Friday, 24 June 2016

What it's like Being a Feminist

Yes, I know what you are all thinking, there goes another woman spouting crazy about women’s rights and crap, and well I don't care, I'm still writing this. J

Let me start off by making a few things clear:


‘Feminism’, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Here is the link for the definition if you don’t believe me (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism). Yes, you ignorant mortals, feminism addresses men’s rights and issues as well, only catch here is, talking about these issues when one is talking about women’s issues is not the right way to do it. Call a discussion on the discrimination against men, we can take it up, but most people seem to bring this up as a cause of concern only when there are women’s rights being discussed. Here is a link you can peruse about all the issues tackled by feminism when it comes to men’s issues- https://www.reddit.com/r/AskFeminists/comments/3syhda/a_list_of_feminist_resources_tackling_mens_issues/  Go on, read it, don’t chose to remain in ignorance when you are being offered knowledge.


No, I do not hate men. (Believe me, some people, even some friends have asked me this). All I can say to you is, please, for goodness sake; do your basic research you ignorant souls. Neither do I mean to convey that I hate men when I speak about the discrimination I face during my day-to-day life. I am addressing a truth that I face, every day of my life.


And for all those out there, who go, ‘No, I am not a feminist, but I support equality’, honestly, your ignorance has no boundaries does it? Again, the definition itself is self-explanatory (Feel free to analyse that one sentence definition again). Agreed, feminism started with women who wanted reforms and rights, this was at a time when women were not even allowed to vote (and P.S- If it weren’t for these ‘feminists’, most women still wouldn’t have any voting rights). Gradually as women started getting equal opportunities and some of their issues started to get addressed, feminism started addressing men’s issues as well (As I pointed out earlier).‘Feminism’, has taken the form of a ‘dirty’ word, that even some women are afraid to use it. Agreed, it has been grossly taken out of context by today’s media, some men and women, BOTH, and some extremists. What most people need to realise is what feminism actually stands for, which I hope will be clear to you (Come to think of it, I don’t particularly care if it does become clear to you or not, you can continue to keep that stick up your ass against feminism).

This one is for all those women out there, who do not identify themselves as feminists (this is completely fine), BUT at the same time criticize feminism - Playwright and pastor Kristine Holmgren writes in The Guardian: “Make no mistake, the work we did to bring about social change was done at great personal sacrifice. Every time a woman rose to speak for freedom of choice, a personal reputation was ruined. Even so, my generation of women thought nothing of defending the rights of other women at the price of our own futures.” (Reference link- http://www.global-briefing.org/2015/01/feminism-is-for-men-too/) These women worked for the simple rights that we have today. If they had been like you, you would be devoid of something as basic as the right to Vote.



A few more things that should have been obvious to you, but then apparently isn’t (make a wild guess why!) -

As a feminist, I do NOT think I am better than a man. I think I am equal and deserve equality. And NO I do not hate men.

As a feminist, I believe a man should be punished for domestic violence. It also means I believe a woman should get punished for domestic violence as well (and not simply cheered on, or ignored).

No, I do not make everything a feminist issue. I call a SPADE a SPADE.

If you find a self-proclaimed feminist, accusing ALL men of being evil, then it’s not called feminism, that’s extremism.

Yes, I am aware some women misuse this new awareness about women’s rights and use it for their own benefits. And NO, that does not make my argument or point any less valid.

Feminazi (or in fact any kind of ‘Nazi’), is a term which I have found only some of the world’s most mindless and insensible people use. It is NOT offensive to me, or to you, but it IS offensive to the millions of Jewish families who went through hell and suffered in the hands of the Nazis.

As a feminist, I do NOT just hold a few men at fault for inequality, I hold the women who propagate the idea that women are any lesser than men, and I hold the education system, mindset and culture at fault too.

As a feminist, I believe that a woman can still be a feminist even if she is devoted to her family and domestic life.

As a feminist, I will speak up against cat calling, eve-teasing, domestic violence, child marriages, dowry deaths, rape, public shaming and any other sort of discrimination against women. I will also stand as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and fight for the recognition of their rights (Surprise, they are humans too). I will also fight for men when they are discriminated against.



Coming to my point, being a feminist and a girl (yes, men can be feminists too, surprise!) can be a test of your patience and your ability to remain silent and ignore the blatant ignorance of people around you. Every day you will face issues where the fact that you are feminist, will be rubbed into you, and most of the times it will be taken in a negative sense. You will be bullied intentionally or unintentionally by your own friends. If you dare speak up on the internet, you will be a victim of cyberbullying. If you are a young student and have dared make your views public, elders will come and preach to you about how it’s not right for a girl to be so vocally opinionated. If you have been eve teased and dared to defend yourself or call them out on it, you will be treated to verbal harassment for at least the next few days. You will also be told, by your own friends, how you should not have reacted because apparently then there will be no difference between you and them (To all of those people, here is the difference, I did not choose to call out a random person (girl) walking on the road and pass sexual innuendos at her, I am not the one choosing to act like an illiterate, that is the difference, just in case it wasn’t clear to you). You will be subjected to feminist jokes and everything will be made into a big show, just because you are a feminist. More than a few times, you will be left to stand alone in your views. You will be made to feel inferior for being a feminist (And just in case you are wondering, yes, ALL of the above are from personal experiences).

But you don’t stand alone. You will meet some people (admittedly very few), who understand you, support you and even believe in the same causes. Yes, you will meet men who are feminists too and not ashamed to declare it. These few men and women will be precious to you, hold on to them, they are perhaps the only ones who will understand you and support you when it comes to standing up for your beliefs. They will be the ones who are there for you when you are in doubt and start to question right from wrong (been there, done that!).

So stand tall, be bold, speak up and don’t give up for the things you believe in. I know I won’t.


Note: If any of my commentaries has offended you, well I don’t care. Maybe you should start wondering why it offended you in the first place. J


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

In Conclusion - Day 7

So I made it! And believe me, I almost missed this last day. It's 11:30 and I remembered; blogging for a week continuously was a promise I made to myself. And well, hurrah! I did it!

I'm happy. :)

My thoughts -

Happiness is indeed a choice, albeit a difficult one. We get so used to the comfort of sorrow that we don't see it that way. I know I haven't. And I also know, that only when I make an effort to come out of it, do I see the bigger picture. So if there's anyone out there, who is suffering, in any way, know that it's upto you to come out of it. Be sad. Give it time. But do not get used to the solace offered by that feeling. The choice to be better is always upto you. The choice to make your own happiness.

Keep yourself involved. Stop over thinking. Do well by you. Be the better person. Forgive yourself. Give love freely. Have a clear mind. Make memories. Be you. Be the complete you. And stay happy.

With love,
Anjana

Monday, 20 June 2016

Pages: Diary of a Young Woman

#4

So, it’s been another year (academically speaking of course) of studies, highs, lows, craziness and well...drama! Yes, you heard me or rather read me right, DRAMA. And man, do I need to get a grip on life or what?! But besides all that, I am grateful for all that I have been through and all that I have learnt, life lessons and otherwise. It’s been some year!

Putting all that aside, right now, I’m just going to go on a ranting spree; a good ol’ fashioned tirade that will leave me with a lighter heart.
So I am going to be 21 soon (yayy!) and in a burst of unusual enthusiasm towards anything so happy-happy (also being a person who makes it a point of openly mocking and condescend on such happy-go-lucky things with a look of blatant cynicism), I wrote down a list of things I need to do before I am 21. One of those things included travelling alone for at least a couple of days. But poor old me; in that burst of ardour and zeal, my brain conveniently seemed to forget that I have parents who are Indians (No, I’m not stereotyping all Indian parents, don’t go taking offence on me). My dreams of having adventures and escapades in far off places, as you can imagine, were foiled. And for a person like me, who’s every molecule demands, rebels and exhibits a stubbornness that can be a pain to deal with, did not take that well. So much for big dreams, ehh! I can’t blame my parents, they didn’t stop me because I am a girl, they stopped me because I am still their dependent child. I am sure if my brother displayed such tendencies he will meet with the same answers (or the world might yet get to see WWIII).

Note: It took me some days to reach this stage of acceptance because I had high hopes for the trip happening. But deluded dreams hardly see reality.


But then, as informed to me by my parents, I can make my own money and do whatever I want (to which I sullenly agree makes sense), and that my friend is exactly what I am going to do. Here’s to alleviating frustrations through writing! Cheers!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Haiku: Another try

Sun blazed through curtains
Two souls adhered to tasks while the
Elephant sat still

Saturday, 18 June 2016


Need

There is power in prayer,
Her heart believed
With her face looking up,
Eyes closed, and
Lips whispering in fever,
She prayed in need.

Friday, 17 June 2016


Haiku


Dusk gave into night
Starry skies pursued in craze
The bloody sky in race

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Dusk gave into night
The birds soared from trees and flew
While the south wind blew

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Dusk gave into night
Night jasmines blossomed anew while
Snakes slither nearby

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

An Act of Kindness

At the end of each day, the old, worn out cobbler would come and give a little of whatever money he had made to the orphanage at the end of the street. He would move slowly but steadily into the office room of the orphanage. The lady of the orphanage, who took his deposits, never said anything; just the usual thanks were to suffice. The mischievous little boy, who always got called to the office, found this raggedy old man a very curious entity. Once he threw the ball at him, expecting an outburst, but the old man bent, took the ball, smiled and threw it back. He came every single day. His contributions were hardly worth anything, but he never stopped.


Image result for old man silhouette walking down the road
Image Courtesy
After making this routine journey, he would proceed walking home to a tent; he called home, on the outskirts of town. His load was heavy and his shoulders bent with them. Nevertheless, he carried on. A small fire built over collected twigs, and whatever little money from the day’s work could buy; putting some aside for the next day’s lunch, would be the dinner for the day. Many a day there had been without a meal, the stomach in turmoil, but the mind at peace. A long night would follow, wrapped in a thin, well-worn blanket with holes. Yet, the old man slept with a smile.


The next day is another long journey back into the city streets mending and polishing the shoes of those who were perhaps gifted with a better fortune. Work would be slow during lunch time. He would seek a quiet corner to take his lunch from the leftovers of yesterday out, wrapped in whatever piece of newspaper he would have found. Sometimes, one or the other street dogs would join him. A morsel was then shared. Work continued after lunch. The day dragged, slowly, but it did go on.

At the end of the day, the old man made his way to the orphanage at the end of the street. He moved slowly, tired, worn out, like the shoes he sometimes repaired. He put what he could spare into the hands of the lady of the orphanage. The mischievous little boy saw him again and bade no heed. He was no longer of interest when other distractions called. And then the old man made his long journey back.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Sunday Sentiments

The curtains were flying, so I went to tie them up. It was 10 am, but still dark. ‘It will rain today’, the thoughts followed quickly. The cool air was a nice welcome, so I decided to sit on the window seat for a while. It felt nice. Having a corporate job with a hectic work life, and living in an apartment building where you don’t even know your neighbors tends to leave you with not many plans on a Sunday morning. It didn’t matter but. I cherished the moments I got to be alone with my own thoughts.

Image Courtesy

The trees were dancing, letting go of their oldest leaves, in despair perhaps. I thought. Why would you want to part with old friends? The clouds were rolling in and I could see lightning in the distance. Chilly and dark, the kind of dark where you feel the sun is fighting to establish that it is daytime and not night. Everyone loves this weather. What is it about this climate that made everyone so happy?


The wind uplifted my souls from the dreary depths it had chosen to rest in, for the past almost one year. After a long time, I felt like a part of my own story, I felt in control, but mostly I felt at peace. I closed my eyes and let it wash over me. ‘Take it away, all of it’, I whispered to the wind. And the wind complied, it slowly touched corners of my heart I thought I’d never set free again, and washed away the dust that had collected. For the first time, in a long time, every bit of me was awash in light. I let out a deep breath I didn’t realise I was holding in. I smiled, and my eyes fluttered close. So I just sat there, doing nothing, but feeling. Feeling all the emotions I’d been holding in, letting go of what negativity I’d been holding on to, promising myself all the things I would do.


It’s going to be a beautiful, new day, come tomorrow.
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