Let us start by hitting a pause.
A pause on the wave of delusion that somewhere out there exists a place where women are treated, respected and acknowledged in the likes of a man. Born in Sri Lanka, studied in England and living in France, I am nowhere close to such paradise but the optimist in me keeps searching. Discomforting as it is, lately I catch myself wondering if #Society is cornering me to reconcile with the unavoidable truth that equality for women is only a comforting thought than a missing reality.
I live in a world where a feminist is branded as an ugly attention seeker in an otherwise beautifully skinny world. A world where women’s rights is a farfetched ideology for the average bored housewife. She is feisty, hysterical and, above all, ungrateful. How dare she ask for equal pay and benefits and the nerve of her to demand her fair take in politics! So what if there is a 20% gap between the salaries paid to men and woman of the exact job title? She is getting something, after all, so why all the whining?
Indeed, the truth is stranger than fiction. Be it in the far corners of Asia or the sophisticated centres of Europe, the voice of women falls on deaf ears. In the chaos of everyday life, the rights of women are forgotten and thus she is forever victimised. Bride kidnapping is a common practice in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan while bride burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in many parts of India, so common, that it barely makes into the news. In other parts of the world like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, honour killing is an every other household occurrence with over 5000 reported killings per year.
If freedom is the price that all men pay, what is it that women hasn’t done to gain theirs? What is the ultimate price we need to pay before we can walk in the streets without having the constant trepidation to look over our shoulder? How is it her sweat is less worthy and easily shed than his? What is it that the woman does wrong that men do right for him to be respected and acknowledged but for her to be not offered the same courtesy. Is common ground of mutual respect and acknowledgement too much to ask because I bet you to my last dollar I am willing to pay it. If not for me then for my unborn daughter.
I do not look forward to striking the fear of god into her about walking home alone through that deserted park simply because it's so much closer. I do not look forward to teaching her that no matter how hard she tries in life her little life can never be as important and as valued as that of a man and I do not look forward to telling her that men should be feared and looked upon with eternal apprehension. I do not look forward to breaking down to her the that the world I brought her into is dangerous, unjust and unkind and she could easily be one of the 70 000 to be snatched away. I do not look forward to introducing her to a world where honour killing and female genital mutilation is an everyday story she should get used to hearing. I do not look forward to any of this. Not one least bit.
I am no active feminist.
My mission in life is not to rally against men seeking for dominence.
I am just another ordinary girl in search of an ordinary life horrified at the thought that this message will be lost admit the thousands of others forever in search of the Holy Grail that is the freedom to be a woman.
I am just one more silent voice, hopeful to be heard.