“You can be either a good wife OR a surgeon”
“Decide if you want to be a good daughter OR an actress”
“Choose between being a banker OR being in a band”
The above excerpt is from blogadda’s “Blog for #UseYourAnd and Take a Stand” activity. Sounds familiar? If you are a woman, you would have heard it somewhere. Even men are facing this thinly veiled ultimatum many a times these days. If you are lucky and have a wonderful family and friends, still you would have heard of someone who was made to face this choice. Or should we call it choice? The society cleverly layers the deadline it gives inside ‘OR’ and defines it as a choice. Well, I am not the one to be fooled but there are many innocent women who think there’s a choice in this hidden statement that corners a girl to choose either one. Well next time, stop and think “Why can’t I do both?”. You can always do both if you believe in yourself.
As I have iterated in many of my posts, I have a strong sense of identity. I never give up my identity without a valid reason. I have had to fight a lot with my loved ones to make them understand that retaining my identity is not rebellion. It was hard to make them understand at times and it still is. But I never take that as reason enough to give up who I am. If I want to do something and if that something is justified morally right, then nothing should stop me from being me. So often, even the strongest of us women face a dilemma when they hit the marriage phase. Isn’t it sacrifice enough that women are uprooting themselves and start adapting in another environment? Isn’t it proof that we can adapt? Why should our every single action/habit be monitored and changed according to the new environment? Change is good. But it should be two-way and not forced.
Is it not possible for a two people who have different beliefs to co-exist peacefully? It is possible and more. Why can’t some people understand that it is okay if their spouse or friend or any loved one for that matter can have an entirely contradicting belief? I strongly say that it’s as much my birthright as yours. You can challenge me intellectually with questions about my belief. We can both present our points and have a debate for the sake of better understanding. That’s how we evolve. But at the end of the discussion, it is still perfectly fine for both involved to leave the table without being convinced about the other’s belief. This is where the tampering of identity starts.
Next time when someone asks to be this or that, tell them proudly that you’ll be both. Even better, show them. Every woman and man have their own personality traits. Some come ingrained from before and some are developed as we live everyday. But each of the trait is something unique to the person. Why is there even a question of which of the two you can be? Why is there a need to label me with one definition when I can be a multitude of definitions and then some more too? I will never my freedom be curbed by anything other than my own decision. If I choose something, it would be because I want to choose it. If I change something in me, it would be because I want to change that part of me. None else can define me and none else should. Yes! It can sound strong and harsh but that’s how we have to be if we want to be heard.
This doesn’t mean you can label us feminists/chauvinist or one of the many labels floating around and that we won’t listen to reason. As I have already mentioned, you can challenge us intellectually, ask questions about why we believe in something, get to know what makes me do things that I do. And let us do the same to you. Let’s understand each other’s reason and then if I am wrong, the change will come automatically out of *my* realization. Because each person in this world can have their own identity and still exist in peace, if only you #UseYourAnd and take a stand.
Until later 🙂
I tag Soumya @ LOL to take this activity up as she clearly exemplifies in taking a stand 🙂