faces, it is definitely at her own accord.
These perceptions left me at a state of utter resentment toward my own gender. I found myself labelling girls, deeming them stupid for certain decisions and feeling inferior. I spent days wishing to be a man, wishing to be the ‘greater’ gender.
I have bared witness to so many accounts of verbal abuse to women, I have stood there watching the woman silently endure every foul word she is called. Why? Because I am too afraid to speak up. Because the abuser has the upper-hand, is the higher power. I have experienced gawks, shoves and pats along the streets, malls and public transport of Dubai. And very rarely have I had the courage to raise my voice. Why? Because most times, I believed it was my fault. I have listened to the encounters of a young girl that has had a male thrice her age make her feel uncomfortable. And the most I could do was apologize to this young girl. Why? Because it was a dark night and my courage failed me yet again. The amount of times a prostitute has been sworn at and disrespected in front of me is innumerable, and yet I have remained put.
These are a mere few experiences I have faced as a woman. And nothing angers me more than my failing courage. Nothing saddens me more than my helplessness to such situations. A year ago, an incident in Delhi stirred my emotions and led me to think about my own personal experiences and witnesses as a woman. I was sickened by the opposite sex, and remain so to this day.
My anger and my sadness left me anew.
Although my anger and sadness will diminish the day I witness a woman being treated as a human being, my perception on women has altered completely, and I am so glad and proud to call myself a woman.
I send my love, my honour and my prayer to all the women out there that have been or are victim to misogyny. And I promise, to try my best to defeat my fear, if and when I witness or experience any misogynistic behaviour.
I dedicate this blog post to all the women in my life – my mother, my aunts, my sisters, my friends, my teachers.
To the survivors, the endurers, and the courageous.
You are my strength.