By Priya Arunkumar
“You are a feminist, aren’t you? He smirked.
Et tu brute, I silently thought as I looked at my childhood pal, who used to bully me at every given opportunity. No, why do you say that, I queried. “Well, long back when you joined us in school, I knew that you will grow up into an aggressive woman,” he laughed.
Media depiction of a feminist
This was coming from a big bully (not now though, as he is a father of two beautiful girls, whom he grew up well) at school then. So again I asked, why do you think I am feminist? “Why? You have short hair, that too, a ‘boy cut’ and you wear pants.” So he is right. I am a ‘feminist’ – because that is the media depiction of a feminist. Short-haired girl, wearing pants. I fit the description. It fits, so therefore I am.
Laughed at his reasoning
But his so-called reasoning is ridiculous. This is the same boy, who used to bully us, pull our ponytails, trip and even beat some of the girls. Of course, that was just a period. For, as he grew up, he changed and we became friends.
People are just judgmental
But, I wondered: how easily you get judged by even close friends with whom you literally grew up.And it is not just him — there are quite a lot of them out there, men and women who think women who sport short hair and wear pants are feminists; and are aggressive. What do you tell them?
Actually, nothing. If I tell them that I am merely exercising my personal freedom to choose a hairstyle, I become a feminist. But I am neither a feminist nor an activist. I don’t believe in equality. None of us are born equal, physically or intellectually or even made equal, then why fight for equality?
Maybe I am a feminist
But he is a school pal, so I tried to explain, remember I was sick; I had surgeries and hospitalisations? They shaved off my hair and it was easier to sport shorter hair. I did grow my hair back a few years; today, it is just a matter of convenience for me. Why do I wear pants? Again it is convenience and easy on work.“You mean to say our grandmothers and mothers did not have work?” He was genuinely unconvinced. So what to say? Maybe I am a feminist!
Mother doesn’t have a ‘boy’ cut
“She is her daddy’s girl, gets away with everything. She gets to do everything her way, argumentative and throws tantrums like ‘boys’ and even walks out in anger; she never compromises, she forgets she is a girl.”This comes from my mother, who is the first woman in my life.
Who has never compromised in her entire life!
Who, with a look, still silences all of us.
And the only woman, I look up to until now.
Every single thing I know as a woman, I know from her.
And no, she doesn’t have short ‘boy cut’ hair and she never wears pants.
Equal to 10 women
“You are equal to 10 men for me!” I frowned. That is definitely not a compliment.“It’s a compliment, don’t frown,” my mentor, my first boss in Oman insisted stating he has seen more of the world and people in his 70-plus years. I quietly mumbled, I would prefer you saying I am equal to 10 women! He just smiled and said, “So be it, if that makes you happy, but learn to take a compliment without arguments”.
Just want to be accepted
I think every woman out there just want to be a normal woman. Not a leader. Not a victim. Not a survivor. Not a feminist. Not an activist. Not a hero. Not an equal. Just accepted. As they are. As we are.