It’s me. And no, it’s not the first time we are meeting. We have met before, except you didn’t quite notice I was here. I’ve always been right here, but you only saw me through your questionable, skewed perspective.
I am the daughter who you have pushed through school and tormented. I was told that I was too stupid, too lazy. And when I finally became a doctor or engineer or lawyer, you were not happy till I was married and had grandchildren. And here I am looking after my children, when you cry and said I have wasted all my talents – if only I had also given my career a shot.
I am the person you grab on the streets, on the buses. I am scared to go out without being surrounded by a horde of friends. And even then, protection is not guaranteed. I see your glances, hear you discussing my dimensions. No, it’s not attractive. It’s not funny when I take the long route home to avoid you. It’s not funny that I dig my fingernails into my hands. It’s not funny that I pray silently that I am not raped.
I am the friend who did your school notes, sat with you through all-nighters, proof-read your essays when you were dead tired. I am the person you’ve called when you were down. I am the girl you spoke to about your crushes and the times when she broke your heart and walked off. And then, as soon as I got to caring, you thought I became too needy, too desperate. That you never saw me that way. You tell me that I am only a friend, not womanly enough to be a girlfriend, a wife. And then you shun me, ignored me till you needed your ego boosted again.
I have been bullied about my weight since before I hit puberty. I have developed eating disorders, lost sleep over how I look in my navy blue and white school uniform. If I am fat or have short hair, I am a questionable tomboy. If I am slim and have long plaited hair, I am a sleaze. If I don’t wear makeup, you don’t take a second look at me. If I do, you leer at me, wondering whether you have a shot. Of course you do, because, let’s be honest, who can resist you?
If I am too intelligent, you don’t notice much beauty in my face. If I am too beautiful, you don’t think I am very brainy. If I disagree with you, (never mind that you are wrong, which you incidentally never are), I am not thoughtful, not analytical enough. If I don’t understand your brand of humour, it’s somehow my fault. The joke was not degrading, hurtful and downright disgusting – it’s simply that I am not open or smart enough to understand it.
If I am career-oriented, it’s just a farce. I can, of course, never be as good as you. If I am as successful, it’s because I was lucky, slept around, or am cold and ruthless. But not as capable as you, no. As your soulmate, my title and salary should always strategically be below yours – useful, but not threatening.
I am the person that has to be perfect at homekeeping. Cooking, cleaning and raising a family. If the floor is not clean, it’s my failure. If dinner is not on the table right after you come down from your warm shower – wait, is there ever a good reason that dinner is not on the table? It’s only reasonable that you come home and sit in front of the television sipping scotch – after all, you had as long a working day as I did. And since I’m the mother, if the kids go bad, it’s my fault. A poor mark on a test. A lie. A fight. All the values are imbibed from the mother. Somehow your responsibility ends with cuddling the child.
If we can afford that big screen TV, the car and the golfing, perhaps you don’t have taunt and tease me every time about that new dress or pair of shoes that I got for myself.
Oh and by the way, it’s okay if you’re short, fat and not very attractive. At fifty, after two kids, you tell me to lose weight. All the while balancing that glass of scotch on your stomach. I am not allowed to think about, let alone look, at other men – that makes me loose. But you can compare me to the film star half my age and with plastic surgery and tell me to take better care of myself.
It’s not amusing to say I am PMS-ing, no, truly it’s not. It’s not fine to say that I am insecure, when all I get from you is complaining and criticism. It’s not acceptable that your problems are our problems, and that mine are just a figment of my imagination or stress. I have down times, I get burnt out, I age too. I accept your inadequacies, your frailties – why do I have to continuously prove myself?
And when I threaten to leave or walk out, you say I am overreacting. That you love me, that I’m breaking your heart. Don’t I care? If you truly want to know, I did care. A lot. But I gave while you only took. Quite frankly, I am tired. All my life, I strive to be perfect, to make everybody happy and it drains me. I am never thanked, but rather as the days go by, I am taken more and more for granted. I am exhausted.
And one day I realise that you only ever loved yourself. It’s the one thing I have learnt from you and that I take from here. Maybe it’s time to love and live for myself for a bit. Maybe being selfish isn’t such a bad thing after all.
By Riddhi Sen
2013 Blog Writer for Change Tomorrow’s World & The Wonders of Womanhood
Edited by Wonders of Womanhood Team
At the Wonders of Womanhood, body image is an important concept – a healthy body image, one that recognizes that a woman’s self-worth should be defined by a strong personality and smarts, rather than dress size. The recent controversy of Victoria’s Secret (a company that sells lingerie items) pursuing a pre-teen audience has got us thinking about the important role companies play in the determine of our own self-worthy, and about the importance of society in taking a stand.
Check out the letter below, from a father of a young girl, who writes to Victoria’s Secret about his concern their new clothing line will have on her self-image and identification.
An open letter to Victoria’s Secret regarding their choice to make an underwear line aimed at young teenagers. (Read about it here)
Dear Victoria’s Secret,
I am a father of a three year old girl. She loves princesses, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins and drawing pictures for people. Her favorite foods are peanut butter and jelly, cheese and pistachios.
Even though she is only three, as a parent I have had those thoughts of my daughter growing up and not being the little girl she is now. It is true what they say about kids, they grow up fast. No matter how hard I try I know that she will not be the little ball of energy she is now; one day she will be a rebellious teenager that will more than likely think her dad is a total goof ball and would want to distance herself from my…
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Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is a day to celebrate the wonderful contribution that women make to our society.
Thank you to all the women who have changed my life: you have taught me that being strong and courageous are beautiful qualities to possess; that the greatest gift a mother can give her kids is her own time, knowledge, confidence; and that being a woman is hard work and underappreciated, but very rewarding.
And thank you to the men, who treat woman as equals, with respect and dignity; who recognize that beauty isn’t defined by dress size but rather by a vivacious personality; who recognize that being a feminist is a good thing when it promotes the equality of men and women; and who find an intense, courageous, strong woman attractive, rather than emasculating or threatening.
Happy International Women’s Day! Cheers to all the women who strive to be the best version of themselves that they can be, and to the men who support them!
The Wonders of Womahood
I recently attended a mooting (mock trial) competition where the top four student oral advocates from almost every school across the country gathered to compete in front of judges across the country. At this competition, I met some of the best and brightest law students, that served as a population sample of Canada’s law talented law students.
At the reception, I had the chance to look around the room and mingle with these delightful students.While there were plenty more women at the moot competition reception than what I usually see at law firm receptions, there were very few minorities – and even less female minorities. Frankly, I was sticking out like a sore thumb at the reception, and I’ve come to realize that was not a one-time occurrence. I always get this feeling – of not belonging, of being the odd “man” out – when I attend law firm receptions.
Law is still a boys club. The stereotypical idea the old, Caucasian man who serves as the head of the law firm is a stereotype that actually exists. And while there has been some progressive change in the legal field for women, I’m struggling to see minorities and female minorities, rising to the ranks in law. Most of the lawyers I see in large law firms are men. I’ve been told by student recruiters at Bay street law firms that being a woman in law isn’t easy. One recruiter told me, rather frankly, that every child a female lawyer has puts her off the track to making partner at the firm by three years. Can you imagine? You return from having a kid after 6 months of maternity leave to be pushed back three years! I want to believe it’s because law is so fast-paced and ever-changing, but lets face it – I’m still quoting English law from the Privy Council from the early 1900s. It’s really quite astounding that 6 months maternity makes you, in the eyes of the law firm, less qualified to be a partner by three years.
Much of the discrimination is inherent in the legal justice system. It stems from “old school” judges or senior partners that aren’t used to having women in court, to the challenge with being accepted into law school as a minority student. At the last mooting competition I was involved in, a male judge told a female mooter on my team that she came across too severe, and told the female competition that he liked that she smiled and “was charming”. While the advice was well-intentioned, no male mooter received any comments about being too severe. Male mooters are never told that they were too aggressive, that they don’t smile enough, or that they aren’t charming enough. It’s okay for men to be that way, but not for females.
A different kind of woman…
We youth know the internet as a big place, where a lot of people feel okay about tormenting and hurting others behind the protection of the sterile glare of their computer screens.
But Balpreet Kaur, a neuroscience major and baptized Sikh woman, is showing us all, through courage and eloquence, that educating others can be the antidote to ignorance, hate, and unkindness.
Check it out:
A young Sikh woman — whose photo was taken at an airport, posted online, and then ridiculed by hundreds — is being hailed across the web today after defending herself so eloquently that her original tormenter felt compelled to apologize to all Sikhs everywhere.
Please see the full CBC news article, written by Lauren O’Neil, here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/09/bearded-sikh-woman-teaches-reddit-a-lesson.html
Is it just me, or is it tough to find a good guy, now-a-days? I mean, maybe its just me, but whenever I start thinking about my future, I get this nagging feeling. Any thoughts of marriage end up involving a very handsome groom with a blurred face. When will that face crystallize?! I’m finding as I get older, and transitioning out of school, that it is becoming harder and harder to find a guy I can date longer than a year, let alone find “the one”. I feel like I might end up dragging, or worse, being dragged, to the altar.
So this post ends up being about finding “the one” – less about deciphering who is the one, and actually determining where the hell you can even find him – or his friend, brother, cousin, relative, etc.
One really important thing to remember is that, although it’s really hard, you have to put yourself out there. You have to be confident – you have to remember you are incredible, and interesting, and unique, and you need to have a thick skin and not be afraid of a little rejection.
Once you got your confidence on high blast, lit with neon signs and decked out in glitter, time to go fishing!
Take Advantage of School: School presents a wonderful opportunity to meet people. Between classes, clubs and extra-curricular activities, the potential to meet people are endless! Plus, school allows you to connect with specific groups or types of people – you can join a club that contains people you would be interested in, whether its meeting an adventurous person in the sky-diving club, or someone of your own ethnic background. Put yourself out there!
Ask a Friend to Set You Up: Your friends know you best, and they may have someone special in mind for you, based on the intimate relationships they share with their other friends. What could be the harm of getting their advice or trying a couple blind dates?
Be Careful About Dating in the Workplace: It’s easy to meet people at work, but harder to get rid of them from your life if the relationship goes south. Be as close to 100% sure before you pursue a workplace relationship.
Go to the right places to find the right type of man: What type of guy do you want? Maybe someone who likes to drink and have a good time? Take your girlfriends and go out to the local bar. Looking for someone more low-key and philosophical? Try checking out the art gallery or the spoken word contest or book reading at a local cafe. In other words, go to the right place to find the right guy for you. It always surprises me when my girlfriends go to a bar, come home with someone they later realize is not compatible with them, and then stare at me baffled. Choose the right location to find the right person. Common interests in location lead to common interests in relationships.
Know What You Want and Don’t Settle for Less: You may meet a lot of duds before the right one comes along. A lot of women don’t realize that the inability to know what they want is the direct reason they can’t select the right guy for them. For some people, it’s a process of elimination – each new (and failed) relationship teaches them what they are or aren’t looking for in the final selection. But for others, it’s about indecision – about not knowing within what you want, or knowing that you are good enough to deserve what you want, and thus, finding the right person seems like an insurmountable challenge. You have to know yourself – and be confident enough in yourself to recognize that you are good enough for the best person for you. You should never settle for less than what makes you really happy – you should love yourself enough to recognize that it is better to be alone, then be with someone else and unhappy.
Other thoughts on how/where to find the right guy? Share them with us!
~ The Wonders of Womanhood