It’s been around 30 weeks of my pregnancy, and I do not know if you are a girl or a boy, because pre-natal sex determination is a crime in India. But I really do not know why I always feel the strength inside which reminds me that you are one of the strongest girls. This feeling gives me immense pleasure, and I enjoy every moment with you. But I also want you to know that being a girl is not easy in our society.
“Don’t shout! Be polite! Don’t argue! Maintain your modesty! Be a good wife/daughter/sister! You are the nose of the family!”. You would be asked for these and many more commands in your life. But you do not need to follow it blindly. Life of a girl is heavily fed on guilt, and it becomes tougher as you grow up. Sometimes we are brought up to feel guilty of our existence. In every situation, whether you are beautiful, ugly, fat, thin, tall or short, the society puts you down.
If you are ‘beautiful’, you are forced to feel guilty because you would catch men’s attention and might ‘get sexually assaulted’. If you are ‘ugly’, you won’t get a good guy to marry and settle down. If you are tall, you will face a problem finding a guy to match your height, and if short, guys will reject your marriage proposal. But I will always stand with your decision—no matter what the circumstances will be.
When you step out of your house, you would be forced to feel guilty and unsafe because it is completely natural for men to stare at women and abuse them sexually. But you cannot be afraid; you have to stay bold and face the situation. Once a girl turns 21, her marriage becomes her family’s top priority. Parents, relatives go on a mission to find the ideal match for her. During this perfect match search, women are ‘advertised’ based on complexion, features, height and whatnot. It doesn’t end here because after being judged on physical attributes, women even need to make a payment in the form of dowry to get married. But I would make sure that you never go through any of this.
All their lives, women are objectified. For parents, they are ‘paraya dhan’, for boyfriends they are ‘chicks’, for lusty men they are ‘maal’ and for some they are ‘bojh’. When women talk about making their own choice, they are presumed to be wrong one way or the other. If women get married, they want the guy or his family to raise them. If women don’t get married, it’s because they aren’t attractive or worth marrying. If women have children after marriage, they are giving up on their career and no longer care about their bodies and have decided to live only for their kids.
If women don’t have children, they are selfish narcissists. If women are stay-at-home moms, they are lazy parasites, sucking the life out of other’s bank account. If women decide to return to work, then
again, they are selfish and don’t bother about the child anymore. If women dislike another woman, they are traitors to the ‘sisterhood’, and if women dislike men, they are feminist psychopaths.
If women cry, they are emotional basket cases, and if they don’t cry, they are cold-hearted. If women write about how difficult it is to be a woman, they are ungrateful and probably an annoying feminist. If women do not write, then they are said to be so adapted in the ever-present patriarchy. But don’t you worry, feel confident with the decisions you make, and I will always be there for you.
In our patriarchal society, there are numerous challenges women face that men don’t because we live in a culture that’s structured to benefit one gender over another. There has been progress in the fight for gender equality over the decades, but women’s rights are a long way to go. Even in the modern-day, women are expected to force themselves to face all the shits of the so-called society such as sexual harassment, media representation, purdah system, discrimination in the workplace and many other societal setups.
When you’re a woman, there’s enormous pressure to perform well because everything you do reflects on your gender. But you do not need to pressurise yourself, rather, set yourself free! Dear baby girl, as I write this, it feels like you are having a party time in my tummy—moving and stretching frequently. When I feel your movement, I wonder about who you would be, what an amazing personality is going to come to me.
But remember, being a woman in this world is a big deal. At times you would face tremendous difficulties, but you need to face them bravely. I am writing this for you because you would get misguided with so much irrelevant information around you which would be confusing at times, but you need to be very careful in taking decisions.
Lastly, I want you to know that my goal as your mother is to give you the freedom to grow, to learn, to fly, and to discover who you are. I cannot wait to meet you!