A couple of days ago, I was at a café, whiling away time without a care in the world, when I happened to overhear a conversation that ensued between a young girl and her mother. To put it in brief, the mother was telling her daughter to cross her legs and sit because it wasn’t lady-like to sit in any other manner. Now what you can deduce, from my narrative, besides the fact that I love to eavesdrop, is that we take things at Face Value.
My least preferred word in the English language, is the word ‘Should’. It indicates ‘idealism’, ‘force’… ‘Pressure’.
We invest so much in external validation and approval. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m quite vain too. (Read: Quite meaning excessive to the point of obsession) but I don’t let any one call me out, or give them the right to penetrate my air of confidence.
‘A girl should be quiet and dainty’, ‘a boy must be brash’, ‘a woman must cook and clean’, ‘A man must earn and provide for his family’. Even before a child is born, we’ve assigned it a colour. Blue- if it’s a boy, Pink-if it’s a girl. We are so caught up in our bubble of idealism and false sense of indignation that we fail to realise not all of us are the same. I hate to use a clichéd phrase to drive out my point, but ‘not all fingers are alike’. Now if you know me, I’m not particularly macho or animalistic. Never been, never will I aspire to willingly change myself. I’ve been at the receiving end of flak for not living up to someone’s ‘faux image’ of what I should be like. I couldn’t give a rat’s a** about it today, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me in the past. I recall I was once visiting a counsellor in school, who was helping me out with my anxiety and I happened to tell her about some of the times I felt belittled because I wasn’t like other boys, rough and testosterone-infused. She simply smiled at me, and replied ‘You should start changing yourself, fake manliness… It’ll help’.
What I needed to hear was the fact that I didn’t have to subscribe to gender stereotypes and do my thing and be honest to myself. It would be years later, that I would learn that, but good on me. Self-realisation is the best realisation.
I hear girls being told how they need to be courteous and an accessory, and how they must behave at all times and say the right things because who knows what the neighbours might say or do. A girl smoking is a big deal, a boy doing the same isn’t. In my opinion, and with no offence intended, smoking is bad for any gender. But you can’t hate on her because she’s a girl who smokes, hate on her because she smokes and she’s jeopardising her health. (Again, that’s her choice, I’m only talking from a health stand-point). A boy can’t like pampering himself or like Pop. A girl can’t like Heavy Metal. We’re so intrigued by issues like ‘equal pay for genders’ that we are forgetting fundamental issues like freedom for all genders barring financial independence. Not that the former is any less significant, women deserve just as much monetary benefits as their male counterparts, but let’s get to that later. Let’s at least have freedom of expression for men and women, alike.
I’m happy we’re changing, as a country. I’m so proud of India, while there’s progress to look forward to, we are abolishing so many of these typecasts, we are growing up. Girls rock short bobs (all hail Taylor Swift), men wear makeup (yes every single man you see on Television wears blush), we’re letting our sons play with dolls and our daughters with action figures (or whatever they make these days, I’m a 50 year old Aunty IRL) and not making it a big deal.
I’m sorry this wasn’t entertaining funny or even interesting at the very least. This was short and messy *That’s what she said*
But Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. How to talk, or how to act, or what to like. You are your own person and no one has the power to dictate your preferences, your likes, your hobbies or your lifestyle. Looking back, it wasn’t the counsellor’s fault. This is how people are wired, to change something they don’t identify with. To alter unfamiliar surroundings. Don’t fall prey to someone else’s insecurities. This is the time to live, this is the time to let yourself loose, this is the time to do whatever your mind tells you to and conquer all your dragons. Because, when you’re being taken to your grave, you’re going to have no one but yourself to answer. As my Queen RuPaul says, ‘Unless they paying your bills, pay them bit*hes no mind’.
I’m sorry, this wasn’t proof-read, this wasn’t edited or thought through. It’s a rant, it’s raw and I don’t even know if this makes sense. Let me know what you think in the comments. Best wishes and lots of love, little children. Be happy, I promise to be more regular with my upload schedules.