you forget that i am a woman. you think i am as soft as water and yet, i am what extinguishes your fire.
some powerful women my friends and i look up to:)
i am a woman. you think i am as soft as water and yet, i am in the girl you gave justice to 8 years late. i am in the girl you cremated to hide the evil that runs through your veins. the evil you mask behind delayed hearings and careless police work. the evil that makes your blood boil like fire. i am in the wife you slap after she drops the glass you should have filled yourself. i am in the girl you call pataaka when she cycles by. the girl you say shouldn’t have been outside her house so late when you’re the one who should be locked inside a cell forever. i am in the girl you sexualize on the screen. the girl who you dress in clothes as short as possible because the tickets wouldn’t sell without zoom-ins on her naked waist. i am in the daughter you cover up. to who you teach that by being female, she is at fault. to who you teach that her body is nothing but a distraction for men, when you shouldn’t have been looking in the first place. i am in the mother who sacrificed her entire life for you. the mother who repressed her dreams to raise you well. the mother you disappoint every time you look at the girls on streets with the same fire that boils in your blood.
but you think i am the water in the lotus flower. the water that helps it grow, but disappears into the air right after. you think i am the buttons on your office shirts. always trying to hold it all together. being replaced every time one falls off. you think i am the leaves of autumn. losing colour as soon as the weather changes. falling to the ground, fragile. you think i am the alcohol that lets you loose. the alcohol you blame for the things you do after the city falls asleep. you think i am a pushover. a woman who does whatever floats your boat. a woman who carries all your baggage for you like a river carries salts. but you forget. you forget that i am a woman. you think i am as soft as water and yet, i am what extinguishes your fire.
My dear Yemen, I hope that you too can one day grow from every rock that you’ve been diminished to.
I have always known you as the only country whose name I could take if y landed on me during a game of atlas. I have always known you as the country who causes the game to end if its name has already been said. But today as I have grown and read up on who you really are, I worry about your own end. You see, when I search up your name and the only images I see are of destroyed buildings that used to be historical landmarks, malnourished children being carried away by volunteers from NGOs, tall men in kurtas carrying rifles larger than the graves of new born babies, and not even one woman outside her house, I cannot help but wonder, what really happened to you? And so I dive into the wonders of the internet and find every piece that can educate me about you. Everything from your history to your culture to your people,
to your forgotten war.
And It breaks my heart to see that if I type in children along with the name of any country in this world, I see happy smiles that taste of youth, yet when the name typed in is yours, tragedies of war and epidemics take up the entire screen. And it enrages me that you’re being termed as the nation of the forgotten war when your cries for help have been louder than the missiles that have made you their home.
I find myself wondering if your end will be forgotten as well.
Nevertheless, I want to understand who you were before demolished houses and fallen bridges. I want to find out how you began before I worry further about your end. And so I look up, ‘yemen before war,’ and oh my god. Yemen, you breathe beauty. Your mud brick architecture filled with intricate designs are a pleasure to look at, and yet, the most beautiful of all are your people. In fact when I learn that in ancient times, you called yourself ‘Arabia Felix,’ Latin for happy land, I think to myself that although you appear to have lost that title, something tells me that your people never will. For they seem to find time to celebrate weddings between bomb raids, fix roads by hand every time they’re destroyed, and write poetry in a country which has 3 times more guns than people.
But the one thing I cannot keep my eyes away from is the divine Dar-al-hajar palace that hovers over your sleepless capital city. For it is built in a way that it looks like it’s growing from a rock. And as I admire how tall it stands, only one thought rests in my mind. My dear Yemen, I hope that you too can one day grow from every rock that you’ve been diminished to.
But who on earth gives us the right to judge? Who gives us the right to make them feel as though by being themselves, they are already guilty of something?
Today, I want to shed light on a subject which we barely question ourselves about. I figured that I cannot merely touch upon it through a poem like I usually do. For this is something we as a society really need to dig deeper into. And the magical term is;
This refers to personal assets which provide us with social mobility. This enables us to climb the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial resources. It includes our skills, knowledge, interests, hobbies, etc. In layman terms, cultural capital is when we’re perceived on the basis of our non economic strengths. Unfortunately, this leads to class differences and social inequality 99% of the time. But one of its biggest consequences is gender inequality.
You’re probably confused but let me explain.
Women and particularly teenage girls hold almost zero cultural capital in our society. Their interests are quite frequently looked down upon in contrast to those of men. Things that are stereotypically marketed towards men such as sports, action films, action figures are generally considered good taste. Whereas when it comes to the stereotypical interests of women which include rom coms, make-up, and even fashion to an extent, then the self-created critics are always quick to comment. I mean ask yourself, what holds higher value in your mind?
A movie like ‘Mean Girls,’ which consists of rich spoilt school girls as the protagonists who plot plans to avenge each other or a movie like ‘Thor,’ which has a strong masculine superhero who fights other supernatural creatures as the lead character? If I had to take a wild guess, then based on the centuries long gender biased mindset we’ve all been victims of, I’d say the latter.
We are naturally inclined towards downplaying the likes and dislikes of women in our daily life.
Let’s take another example; fashion.
Stereotypically, most females are drawn to clothing and accessories. They tend to care about the way they look more than men do. However, the fashion industry as a whole is considered highly superficial. Women who enjoy styling themselves are quickly boxed into the spoilt and stupid rich brat stereotype. Although, if a man takes care of the way he dresses and experiments with his clothing then he’s considered ‘cool,’ and ‘classy.’ He’s even termed as smart looking to an extent.
I think it’s important we ask ourselves why.
For this is not just present in the cinema or a few other industries. It’s present within us as well.
When I was younger, I’d never have admitted to liking Taylor Swift or One Direction. Those were two artists whose fan bases mostly consisted of female fans. Unsurprisingly, it was considered ‘basic’ to like them. If you were fond of Taylor Swift, then you were immediately labelled as the dumb girly teenager. When it came to One Direction, people were quick to assume that girls only liked them because of their attractive looks. I mean what else, right? People didn’t waste time listening to their music before calling them the band which only shallow teenage girls listened to. Young women were practically shamed for having a choice which was different from that of the men.
Sometimes, it was even worse. For quite frequently, a man and woman might have the same interest but a woman is shamed for it whereas a man isn’t.
Let’s go back to Taylor Swift. She was and still is famous for writing most of her songs about boys who broke her heart. Now although heartbreaks are a normal part of life, she was continuously shamed for it. She was perceived as this immature unintelligent blonde who was utterly boy obsessed and was termed as someone who was forever ‘victimising’ herself. Nevertheless, when Post Malone wrote about a girl who broke his heart, everybody was ready to drop everything and scream ‘fuck that bitch,’ with him. They began to think of him as someone who understood real pain.
What’s so different about a young woman writing about heartbreak compared to a young man doing the same?
A more current life example would be the different trends which keep coming into light. Like the whole vsco girl thing. Young girls were trolled, bullied and practically forced to feel shameful of talking and behaving in a certain way which seemed to be stupid in the eyes of other people. Take a look at tiktok. There are so many videos on youtube of people reacting to tiktoks of teenage girls and just making fun of them for having ‘no talent,’ or being dense, all because they chose to put themselves out there by recording short videos.
But who on earth gives us the right to judge? Who gives us the right to make them feel as though by being themselves, they are already guilty of something?
This right here, is the sole reason why girls grow up to silence themselves. They grow up to become women who prefer to remain quiet because when your interests and opinions aren’t valued then what’s the point of using your voice? When your likes and views are naturally considered inferior to those of others then what’s the point of arguing? What’s the point of saying anything at all, right?
I’d like you to just imagine if teenage boys were picked on for liking superheroes or unrealistic action movies the same way young girls are made fun of for enjoying sappy romance movies and barbie dolls. But that could never happen. Because we have been programmed to think of anything that is associated with the female gender as something which is inferior to the things that are linked to the male gender.
It is way ‘cooler’ to watch Mission Impossible instead of Clueless.
It is way ‘cooler’ to have Iron Man figurines instead of Barbie dolls.
It is way ‘cooler’ to prefer shirts over dresses.
It is way ‘cooler’ to be a professional swimmer than a professional makeup artist.
Our minds have been installed with a toxic mindset since birth and we don’t know why.
When we’re two years old, we don’t know the definitions of words like pencil, chair, or even mother. We just know how to identify them with images. We just know that the woman who feeds us everyday is our mother, the object we write with is a pencil, and the piece of furniture we sit on is a chair. But when we’re two, we don’t know how to state the meanings of each word. We only know what we’ve seen and heard.
Similarly, we as a society, including our ancestors, don’t know why the colour pink or the floral dresses forever 21 sells are associated with females. We don’t know why scary movies and sports like boxing are associated with males. We cannot do anything to change that identification established in our minds either.
But what we can do is start believing and reminding ourselves every day that liking pink is just as okay as liking blue.
Enjoying the Avengers; End Game is just as okay as enjoying the Titanic.
Being a stereotypical teenage girl is just as okay as being a stereotypical teenage boy. Not being either of those is alright too.
For our likes and dislikes make us who we are and that is something which should never ever be compared.
The Rohingyas have been protesting and rebelling for years now, however their rights are nowhere to equal to the rest of the citizens even though they have been living in Myanmar and calling it their home for longer than one can imagine. Yet, the government is intolerant of who they are as a community. For them worshipping a different God has become a bigger crime than murder, theft, and rape itself.
Intolerance is defined as unwillingness to let other people act in a different way or hold different opinions from you. Basically, intolerance is being close minded towards accepting diverse views or beliefs. We see and sometimes even experience it in various forms today. It could be with gender, or racial, or even ethnic. The point being that it doesn’t matter which category two people are different. What matters is that at the end of the day, we are always different in some way or the other and until we find a way to accept that, we won’t be able to achieve well, tolerance. One of the biggest and perhaps most talked about intolerances in the world today, is religious intolerance. Whether you’re part of a majority or a minority, discrimination is prevalent everywhere. Maybe some communities experience it less and some more but that doesn’t make it okay in any way.
Case study – The Rohingya Muslims
The Rohingya Muslims are one of the main ethnic minorities in Myanmar but Myanmar, being a buddhist country doesn’t recognize them as citizens of the country and terms them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. There has always been a tension between the two communities and before August 2017, there were already around 307,500 Rohingya refugees living in camps, makeshift settlements and with host communities. A further 687,000 were estimated to have arrived since August 2017. At least 6,700 Rohingya, were killed in the month after the violence broke out. The Myanmar military also raped and abused women and girls. The Rohingya refugees spread over to countries like Bangladesh and India. Unfortunately, even after settling in camps in Bangladesh, the amount of difficulties didn’t end. The monsoon rains shattered their camps, and forced them to build their homes once again. Young girls were sexually assaulted and beaten which left them traumatized. Basic sanitation itself was hard to find in those camps. This kind of war time violence seems inevitable but is caused only because some communities have faiths and religious beliefs which differ from other communities. The groups with majority believe that by spreading terror, they’ll be able to control the minorities and live in harmony but they fail to understand that violence is never the way to achieve something as vulnerable as peace. The Rohingyas have been protesting and rebelling for years now, however their rights are nowhere to equal to the rest of the citizens even though they have been living in Myanmar and calling it their home for longer than one can imagine. Yet, the government is intolerant of who they are as a community. For them worshipping a different God has become a bigger crime than murder, theft, and rape itself.
Although we read about this kind of brutal violence everyday in newspapers; hear about it on the radio; even write about it angrily on social media platforms, we fail to understand that it is acceptance they require from us and not anger. Religious intolerance is not something we can put as one of the sustainable goals for us to achieve by 2030. For it is something we aim to achieve in the process of fulfilling other goals such as peace and strong institutions or even reduced inequalities. Religion is something we have created, and it is not something that we can fix through programmes or treaties. It comes from within us. World peace will come when acceptance and tolerance is achieved. When we finally begin to understand that to attain world peace, all of us don’t need to have the same beliefs or views. We can worship several gods, be of various colours, and love different genders, yet still live in harmony. After all, we are the ones who are going to stay with each other even if the world falls apart.
Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority without personal boasting.
In honour of women’s day, here’s a little something.
Women’s day. An occasion to celebrate women, and how far they’ve come. After several struggles, protest and strikes and loads of hard work – women have reached where they are today, and it still is nowhere equal to where men are. They might be getting the same jobs as men, but not the same salary. They might be getting the same rights as men, but not the same respect. They might be getting the same security as men, but are they really safe? Some say that it is due to the under development of the country, and the socio – economic problems which have caused women to be uneducated or poor. Yet, America being one of the most developed and wealthy countries – still chose to elect a misogynistic, and sexist orange faced president instead of electing their first female president. Coming back to India. Although, there are numerous cases of violence against women which are filed in our country, everyday – we as a society are slowly and gradually beginning to accept the fact that gender discrimination is a real thing, and that women rights are human rights. Feminism as a concept has really begun to gain popularity in the past few years. Yet some people have misunderstood that feminists are people who are against men, and want special rights for women but that is the exact opposite of who they are. Feminism is the belief that every female should be provided with the same privileges and rights as any other person, and not just legally. Society needs to accept them and believe in their capabilities. Above all, females need to believe in each other if no one else does. Earlier, women weren’t as aware of their rights and were to afraid to speak up. Afraid of how society would judge them, afraid of how they would be treated afterwards, afraid of what people would think of them. But, it isn’t what people think which matters – it’s what we think of ourselves. Since birth, women have been taught shame. They have been taught to cover themselves up and they have been taught that by being female, they are at fault. They have been suppressed by their own people for so long, that they have lost faith in themselves. Our owns society starts mistreating them as soon as they enter this world. They pray to goddesses in temples, but abuse women in the domestic sphere. They elect women to powerful political offices, yet mistreat young girls in public, and what’s worse is that people are still pretending like it isn’t happening. However, in this modern era of feminism, movements and protests like the #MeToo movement have helped them find their voice. They say it’s a scary time for men but if you aren’t someone who harasses women, then why is it scary? It is this mentality that we need to change. That women are trying to overpower men, because that is the exact opposite of what they are trying to do. I don’t know if you all are aware of this, but recently a 620 km long women’s wall was formed in kerala. It was formed in hopes to protest against the Sabrimala controversy, and gender equality in general. This is a clear example of what women are trying to do – which is empower another, so many women still fear speaking out, and talking about how they’ve suffered for so long. Until we get to a state where each and every woman is bold and confident enough to share their story, and to share what they stand for – we haven’t achieved gender equality.
This isn’t the best because I feel like there’s a lot more I want to address, but for now it’s just a broad view on the issues I am going to write about in the near future.
Females are not objects. Alcohol, short skirts, flirty behaviour, or walking alone aren’t the causes of rape. Rapists are. We live in a society which teaches women how to not get raped instead of teaching men not to rape.
Nothing has changed between Mahabharat and today’s Bharat. I ask you, a citizen of our country, do you notice any difference since the time of Mahabharat and now. The story might be thousands of years old, but it depicts what happens in the current society. Let’s go back to the epic and recall one of the main characters – Draupadi, the heroine of Mahabharat was always bold and forthright. Her husband Yudhisthir had a weakness for gambling and staked and lost everything including his wife. The brave Draupadi challenged the assembly and demanded to know how it was possible for someone who had lost his own self to retain the right to put her at stake as well. Duryodhana, the villain insisted that Draupadi had become his and hence ordered that she be disrobed. As she was disrobed, the more her sari was pulled away the longer it became. It was this event which turned Draupadi from a contented, but strong willed wife into a vengeful goddess. Do you remember what happened while she was being humiliated and disrobed in front of everybody? Try and remember.
Well, let me remind you – nobody dared to say a word. Not one person objected against the crime that was being committed in front of their eyes, inside the palace of the kingdom itself. Does this historic incident remind you of anything? Perhaps, our society? India is a country which has one of the highest amount of rape and sexual violence cases. Yes, women are beginning to feel empowered. Yes, they are finally gaining the rights they deserve, and slowly equal amount of respect too, but are they safe? Have equal rights stopped people from objectifying women? Have they stopped people from thinking that women are inferior? Instead, the number of assault cases has increased in the past years.
Indians pray to goddesses in temples, but abuse women in the domestic sphere. They elect women to powerful political offices, yet mistreat young girls in public, and what’s worse is that people are still pretending like it isn’t happening. People still refuse to speak about young girls being sexually harassed and assaulted. It is still considered a taboo amongst several Indians. Just like nobody dared to speak up against how Draupadi was mistreated, nobody dares to talk about how women are being harassed on a daily basis. The worst part is that most of the time, the female is blamed for it. She is accused of the fact that if she doesn’t cover herself enough then such things will happen to her. That if she goes out of the house past 8 then such things will happen. That it is her fault for getting raped.
What people don’t understand is that even if a female goes around naked on the street, one still does not have the right to, forget rape, but to even touch her without her permission. A female has a right to wear whatever she wants, say whatever she wants, and go out at whatever time she wishes to, but no person has the right to harass her and touch her without permission. Just because a female wears short clothes and goes to the nightclub, doesn’t mean that she is ‘available’. Forget females you don’t know, you don’t even have the right to touch your wife in an inappropriate way unless she allows you to. Certain men think that since the woman is their wife, they have every right to do whatever they want to with her. Just like Yudishtir put Draupadi at stake even though he didn’t ‘own’ her in the first place. If she doesn’t want you to touch her then do not try to persuade her. It is not right. What is happening in our country is not right. People are still pretending that it isn’t happening, but it is.
How many rape cases will it take for people to understand that no means no? Females are not objects. Alcohol, short skirts, flirty behaviour, or walking alone aren’t the causes of rape. Rapists are. We live in a society which teaches women how to not get raped instead of teaching men not to rape. Till when will women carry pepper sprays in their purses? Till when will women cover themselves from head to toe even in the burning heat, just so that any man doesn’t have the urge to rape her? Till when will women stay trapped in their homes after 8 pm? Till when will women not go anywhere alone? Why do things like alcohol excuse a rapist’s actions but condemn the woman’s? No matter who a person is, nobody in this world deserves to be raped or has a right to rape somebody.
Women are not your property. Since birth we have taught women to cover themselves, we have taught them shame. We have made them feel as if by being female, they are bound to be at fault. We teach them that they are inferior to man and are only for their attention. We teach them that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are, and if they are harassed then we put the blame on them because men are never at fault in society’s eyes. Every article I read about sexual violence always has a title which refers to a woman being raped or harassed, why is that? Why do we talk about women being raped, instead of men raping women? It is as if the victim is being accused for the crime which has been committed.
I repeat myself, nothing has changed between Mahabharat and today’s Bharat and it won’t unless we change ourselves. By this article, I do not mean to refer to all men as rapists or all women as victims. Although rape is more common amongst women, it happens to all the sexes. No matter what, it needs to end. I urge you all to speak up, being sexually assaulted is not shameful, the one who does it is. I urge you all to unite and let everybody hear your voice. Each and every person’s voice is important. We’re blaming society even though we are society, so to make it a better place, we must change ourselves first. Come forward and reveal your stories, your scars are what make you strong.
I wrote this a while ago, hopefully it motivates you to take that chance, and do the risky things you’ve been trying to avoid doing in your lives.
They are there to help guide us, to make sure that we do not get lost in this complicated life of ours, but even if we do, we can always return to where we started, we can always go back to the beginning, because we have a whole journey, a whole life ahead of us. So my friend, why stop?
As the rain falls gently, I hear the ever so calming pitter – patter sound of it. No, not a storm, there isn’t even any thunder or lightning. Just light rain, which has been falling throughout the day. Soon enough, night has approached. Ah, night. Today, it looks rather darker and mystical than usual. The shining moonlight beams through the window, into my dim room. Sunlight is way brighter, but I’ve always found the moonlight rather ethereal and elven looking. Of course, the stars are a big plus. The moon is just so beautiful, there aren’t enough words to describe it. Although there is nothing special about its plain colours, it is just so glamorous in its own way. If I had to compare the moon to a human, it would be the type of person who has the looks of an angel but, is so mysterious and in real possesses the personality of a devil. The kind of person, whose beguiling looks can deceive even the most cynical of human beings. The mixture of the moonlight, and the soothing sound of rain creates a rather magical aura.
The trees outside my house, sway along with the wind as if dancing to a soft, melodious song. The water droplets, drop slowly on them, making their forest green colour look new as if just painted. The street lights on the road, sparkle brighter than usual, because of the dark and gloomy night. As if joining the stars in providing hope, during the darkest of times. It’s late, almost midnight, yet the city moves so fast as if trying to catch a train at the station. The cars move fast while trying to over take each other as if racing to see who reaches their dreams first. The traffic lights are there at every turn, to maintain their speed, so that they don’t destroy themselves during their journey to achieve their dreams.
If you think of it, it’s all like the human life. The cars are us humans, competing along with each other to see who accomplishes their goals first, the street lights are there to provide us humans with hope, even during the darkest of times. The traffic lights are there at every turn, every hardship in life, to remind us to take care of ourselves and not destroy ourselves while trying to fulfill all our dreams and desires. All those lights around us, represent our loved ones. The ones who stay with us during our bad times and help us when needed. A speed ticket, or a small accident represent the mistakes we make which help us learn and not repeat them again. These are all held together by one road, the road of life which takes us on a beautiful journey with several hardships and fun times along the way, until we reach our destination.
It teaches us that we can put loud music on, and drive at a fast speed, but if we have too much fun sometimes, then it leads to mistakes and too many mistakes can destroy us, which is why the lights are there. They are there to help guide us, to make sure that we do not get lost in this complicated life of ours, but even if we do, we can always return to where we started, we can always go back to the beginning, because we have a whole journey, a whole life ahead of us. So my friend, why stop?
Trust me, it’s not why people usually start a blog.
I believe that when people give advice or just any kind of knowledge about life, they are really talking to their past selves. To their younger selves, who were still naive and didn’t know much about life. It’s like they’re trying to prevent you from making the same mistake they made before.
Heyyy to anyone reading this. THIS IS OFFICIALLY MY FIRST POST YAYYYIIIEE. I’ve been procrastinating on making this blog for the past 3 months. But you know what, it’s 2019 now. Time for new beginnings and all that crap which I’m trying really hard to believe in, this year. As you know from the title of this post, I’m going to share the reason why I’m creating a blog with you all. You might have gotten a broad idea of what I’m about to tell you by the little quote kinda thing I wrote above, but anyways here we go.
Firstly, I feel as if this part of my life, is very important and right now – everything which is going on in the world has raised so many questions and thoughts and opinions in my mind that I feel the need to vent out somewhere. Not just to my best friend, or to my sister, but to as far as my voice reaches. I may sound like those patriotic over achievers but I really want to create an impact. Something I really enjoy doing – is writing, so I thought why not combine the two? Going back to this part of my life being very important. I know going into high school isn’t a huge deal, especially in our country, but I believe that this period of going from someone who thought a person shouting at me in 5th grade was the biggest problem in the world, to someone who is socially aware and understands the various difficulties people go through in this world – is one of the major but not talked about enough part of puberty and maturity.
Secondly, school hasn’t been the absolute best or worst, but what it has been is – a place which has given me memories I will never be able to forget or replace. As cringe worthy as it sounds, I love that shithole. Furthermore, these memories have taught me lessons, left me with experiences, and quite a chaotic life. I sound like any other teen and I’m sorry about that but, in reference to my little quote above – I really want to be able to have a platform to generally talk about things or some advice I would have given my younger self. Don’t worry it won’t be the cheesy ‘Don’t fall in love’ type. Giving advice to my past self, won’t just be about what I should have or shouldn’t have done. I want to talk about the issues which surround our community and environment, the issues I wasn’t aware about at that age. Issues many people still aren’t aware off.
Us lucky ones have been provided with so much in life – electricity, food, water and much more. But most importantly we have education which we can share with those who weren’t as fortunate as us, and what better way to do this than to use the internet as our platform. Many people say that social media is a curse, and the internet is destroying childhoods and that it is an addiction which I totally agree with. Internet’s misuse can be very harmful. But if we have electricity in our houses, we have network, routers, if we have internet in our house and possess any kind of knowledge then shouldn’t we combine both? Shouldn’t we try to use it for the better, and set an example for those who misuse it? What if someone takes it the wrong way? What if it becomes an addiction? There can be so many what if’s, but we need to take the chance. Every thing we say on here, can have an impact on someone’s life. It’s up to us whether or not make it a positive or negative one. If we have so much then it would be a waste to throw it all away, don’t you think?