“I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples”
On International Women’s Day, I want to share 5 principles or #liferules I live by, and my strong message to all womenkind, Stop Saying You’re Not A Feminist, You’re ruining it for the rest of us.
So I got myself educated. Overtly educated, if I may say so. I’m well read. I can hold a conversation with anyone from world politics to water resistance. Make yourself aware of the world. Education doesn’t mean just obtaining university degrees, its also about what you learn from your surroundings. Train yourself so well that no one can take you for a ride.
I’m independent, not just in my mind, in actions as well. Every single decision of my life is taken by me independently since I was 18. To me, the word ‘independence’ becomes worthless if it doesn’t come with financial independence. Ability to fend for yourself is what makes you “truly” independent. Work. Earn. Pay your bills. Don’t depend on a male member of your family no matter how rich they are! The moment they pay for you, they get one step closer to control you.
I wear makeup. I dress up whatever and however I want to. From bikini to cotton saree. My clothes and eyeshadow don’t take away the depth in me. Looking chic and posing like a diva in some of my pictures don’t belittle the secular humanist and free thinking (self proclaimed) human right activist in me. So wear makeup if you want to but make sure it doesn’t come in the way of exercising your brain. Have a mind of your own and express it when needed.
Respect your identity. For me, our given name is a major part of our identity. I’m comfortable with my own. So I don’t need to borrow it from my partner just like he didn’t need mine. When we are still having the conversation about “keeping the maiden name after marriage or not”, we fail Suffragettes, we fail those heroic women who fought for our basic rights decades ago. No, its just not a matter of “my choice”. Changing lastnames after marriage doesn’t happen ”because you love your spouse”. In that theory, your husband doesn’t love you ‘cause he is not the one to change it. This patronymic practice of choosing husband’s name not only for children, but for themselves is something our society got used to. We loose the battle for something hugely important like equal pay when it’s depressing not to recognise half your Facebook female friends list because their names have changed overnight. They have been cast off for the happy tags of “Mrs X”, as if to proclaim “forget who I was before – I am now loved, wanted and owned by a MAN!”. There is no direct relation between changing lastname and demanding equal pay at work place, true, but they all are somehow connected. Once you are comfortable to be known only as Mrs. so & so, employers will have strong reasons to discourage equal pay citing reasons, “you don’t need to contribute financially to your family, your husband Mr. so & so will look after it, so why do you need higher pay?”. This conversation never takes place when it comes to a male employee. Norms of our society decided men’s surname to be unchanged, so are their role to run a family, solely. Own your name, women, be proud of your identity.
Live a little, for yourself, not just for your parents, husband’s parents and your kids. If at any stages in life you feel either of these 3 relationships are coming on your way to live freely, happily, stand up, take a pause and say it out loud that your life is first your own and act on it. Don’t make yourself a scapegoat to everyone’s expectations. You can’t make everyone happy. At different phases in life, I have taken certain decisions that didn’t go down very well with my parents. We spent months without talking. It’s fine. I own those decisions. My mistakes and achievements are my own. I believed, if they truly care for me, they would understand one day. They did eventually. In our traditional patriarchal society, woman like me can be termed as “head strong” by partner’s family. I am. They expect you to be educated (basically have University degrees) and good looking (basically be a decoration piece) but not to have a mind of your own and most importantly they fashionably put a blind eye to your earning capacity, the importance of your financial contribution to your family. Ignore any such people who tries to dominate, control, interfere, judge you because you are their “male child’s” spouse. Difficult? Not impossible. I’ve successfully done it for 10 years now.
If you think both men and women can be whoever they want to be, you are a feminist. I know I’m! Happy International Women’s Day!
What I’m Wearing?
Photo by Margarita Karenko
Hair by Driblow Bar
Makeup by yours truly1