On International Women’s Day…
As a 27 year old woman, there is a lot I’ve learned and a lot I’m yet to learn.
I’ve learned that I was lied to in school, when the feminist movement was part of the past printed on those thick History textbooks. I was misled into thinking women were already equal to men, when even at the time it actually wasn’t. Without realising, even in childhood, I was already being treated differently than boys my age. I was assimilating patriarchy as a normal societal structure.
But, I learnt what feminist was on those same textbooks. And immediately became a feminist myself. Thankfully my mind, always critical since childhood, started to question and question. To wonder and ponder. And then it all started.
I sat at football fields in school to protest against girls not being included in the so-called boys games, even though I wasn’t interested in joining.
I protest(ed) when at home, the domestic tasks were left to the women only, and my mum never got a moment’s rest.
I protest(ed) because every time I was protesting I was told I was being bossy and pushy.
I protest(ed) because all magazines for my age were only about how to get thinner, to get the guy, to look the very best for a boy and later on, a man.
I protest(ed) because it wasn’t cool as a girl to read as much as I did.
I protest(ed) that I’m often seen as a cold person because I don’t show a easy smile.
I protest(ed) because at work I want to be taken seriously, not a no-nothing girl when I am a grown-up, self-sustained and ambitious woman.
I protest(ed) because I want to be seen as an independent human being who doesn’t rely on other to chase dreams, career and goals.
I protest(ed) because all I’m expected to do at this age is to find “the man” and to bear “the children” and paint the “family” portrait.
I protest(ed) because I often get undesirable attention and I’m not allowed to walk alone at streets feeling completely safe.
I protest(ed) because I am tired of conversations about my solo travellings ending up with people suggesting that I wait until I find someone to come along with me.
I will continue to protest for all of the above. For the women ending up being the culprit in a world still dominated by the white male. For the women so often portrayed as the manipulative villains when she succeeds and chases success. For the women ending up not getting a fair, equal pay. For the women in the world who are not permitted education.
And for that and more, I’ll be called bitter. Bossy. Arrogant. A frustrated woman. By men and women alike. What would a man be called if protesting the same way? The Man.