Dear Indian Society,
I have grown up disliking the norms you make for young girls and women. From child marriage to not letting menstruating women enter a temple or kitchen, I have seen your injustice everywhere. I definitely believe that we need to do better for the women of our country.
I was born in a modern family and we are two daughters. Tomorrow, if my sister and I get married, who will take care of our parents? Because I would be expected to take care of my in-laws and even live with them. My parents would be assumed to come second for me and my sister.
And that’s why I believe in feminism, a term which is often misconstrued as women wanting to be superior to men. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Feminism is all about treating women and men equally. How is this possible when we bring up our boys and girls in very different ways. When a girl grows up we want her to learn cooking, start wearing traditional clothes; whereas a young boy is expected to be ambitious and not taught to run his own household errands. With her sindoor, mangalsutra, mehendi and choora, it is very easy to identify a newly-married woman. What about many Indian men who don’t even wear a wedding ring? Why is a woman expected to wear her marriage on her sleeves and even change her identity and home while a man’s life continues without much change?
People get so offended that feminism is called feminism and not something else that distracts from gender and women like “humanism” or “egalitarianism” or “equalism”.
We are so used to men being the standard, that any movement that centres women in it’s name is seen as a threat.
— an angry bird with sunflowered hair (@msndukanwosu) April 23, 2018
Even if a woman chooses to retain her maiden name, a child gets the father’s surname by default. Doesn’t the mother’s family need an heir? I personally feel that a child should have both the surnames. Moving on to the domestic front, women are expected to cook and clean for everyone before they leave for work? Why can’t household chores be shared between the husband and wife? Similarly, the guy doesn’t have to pay for all the expenses if his wife is working and a woman should even propose a man if she wants to!
While as a society, we punish and brand girls for staying out too late, boys are lauded for going out and living their lives. A family’s honour always rests on the shoulders of their daughter, who is disempowered by the endless rules and restrictions. If we bring up our children equally and not treat our girls like ‘paraya dhan’ (somebody else’s property), we will help them realise their full potential. This is why we need feminism, to address the problem of discrimination. So that we can solve it.