I think, therefore I write

Tag: UseYourAnd

The journey from ‘or’ to ‘and’

Me (2)That’s me!
23530-the-problem-with-gender-is-that-it-prescribes-how-we-shouldImage source: inspirably.com

I was asked to choose either being a traditional, responsible girl or a modern, happy-go-lucky one.
I was asked to choose my parents or the love of my life.
I was asked to be a house-wife or a working wife.
I was asked to be a writer or an engineer.
I was asked to be artistic or analytical.
I was asked to be controlled or impulsive.
I was asked to choose a secure, planned life or “some” life with my loved one.

Every time these things happened the ‘Or’ in the statement irked me to no extent. The choice has to be from within. If I am choosing between two things, it should be my decision and my intention. Why am I being restricted to this or that by someone else? As the question burned on as a flame, I started asking questions. Then came the reply, “A girl shouldn’t ask such questions.”, “Why are you talking like a boy?”, “Be a girl and be obedient.”, “If you keep talking like this, no one would marry you.” That was the last straw for me. So for someone to marry me, I should lock away all my thoughts and choose between two fingers that the society extends in front of me? I put my foot down then and there. All of these when I was a kid, as early as when I was about 8 years old. My parents didn’t understand at first and thought I was rebelling by asking questions. I don’t blame them for they were also molded products of society. Instead, I decided to make them see. I decided to make them understand that a girl can #UseHerAnd and take a stand. I kept proving my point time and again and slowly people who loved me truly started understanding me. They saw enough sense in what I was telling, to stop and try to understand what I am fighting for. And that was enough to keep me going.

il_fullxfull.379350001_1x94Image source: coyotescorner.com

Why do phrases like “Don’t cry like a girl”, “Be brave like a boy” and the like even exist? Do you not know enough women in the world who were/are braver than all men on earth put together? Of course, you do. Then why do you set up a bad example for your son, by saying “Don’t cry like a girl”. There in, you are planting a conclusion that girls cry and boys don’t. Teach your kids to deal with problems instead of stereotypes. Crying is just a form of expression and has nothing to do with gender. I’d rather have a man who cries when he feels sad than some guy thinking not crying is macho. The next thing that every human should be taught is not to label women. I am not the feminist who bashes all men and call for women equality options. I don’t even ask for special preferences to women. I believe by giving special preferences, you acknowledge that women *need* those special preferences and that implies a labeling or being objective. I don’t need that, we don’t need that. We need the mindset where a woman and a man are two individuals functioning to their capacity. Is that too hard?

pinterestImage Source: livebyquotes.com

When a woman breaks boundaries and goes beyond what’s normally perceptible, why is there even a question of her morals, her character, her personality? She is another person who achieved something that none others did. Can’t we just appreciate her for that and let her be herself? I know a girl who was elder to me by a few years. She was like a sister figure to me when I grew up and she was a brilliant artist, academic and a doting daughter. Her parents were in the traditional brought-up system and married her off once she finished 12th grade against her protests. A lot of us, friends and family told her parents to encourage her academic and artistic skills instead of curbing her with societal systems. But they didn’t understand it then with their closed minds. What happened? The guy she married gave her a child in a year and feeling that he had duly fulfilled his duties as a husband, he didn’t want any further responsibilities. He got influenced into drinking and gambling and stopped going to work. Now what would the girl do with a little one to feed and a drunkard for a husband? Her parents supported her a while, all the while regretting their decision, silently cursing themselves for pushing their daughter into this hell. One day she got fed up and called off the marriage. The idiot of her husband didn’t even want custody or anything with his son, not that she would have given him custody. A lot of people raised hell over that asking uncomfortable questions for her. She told all of them to shut up and took a stand. She took up part time jobs and started preparing for the government exams. Today, she is deputy Tehsildar (revenue administrative officer) for our district and well on her way to become an IAS officer. This is not a story I read somewhere. I saw her go through everything that she did and saw where she is. The day she stopped accepting the ‘Or’ thrust on her and took her ‘And’ out, she was free. Her son adores her and her parents see her for what she is. They have proud tears in their eyes and support her wholeheartedly today. Had this been done a few years earlier, she would have been spared the pain! Well, better late than never is what she says. And I am proud of her.

So girls, there is nothing wrong in putting your foot down for something you believe in. There’s nothing wrong in asking questions. There’s nothing wrong in breaking records and flying higher. And I have one thing to say to the society too, “We know what we are doing! We are not here to fight or rebel, that would just waste our time and energy. We are here to prove. I don’t want your ‘OR’, so stop shoving it in my face. If you can, wait and see me #UseMyAnd and take a stand, you’ll understand then. If you can’t, well it’s not my loss.”

Until later 🙂

This post is a my second entry to #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.

P.S: I didn’t include the pic of the woman I have written about (as per the activity guidelines) since it is her option to retain her privacy.

Why choose when you can do both?

Me (2)That’s me!

“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 🙂

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.

I tag Soumya @ LOL to take this activity up as she clearly exemplifies in taking a stand 🙂