Just a girl
I’m a girl. And I’ve never considered being a girl a weakness. I’m a feminist, I know that us girls still have to fight for many things that boys/ men take completely for granted. It could be as basic as safety, or as complex as the glass ceiling. But I’ve considered myself a fighter. Who’s believed that if we fight, we can get what should be our rights.
The fight is harder in conservative countries like India, where comments like “You’re a grown girl now”, “A girl should be home before it gets dark”, or “This is not America” are common, even in a comparatively open minded household like mine – where it isn’t expected of me or my sister to follow any dress code/ where girls drinking was not seen as cringe worthy fault/ where I am encouraged to be fully independent, work for my own living and be as self sufficient as possible.
Even in those situations, whenever those comments came up, I fought it. Or so I thought I did.
Till recently, I noticed, actually took a moment to stop and notice, some of my choices.
I wasn’t changing jobs, as it would make it easier to quit and move/ or quit and stay at home as required – after the wedding.
I was resisting looking for higher paying jobs, or even taking up extra assignments internally – to ensure my promotion, as that would mean that the guy I find/ found for me should earn that much more than me.
I didn’t pursue my Ph.D because already it’s difficult to find many men who have a masters. A doctrate would make it almost impossible.
I wasn’t buying a car because A. It’s a huge investment, money that could be used for the wedding! B. I don’t know where I would be settling. C. Families don’t prefer women who have a debt (loan), so that would fall upon my father to close it before the wedding and finally D. Having a car would mean the guy, once again, would have to have a better car. Or at least a car of equal standard.
Or a bit too familiar?
I’m guessing that it’s probably the latter for quite a few single women out there. Unfortunately.
I’ve heard serious stories about marriages where the lady was doing better professionally – and consequently, had to suffer domestically. The fact that they earned and contributed more monetarily in the house hold did nothing to reduce the pressure of doing/ supervising the domestic work as well, and not to mention dealing with the bruised ego of the husband. This is the case even when both parties are earning almost equally. Don’t get me started on when the baby arrives!
I’m also hearing a lot from older women who say “I want a stay at home wife for my son. I want him to be properly taken care of” Why? Are the men not supposed to take care of the wives through any way other than by cash and kind?
All these later points, I repeat quite frequently, and vehemently – especially to my colleagues. Working in a largely male dominated company, I’ve heard much too many times, even from those junior to me, that “You’ll probably quit when you get married right?” I refuse of course. But I’m never completely sure about that.
It is still expected that the lady should be able to have suspended life plans, should live by the life plans of the guy or at least more by his than hers.
I fought it. But not completely apparently.
But, I’m 27 now, been an adult long enough to know that I’m not ready for some compromises anymore. My life plans will not be put on hold for a stranger any longer.
I’m getting a new car tomorrow.
I’ll find a better job soon.
I’m getting published shortly.
I am my own person.
I’m not just a girl anymore.
I’m A girl.