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Does My Wearing Pants Make Me Less Of A Girl?

Posted by Paranjaya Mehra in Body Image, Sexism And Patriarchy
February 21, 2017

It wasn’t long ago when I was safe inside what every youth calls their second home – my school. I wish I could say it was yesterday. Sadly, it was long before that. When I now look back at the memories of school, one of it which has stuck with me is that I had to deal with a lot of name calling related to my physical features. Yes, it began long back in school.  At that point, I never realized it was leaving an impact somewhere deep inside me. I accepted it in the name of friendship, for the sake of friends. I don’t have any of those friends with me today, but the impressions that those episodes left on me fail to leave my side.

Yes, I never wore mini skirts to school. Yes, I never touched an eye liner all my school life. Never felt like it. Yes, I wore and still wear specks 24×7. Yes, I purchased my first dress for my fresher party in college. Out of my own will, I never owned one before it.  Yes, I have no idea about the best brands of lipstick, nail paint and all other cosmetics. All I use is kajal (kohl). Yes, I prefer to buy clothes from the nearby market rather than stepping inside Forever 21 or other such stores. I still regret the first (that was the last too) time I stepped inside that store because of the amount I spent on one outfit. I could have afforded four in the same amount had it been my pados ki market vali dukan (the shop in my neighbourhood market).

Yes, you won’t find a single backless dress in my wardrobe. All you’ll find are lots and lots of kurtis. Yes, I still prefer a T-shirt and pyjamas over a T-shirt and shorts. I’m not against short clothes, I don’t judge the people who wear them because it’s all our choice, and I choose not to. Lastly, something most of you reading this will judge me for, I have two failed relationships behind me because I didn’t fit into their definition of a girl.

Does all this make me any less of a girl? Majority of you might say no, but I’ll say yes, because that’s what I have been made to feel over the years. In school it used to be direct name calling. Later, it took on a worst shape. Nobody now says anything to me on my face but trust me, I know what you say about me the moment I turn my back. That is what hurts the most. College crushed the last bit of self confidence I had inside me. For there, I realised that I will be judged on every step of my path. Judged, not for being who I am but for not being who I can’t be – a girly girl. My lessons from college life will need another piece, they are that many.

To you out there.

You aren’t there to pacify me when I see strands of broken hair stuck in my comb and feel sad about it. My mom is there. You weren’t there to hug me tight when the doc asked me to get tested for cancer and other such diseases. My parents were there. You aren’t there to calm me down when baldness scares the shit out of me. My parents do that. You don’t stand proudly with me when I’m looking my shabbiest. My father does that. He stands tall with me, proudly, irrespective of anything. You don’t care to cheer me up when I’m sitting alone in a room. My sister does that. You don’t accept me for being me without any demands. My family does that.

What do you do? You tell me to change if I want to stand amongst you. You teach me to lock the real me inside and fight this world, daily. You judge me, daily. All I’m fighting for is to prove to myself that I have within me the strength to carry on, just like I have been doing. Sometimes, that is all you have as an option.