As a female, I am expected to be able to hold down a household. I am expected to provide 3x meals a day and I am expected to serve people. I am expected to be educated, but my priority should not be a career over having a family. I am expected to marry and sacrifice my whole life and learn to adjust. I am expected to give a mile but without ever expecting an inch in return.
I am nurtured with an instilled mentality that a male’s perspective will hold more authority over my own. I am nurtured to believe that a male gets the final say, that I must ignore blatant ignorance and have respect. I must turn a blind eye to cheating, alcoholism, domestic violence, psychological abuse, borderline slavery, rape & I must accept that “It’s just the way that it is.” That the community around a woman, will always have a voice more powerful than the hurt a woman will face in her home.
I must understand that respect starts in a home & disrespect reflects on my parents. That I should “act properly,” like a woman should. That having fat on my body makes me less attractive. That having an illness makes me weak. That I should dress properly, because showing skin means attracting attention. That drinking is for men and “looks bad” on women. I am expected to know how to cook and do all the chores, otherwise it means I am not “trained” for marriage. I am not expected to be tired after working the same 9-5 shift as a man, because life continues at home. I must know that my husband makes the final choices about our future; houses, cars and finances.
I am expected to have a baby boy because boys are strength. I am expected to fall pregnant without complication. I am expected to know that being pregnant outside of marriage is shame. I am expected to have a newborn and listen to everyone’s opinion and to bring a child up “the way they did,” because it worked for them. I am expected to shave my child’s hair (boy or girl) at 1 years old, because it has been done for hundreds of years. I am seen as disrespectful for choosing my child’s name outside of a religious book. I am seen as “doing it wrong” if I do not have the letter selected, because what shame will it bring.
I am expected to know and adhere to the invisible timelines of generations of communities. I must have graduated by 21, have a career by 25 and god forbid, I must be married by 30 otherwise I will miss my fertile window. I am expected to answer when they ask “When will you have a baby?” 6 weeks after marriage. I am expected to be polite and reply, even if complications break my heart like IVF. I am expected to have my life together so that I appear educated and “put together,” so that people will have something good to talk about in religious environments, where gossip is taken as gospel.
I am expected to be a “yes” girl. I am expected to speak only when I am spoken to. I am expected to care about everyone else’s opinion before my own. I am expected to know that calling out behaviours that are clearly wrong, will be seen as disrespectful to my elders. I am expected to turn a blind eye to grown men that are anything but the epitome of a man. I am expected to compromise without a mutual agreement. I am expected to have a religion, but also to adhere to all the rules and regulations of a community outside of that. I’m expected to understand that, “what will they say,” will be imposed like a law on my life.
I am expected to give a shit about all the things that matter the least to me. Everyone has their own ideologies of how life should be, and despite what “people say,” it is not disrespectful to have a different opinion, different approach or a different lifestyle choice. There are amazing, strong and independent women who bring children up alone. There are women in high positions of power, making themselves the breadwinners of their homes. Women that make a choice to leave home where there is a blatant disregard to their feelings and potential.
Brave women that challenge the ideas of the "old school" mentality, championing a mindset that their daughters can set out to do everything that a man ever could.
It is not about one gender feeling more superior than the other, but that both genders should be given an equal chance to thrive.
Shouldn’t we aim to bring up kind, clean-hearted and fair human beings? Shouldn’t we move with the times and adjust our mentalities, so that the negative experiences of millions of women are finally put to bed? Why let history repeat when the history itself has left generations of trauma?
There is so much power in the choices we make. As a woman I decide, not me. Not today. Not ever.
(Written on behalf of all the women that were unable to make a choice & find themselves stuck in situations with no hope. You are stronger than you know).