World’s cruel, boss! Speak up!

I have had guys wondering if i am capable of wearing a skirt, given the fact that I chose to cover myself at work. I use “capable” because this is how they measured my womanliness. Why, because i can’t be found drinking in a salwar-suit? Men, a little decency? Do NOT discuss my clothes unless you are Manish Malhotra styling me up for a wedding!

I’ve had Punjabi aunties telling me at that mothers can only be truly relieved when their daughters are sent to their true homes. Like if I am paying my rent, that house is not my true home. Or if I’ve bought a house with my money, that’s not my true home either, that my parents’ house can not be my real home but if I had a brother, it would have been handed down to him without raising any such doubts.

I once had a senior asking me, at the time of a performance appraisal, “What do you want to do in life except getting married?” I was dumbfounded. I felt helpless and completely weak because of my gender that day. I couldn’t believe that all those exams that I had aced, the college degree that I earned, the successful career I had dreamt of, meant nothing to anybody. And it shouldn’t. But they made me feel like I was wrong to even feel proud of my achievements. Getting married comes first, your career is secondary. Good for those who want to make that choice. But to tell me that I don’t even have that choice tore me apart.

I’ve had another woman tell me when I gained a few pounds that I looked pregnant. Why, am I not allowed to gain a little weight? What if I really was pregnant? Would you really be so insensitive as to say that to me? Shaming me for gaining weight because I am nurturing a life?

These are all anecdotes from my everyday life. This happens to people like you an me on a daily basis. Such cruelty is perpetuated by men and women alike towards other women and it is stifling! My point is that it’s not okay to breathe in an air rife with such meanness. They are mean to me because of my gender.

I can bet that every woman my age and definitely, if she is older, comes across similar remarks. But not many of them are particularly sensitive to these things or think that there is anything wrong with these statements. To them, I’d say that this is outright discrimination and indecent behavior. Recognise it and speak up before we let the environment become too foul for us to breathe in (puns intended).

Yes, I am a feminist, feminazi or whatever because I can’t bear anybody giving me a second-hand treatment!