By Soumya Raj:
“It’s only through sheer force and luck that she’s yet to take over the world.”
â€• Julia Quinn, Romancing Mister Bridgerton: The Epilogue II
A woman is a marvelous creature. Not because she can multi-task, or give birth to children, or can play different roles, or because she has suffered for so long without a word, it is because she lets the men believe that they are superior when they really aren’t. Men and women are as equally made as the two halves of a circle are.
Being a woman, I have often felt that men secretly feel threatened by women. There has been a lot of enslaving, suppression and abuse, and through time immemorial — a lot of effort has been put into circulating the ideology by men (and sometimes women alike) that women should be enslaved, suppressed and abused. But how do I see it? I see an underlying fear, a fear that if left unchained, women will rule the world better than they did, and will be better at everything that they have been doing so far. As the aforementioned quote says, women have only been contained so far because of the prevalence of the concept that a woman should be this, a woman should be that, and if she is anything other than that, she is pure evil, wild and uncouth, a dirty lady, and should not be looked at, at all.
We have feared our own potential for so long, that we meekly obey all the rules and follow all the guidelines. We adhere to conducts. Sometimes, we decide to finish off the problem at the root itself, nip it when it’s a bud. Sometimes we kill the female child when she is still unborn, sometimes we drown her in boiling milk if we realize she’s more a liability than an asset, sometimes we shoot her in the head because she knows the value of books, sometimes we burn her because she dares to believe that her marriage means more than money, sometimes we kill her if she cannot produce baby boys, because we must follow rules. We are severely punished if we do not follow rules.
11th October, 2013, was the second International Day of the Girl Child. The United Nations General Assembly, on 19th December, 2011, voted to entitle 11th October of every year to be celebrated at the International Day of the Girl Child with an issue based focus. The day promotes girls’ human rights, gender equality, highlights and addresses the various forms of discrimination and mistreatment suffered by females globally. Last year’s focus was on child marriage. This year’s is on education for girls. Malala Yousafzai has been an example extraordinaire in promoting this dire need of education — barely fifteen when she took a bullet to her head for promoting education locally, she has since then been recognized world over as an icon of the importance of education for girls.
It is time to celebrate the girl child. She is not a mass of living, breathing casualty. She needs to be acknowledged because she is a human, and she has an equal right on everything that is kept out of reach of her, that is given willingly to boys, but considered a privilege if handed to her. Julia Quinn is absolutely right — unnecessary forces and luck have crippled the girl, or else she would’ve taken over the world long back. It’s time to untether her feet and watch her fly high, because there is no limit to what she can be, how high she can go, or how strong she’ll become.