The Monsters we carry within us!
Wondering who that monster is - It's you. We have to unlearn decades of pervasive conditioning passed on from generation to generation which subsumes how a woman needs to live by definition set in motion by a patriarchal society. It is this monster that's in many of us, which subjects women to a box of being less than equal.
Ever been told not to wear a short dress? Ever been summoned back home by sunset? Ever been told not to post anything that could raise eyebrows or a question on social media? Ever been groped in public only to have people tell you don't take that route again or don't react? Ever heard of people hushing up a rape or a molestation incident cos the girl has a lot to lose? Ever been told you shouldn't be drinking cos you're a girl? Ever heard of being slut shamed cos you had sex before marriage but if a man did the same, then he's just a man? Ever heard of people tell you if your engagement is called off, its easy for a man to find a girl again but you...it won't be easy for you?
These questions....THEY call for reasoning. THEY call for introspection.
Every time my 20 year old niece is out till 9pm, my family is racing up and down the house waiting for her to step foot inside, calling her 10 times in 30 min to know where she's reached, tracking her cab movement, taking the cab driver details down and having 100 on speed dial.
Every time I went out partying with some friends, my mom would sit and fall asleep on a chair only to wake up every 5 min and check her phone to see if I've texted or if my whatsapp last seen was just a few minutes ago.
Every time I would have to work late, be at a show that ended late, my dad would stay on the phone with me from the time I entered my car till I reached the gate of my home and have my dad open the gate for me at 1am.
Every time my brother went out with a group of friends, he was instructed to drop all his female friends back home before he headed back. He was even asked to wait outside their houses till they walked in and closed the door behind them and confirmed they were inside.
Now, I can be angry and upset that my family is so paranoid about my safety, and more so have an ingrained opinion of how things will always be for women. But the truth is, it is their feeling of being helpless in situations like this that make them say and do these things. It is years of pervasive conditioning, that you begin to accept that as a norm. Well, nothing comes easy, nobody's mindset and behaviour can be changed overnight, but you know what you can do... you can take a step. Just one step at a time.
Tell your children - son AND daughter that neither get preferential treatment for anything. Don't send your son for martial arts and daughter for ballet, send them both to a place based on their interests. Tell both your children to have fun but get home safe. Don't ask your daughter to compromise when it comes to choosing her career over marriage. Don't ask her to wear long fully covered clothes instead ask your son to stop looking at women perversely. If you choose to tell your son to practice safe sex, then learn to tell your daughter that too. Teach your children the value of the words 'yes' and 'no', what consent means. Teach your son to respect and your daughter to stop hiding. Tell your son he's only as special as his sister is.
This is a conversation you should be having in the living room of your house repetitively. This is that conversation that will go a long long way in how our children will respect human beings without bias. This is that conversation that will leave behind a safe world for our kids to live in. But the change has to start within, with YOU. Gender sensitivity is an actual thing. The worst any of us "educated elite" could do is to read the atrocities women are subjected to, the differentiation women are subjected to and be silent spectators, without inducing a change at home.
As Dante Alighieri once said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”