I am a Woman. I am a Feminist.

 

I am a feminist and a woman.

I am a feminist.

I am surrounded by strong women. I revel in their company – peers, mentors, sisters, family. They inspire my strength. I have been blessed to grow up with parents who did not place me in traditional gender roles, and for better or worse I am 21 and still do not know how to cook. They let me question the injustices of the sex-gender and work with me through my concerns. They have proudly fostered my feminist identity. I constantly question tradition, the norm, the inherent inequality between men and women, and the socialization that women and men are subjected to when fulfilling their gender roles.

And yet, I have come to realize that there are many women who have another kind of relationship with their gender position – a role that I believe should have been left in the 60s.

I am not a feminist. I am just a woman.

People frown upon women who classify themselves as a “feminist” — including other women. But why? Many women have come to foster a submissive relationship with their gender identity. They expect to be taken care of. They go to college for the sake of societal norm, but are more than happy to abandon all personal dreams to become a housewife. And marriage, of course, is of upmost concern.

This need to to feel wanted is toxic. Many women are okay with going to bars and never having to pay for a drink because they know they are a woman and that if they act, dress and flirt a certain way – objectify themselves – they won’t have to pay for anything the whole night. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with working the system, but there is something wrong in never questioning the assumptions we are socialized to have about the unequal and often unjustifiable roles of men and women.

It is OK to be that feminist.

Feminist Identity and Gender RelationshipsI am increasingly learning about the power of feminist resistance to traditional gender roles and I am trying to find ways to impart the minimal knowledge I have to empower whoever I can. Perhaps writing is one way, or embodying my views by the way I act, or always being willing to discuss the struggles of occupying the position of “woman.” Being that feminist comes with its own stereotypes and assumptions, but sometimes being the annoying woman in the room who corrects others when they say “you guys,” or “dude” or “bitch,” is worth it. Each of these phrases and so many more has an arguably violent and degrading history. Sometimes, paying for your own drink is better than assuming everything will be taken care of. Sometimes, saying no to cooking for the night can be the most significant act of resistance. Women are half the world’s population. We give life, and thus we need to start respecting the value of our own selves.

Let out your inner feminist.

To my sisters:  See your own light, your own self-worth, independently of the approval of any man, parent, sibling, teacher or friend. We are individuals. We must realize that equality of humans is a beautiful thing. We cannot let what society has socialized into your psyche be the end of your self-exploration – we must resist, change, fight. For yourself and for your sisters.

2 Comments

  • Radha says:

    Girls need to buckle down and understand they don’t need taking care of.

  • A. Singh says:

    The problem that I perceive with the Sikh community is the skewed balance between the two genders and Sikhi. Currently, the structure that our parents/community has put into place is not working at all, let me explain. Sikh boys are expected to keep hair and wear a patka/dastar from a young age, they are not given a choice. Sikh females are not expected to do anything in terms of the hair aspect of Sikhi, Sikh parents don’t even bother to cover their daughters head. This leads to friction in the Sikh community and the importance of the males hair over the females. Guru Ji gave us Sikhs an identity, so that society could distinguish a Sikh from a non-Sikh. I’ve met Sikh girls that I didn’t even know were Sikh until they told me their name, I had assumed they were Hindu or Middle Eastern, is this the Sikh identity? Furthermore, too many Sikh men are forced to keep dastars by their parents/community to fulfill a longstanding tradition, so it is no surprise that people are having psychological problems due to doing something they don’t want to. The majority of SIkh females have haircuts and very few are expected to keep their hair and wear a dastar, they have more of a choice with their hair. If you ever meet a Sikh girl that wears a dastar, it is often by her own personal choice than her parents or the communities pressure. The problem is we are not giving our Sikh males the choice that the females have. We are being selfish. Keeping hair/dastars on one gender while the other gender cuts and shaves their hair away is futile. The future will see young Sikh men with dastars but they females will be haircut and shaved, what kind of Sikhi is that. White Sikhs follow Sikhi 100 percent and expect both their sons and daughters to fulfill the khes and dastar part of Sikhi, it is not just a guy thing.

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