If you know me, you will know that I hate weddings and don’t understand why people get married in this day and age. I could go on for hours about marriage, but yesterday, I forgot about all that and attended a wedding of a classmate. I hate admitting this sort of this but I am glad I went. The wedding was wonderful and I got to spend time with classmates I hadn’t seen since we left school in 2012.
Excuse any incorrect words used in this paragraph but I’m not familiar with what’s what in a church. The service was held in a beautiful church and the sermon was quite good and pretty funny. But then he said something like, “*bride’s name* you have to now be a mother to your husband.” And I thought, “no, fuck that shit.”
If you are a woman, you will be all too familiar with your lifelong role as a caretaker of men. From your father to brothers to husband to sons to grandsons, a woman is expected to take care of the men in her life.
Women aren’t taught (mostly by their own mothers) to cook for self-survival. Oh no, women who cook the most delicious meals go to bed hungry because of stupid cultural norms where the men of the family eat first or get the lion’s share. Women are taught to cook, wash clothes, and keep a house clean and whatnot just so they can do a good job as housekeeper when they get married.
Whenever people ask me why I am so against getting married, I go with one of two answers. The first is a lack of faith in people and commitment and the other is the fact that I don’t want to fit into society’s mould of The Good Wife.
I come from a family of independent women. This is not exactly by choice. Well, in a way, it was by choice. The choice of men to be complete shitshows. Except for my great grandmother who lost her husband when she was still quite young, my grandmother and mother took over things without letting men ruin their lives or force them to a standstill.
So I grew up seeing how my mother could still stand tall despite everything crashing to the ground in her life because she had a house of her own. She didn’t have to bother about rent or finding a roof for her kids. She wasn’t homeless when her marriage didn’t work out.
When people talk about men not letting their women work, my mother continues to work. My grandmother worked. My grandmother’s best friend is one of the most independent women I know. My grandmother’s sister lives by herself and worked until very recently.
The women in my life are strong and independent. They taught me that life isn’t easy but that you need to be strong enough to not let anyone or anything crush you. They taught me that you can only really truly trust and depend on yourself. They taught me that anyone else, family, friends, can and will betray or take advantage of you.
Growing up with such women, I never saw a need for a husband. And society has changed. Relationships have changed. Commitment has been challenged.
And the place of women in society has changed. Yesterday, at my classmate’s wedding, all the friends I met had jobs. Women earn their own money now. We are financially independent.
I take cabs by myself at night. I can walk into a bar and order a drink if I want to. If I feel like I need a smoke, I can light one up. I can sleep with a man I’m not married to if I want to.
And this is thanks to feminism. There are women in politics. Women climbing up the corporate ladder. Women living a life independent of men. Women bringing up kids by themselves. People have fought so hard just so we don’t have to stay locked up in our houses, living off whatever our men hand us. We don’t have to think our lives revolve around men, have babies we don’t want or get into marriages we don’t want to be in.
And I’m sure you are already thinking, “What kinds of a bubble does this nutcase live in?”
Let’s get to the dirty deets now.
I am 24 years old. When I travel by bus or train, my entire body freezes when a man sits or stands near me. When a man offers to take my bag (if I’m standing) or does anything nice, I worry that he has ulterior motives. When I take cabs back home, whether it’s at 11am, 4pm or 10pm, I am worried sick that something terrible will happen.
At work, I keep getting emails addressed as ‘dear sir’. Once I got a call regarding an article and the caller kept asking for ‘Mr Wickrama Adittiya’.
When I walk on the road, I have my resting bitch face on. I am always aware of my surroundings and the people close to me.
I live in constant fear. Why? Because I was born a woman in a world that thinks of women as plastic blow up dolls that are there solely for the pleasure of men. We go from taking care of the men in our lives to being ogled and catcalled on the road to be harassed in public transport or in our workplace. We are treated like shit and are then blamed for existing.
It’s always the woman’s fault. Society functions like a bullock cart. The man whips the ox until it can’t carry the weight anymore. It stops moving or it crashes to the ground. The man gets off the cart, curses the exhausted animal and blames it for being weak, being born to this fate, or asking for it by choosing this path in life.
And I’m sick of this. I’ve been sick of this for a long time. I’ve been sick of this even before I understood what sex was. Since I was a kid, society made sure I knew I was not just different to men but inferior to them.
So whenever I hear people say “fuck feminism” or “god, these feminist”, I fear for the future. I fear for my future. Because we always have hope that things will get better and the thought that it could get worse is terrifying. I want to live in a world where my gender isn’t a reason for people to treat me like shit, and if this means that you can’t make sexist jokes because “all these snowflakes get so offended” so be it.