Dear India, I’m No Cinderella

Posted by Saumya Srivastava in #BHL, Society
September 12, 2017
Editor's note: This post is a part of #BHL, a campaign by BBC Media Action and Youth Ki Awaaz to redefine and own the label of what a 'bigda hua ladka or ladki' really is. If you believe in making your own choices and smashing this stereotype, share your story.

Dear India,

As much as I am proud to stand up for the woman that I am, I can’t help but feel helpless to be born a girl in this country. I have to fight for everything that often comes naturally to men. Of course, you won’t accept my allegations. After all, you are a country where patriarchal traditions prevail.

I am tired of battling judgment that comes my way from all corners of society. Since childhood, we are told what to wear and how to conduct ourselves. Our time lines are set and basically, every decision of our life is monitored. I am not allowed to question these things because that would contradict the tight and limited mould I am supposed to fit in. Please realise that I am not Cinderella and I don’t want to get into those shoes. I want to build my own fairytale, my own empire – where in I am free and liberated.

When I get married and have a child should be my choice. I don’t want to be governed by stereotypical expectations. A live-in relationship suits me better, I believe. But wait, aren’t two required for a live-in relationship? Also, smoking and drinking are hazardous to health. But only for women? No, right? Then why are only we subjected to the criticism? I have bruised my throat and inner self by asking these questions, but instead of getting answers, I get condemned.

One may think that gender biases only prevail in rural areas, but I write from an urban one. I can’t even begin to fathom what women in rural areas must be going through.

Even after staying among educated people, I am judged for my period stains. Cramps are a lot less painful compared to the looks you get from people. Funny how the blood that plays a role in making you, can raise eyebrows for it.

Not once, but there have been many instances in where the world limited my capacity for achievement, just because I was born a woman. Pick up a newspaper and you’ll see how many times women like me were tormented, judged and put to shame while the culprits were set free.

Don’t tell me what time to get indoors, don’t advise me on my dress code, don’t tell me what job profile suits my gender, don’t tell me what a sabya naari (good girl) would do. First, provide me with a sabhya nation!

Before you wrap a veil on me or put tape on my lips, please open your eyes to the judgment that surrounds the women of this country. We are and will keep fighting, but a little help will help us grow as a nation

Being optimistic,
An Indian girl that is speaking for many