You will be fine.

Women.
Women who are mothers to us, worrying how we’re making it. What we have had for lunch and just when are we going to marry. Those who became mothers recently and are basking in it’s glory, even those who don’t think they’re carved for the task. Single mothers being a set of parents to their kid. He is going to ask you someday who his father was. I don’t know what you’re going to say.

He didn’t want you, dear.
She stands outside the obscure clinic, her face covered, awaiting her turn. They’re going to extract a part of her and set her free. Free of this judgemental world.
Women who love their husbands and women who are loved. She wakes up to snuggle up to him and he wraps a hand around her. Life’s good.
Women stuck in a loveless marriage, unable to get out. Where will I take my kids? What will people say? My parents will not take me back.

Women who go to sleep, cuddled next to their pets.

And then those who finish a sandwich on their way to office, tackling casual sexism as they drive. Women who are bosses and those who are subordinates. 
Women that bleed every month and yet try to pretend they never have it. They can climb mountains on their periods. Why should people get to know they’re having those days of the month. The shopkeeper discreetly wraps napkins in newspaper and then puts it into a black plastic bag. She feels like an undercover agent delivering a package to Matt Damon.
She watches him do that and wonders of she should be as ashamed of menstruation as he is.

Women who shout slogans and those who rather post a status update. Hashtag outrage.

Women who stand tall in the face of obstacles.

You will not go outside to work.

You will not apply for a job.

You will not drive.

You will not go to school anymore.

You will not talk to boys.
Women who carry on their heads bricks to construction sites and lament the builder’s cut in their pay.

Women, truckloads of them trafficked across states to be used as maids in upscale residential localities. Listen, you will take care of my kid and manage the chores while I go to work. Memsaab I don’t like your husband touching me. 

 To be sold to pimps. To enter a vicious never ending cycle of exploitation. Women who deal in these women without hesitation.
Women sweeping our corridors so that they can pay for the education of their children. Those of them beaten black and blue by their men.

Women motivating other women and those that pull them down.

We are friends.

Sisters.

Our own enemies.

Women who work and those that don’t. The ones creating magic out of words. 
Women who are looking for love and those that have given up on it. 

Women who are achieving milestones. Women witnessing these women and wondering what they are doing with their lives.
Then there is a tribe of those that find recluse in gossip because that’s their escape.

Women adhering to stereotypes and those challenging it.
I know that We are the same, all of us. Our stories make us different, have us grasping at reality differently.

Some of us affixed like rubber stamps into categories.

Good

Bad

Beautiful

Fat

Bitch

Cunt

Whore

I don’t understand how we make that distinction. We are misfits. 
Impossible that every woman finds a mention here but those that I have seen and those I know of, do.

Us

Women.
Women who are mothers to us, worrying how we’re making it. What we have had for lunch and just when are we going to marry. Those who became mothers recently and are basking in it’s glory, even those who don’t think they’re carved for the task. Single mothers being a set of parents to their kid. He is going to ask you someday who his father was. I don’t know what you’re going to say.

He didn’t want you, dear.
She stands outside the obscure clinic, her face covered, awaiting her turn. They’re going to extract a part of her and set her free. Free of this judgemental world.
Women who love their husbands and women who are loved. She wakes up to snuggle up to him and he wraps an arm around her. Life’s good.
Women stuck in a loveless marriage, unable to get out. Where will I take my kids? What will people say? My parents will not take me back.

Women who go to sleep, cuddled next to their pets.

And then those who finish a sandwich on their way to office, tackling casual sexism as they drive. Women who are bosses and those who are subordinates. 
Women that bleed every month and yet try to pretend they never have it. They can climb mountains on their periods. Why should people get to know they’re having those days of the month. The shopkeeper discreetly wraps napkins in newspaper and then puts it into a black plastic bag. She feels like an undercover agent delivering a package to Matt Damon.
She watches him do that and wonders if she should be as ashamed of menstruation as he is.

Women who shout slogans and those who rather post a status update. Hashtag outrage.

Women who stand tall in the face of obstacles.

You will not go outside to work.

You will not apply for a job.

You will not drive.

You will not go to school anymore.

You will not talk to boys.
Women who carry on their heads bricks to construction sites and lament the builder’s cut in their pay.

Women, truckloads of them trafficked across states to be used as maids in upscale residential localities. 

Listen, you will take care of my kid and manage the chores while I go to work. Memsaab I don’t like your husband touching me. 

How dare you say such a thing?

 To be sold to pimps. To enter a vicious never ending cycle of exploitation. Women who deal in these women without hesitation.
Women sweeping our corridors so that they can pay for the education of their children. Those of them beaten black and blue by their men.

Women motivating other women and those that pull them down.

We are friends.

Sisters.

Our own enemies.

Women who work and those that don’t. The ones creating magic out of words. 
Women who are looking for love and those that have given up on it. 

Women who are achieving milestones. Women witnessing these women and wondering what they are doing with their lives.
Then there is a tribe of those that find recluse in gossip because that’s their escape.

Women adhering to stereotypes and those challenging it.
I know We are the same, all of us. Our stories make us different, have us grasping at reality differently.

Some of us affixed like rubber stamps into categories.

Good

Bad

Beautiful

Fat

Bitch

Cunt

Whore

I don’t understand how we make that distinction. We are misfits.  We love our men. We fall in love with other women. We are survivors.
Impossible that every woman finds a mention here but those that I have seen and those I know of, do.

Shrinking Women

I walk,
Down alleyways and passages,
Corridors and lanes,
And roads,
As if I am one person too much,
Occupying more space than I exist in.
So I make myself small,
Pull my hands in
And hold them folded,
Against my body.
I stick to the straight line,
That becomes fine while I walk.
And I envy that fiery stride
You take.
Step after step moving forward in silent determination,
You hold your head high for the world to see
And though you hinder me not,
I,
Unsure of my gait,
Tone it down.
And I jump in my skin,
When I hear footsteps behind me,
Or voices that I know for sure are talking about me,
Or eyes that I know are burning a hole in my clothes,
To see what lies underneath.
Is it skin?
Is it fresh meat?
I don’t know.
I gather myself up,
Shrink a little,
Trying to dissolve into thin air.

The Interview

Tell us something about yourself.

Suffice it to say I am a woman?

So, what do you feel?

I feel a lot of things: angst,  anxiety, paranoia, joy, ecstasy, happiness, delusion and fear, but never too safe.

You don’t feel safe?
Yes. And no, this isn’t a country thing. I mean I tried everything, dressing conservatively, being holed up in my home, not speaking unless spoken to. I followed the instructions you know. I stuck to my side of the road, I moved in groups, you’ll find it funny that I enrolled in karate classes and started keeping pepper spray in my bag.

So, that must have made you feel empowered then!
The illusion frankly. But not safe or protected even then.

Well then miss. This might be the textbook case of female hysteria. We’ll have it fixed in no time.
How is that?
The time tested solution of marriage. You can party hard to bollywood songs, put on bling, wear that red lipstick or the little black dress and have sex as much as you like.

Oh! But what about marital rape?
Umm, well. Let us assume it does not exist.

Oh, okay.

So its time for the HYPOTHETICAL ROUND!!
What happens when you are commented upon, out of the blue.
Well,you see, I’ll talk about tonight. I alighted from an auto and entered a passageway to home. This boy on a bike goes past me, takes a u turn and buzzes past me saying, ‘I love you.’ Dude, I didn’t even know that guy.

What did you do?
I pretended to not have heard him.

So, my hypothetical question is: What if this has happened three years ago?
I would have felt angered. The blood would have boiled over in my veins at such a preposterous act. I would have retaliated with a nasty retort because I was prone to panic.

So what changed?
Did you know an Australian court acquitted a man of harrassing two women because he was influenced by Bollywood and considered stalking women as normal?

What is your point?
My point is, that it is okay for that guy to confess love to a complete stranger because she is a woman wearing red lipstick and walking alone at 8 p m with her hair down. It is okay because well, they get away with it in our movies and telly. It is okay for our representatives to talk shit about women. It is okay for women to shame other women because they were ‘asking for it’. It is okay for our media to go on air on national television and glorify the good girl wronged and doubt the one in a club. If that is okay, it is alright to have a sense of entitlement that lets us get away with rowdy guys because men will be men.

Very well.
Now we reach the end of the interview with one last question. What is your name?
Name,ethnicity,race,nationality,religion, ot does not matter.
Suffice it to say I am a woman.

@bewitchinglyme

Denigrating

A six month sentence is not enough.
A gentle sentence cannot be awarded just because Brock Turner is a man of potential.
That is as good as saying the victim is not.
The woman had aspirations of her own. A man’s future is not of more value than that of a women.
Both were bound to do better in life but for this.
But for the rape culture that exists.
That we teach our boys that denigrating women is okay and they shall always earn forgiveness.
When our swords leap in defence of our men while we shame the victim. We blame her.
Even in such a clear case of sexual assault on a drunk woman, Turner refuses to admit to guilt.
Probably because he believes it to be no big deal. So what if he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster?
Let us make sure he is portrayed as a man of infinite potential whose life ia ruined because of ‘twenty minutes of action’
Or because the victim was more drunk than him.
Or just because an unconscious woman was not resisting him, it was consensual.
Yeah right.
He says he was drunk.
How often we regret being drunk. But none of my drunk friends dragged women behind dumpsters and raped them.
If being drunk was an excuse, this world would be a more horrible place than it already is!
Drunk enough to be aware what he was doing, what he intended to do!
Or sober enough?
Sober enough to be in the constant consciousness of an unconscious woman that he could thrust himself on for instant gratification.
And yet,
Six months.
For ruining someone’s well being for as long as she lives. For filling her nights with dread of nightmares. For giving her the creeps when she wants to drink.

And the justice system failed us. It failed women. It told victims of sexual abuse that there was no hope for them and they can go to hell.
That men were entitled to ’20 minutes of action’.
That men with means could bring justice to their knees.

Irony

I am no expert on feministic theories that have progressed over the years but I am befuddled by its many ironies.

I speak of the irony.

In this largely patriarchal setup, those who have had to speak for the rights of women have often had to address their men who are in the possession of these rights so that they can cede with them willingly.

I speak of the irony.
That women who can afford to have their voices heard themselves differ on how a woman ought to command her just status.
In capitalistic developed economies, these women cannot be blamed if they neglect class struggle in relation to women. Women in poor developing societies are not aggressive about the high end demands made for diminishing the pay difference or equal representation of women in offices, committies or influential lobbying for the same.
I speak of the irony where we are at crossroads with one another and branded ‘fickle’.
And often we have to ask our men to respect women rather than asking our women to strive to command it. Because we are aware that a women’s revolution can not be instigated and there may not be a dominoe effect to events.
A long way to go still.