A free bird in this wide world, chained with shackles.

Being a woman is amazing. You are graceful, beautiful and wonderful. At least that’s how I believe myself to be. A woman is someone who makes and breaks the world – without women, the earth would be a barren land with no sentiments. It’s said that God made women to give man accompaniment. I think God made women so that man could never match him in creating the most beautiful thing ever.

But, unfortunately, as much as I love being a woman, I am also very scared of this identity. I am scared because when I walk on the streets late at night, I feel that I am a woman. The gazes I see make me realize what my ‘constituents’ are and how vulnerable I might be in this world, if it decides to devour me.

I have always been upset about not getting the same ‘benefits’ in society like a man. After all, which woman wouldn’t want to walk on the streets alone, take a trip alone or just board any bus with only men on it without fearing for her ‘safety’? Safety, and honour. These are two words I despise the most. But after being brought up in a patriarchical society where not only men, but women also uphold  “honour” as the highest virtue, which, if taken away takes away everything from you – I have become conscious of the fact that I need to ‘save’ myself.

I see lecherous eyes, I lower mine. I hear lewd comments on my body, I shy away. As much as I claim myself to be a feminist, I feel ashamed of myself for not being able to stand up to three men in an alleyway who just asked me to sleep with them. Why? Because I know I am incapable of guarding myself against three men. I know I am weak. And it is this realization, every day, that makes me realize that whatever happens, even if I am educated and highly successful, at the end of the day, I am still a woman. A vulnerable woman.

So, who am I? A bird stuck in a golden cage? Sometimes I wish my parents had deprived me of education – education opened my eyes to the world and made me realize how inferior I actually am. Ignorance would have been bliss, rather than this cruel realization.

Recently, a woman got raped in a Uber cab in India. Women get sexually harassed at parties all the time in North America. And I am still to blame for it, because I was the one drunk and wearing short clothes. What about those women who still wear clothes and get stared and jeered at? Sometimes I feel walking without clothes is the best thing for women – give men what they want, in full view. If that’s what they want, let them get it. Because there is no point in campaigning for women’s rights when there isn’t any.

I recently saw a video which totally reiterated this irony of society.

I know I am a girl, but I am the one supposed to cry. A lot of people say nowadays that domestic violence is a thing of the past, but there are many women, even today, who don’t speak out against their husbands or boy friends. Why? Because they have been brought up by their parents to stick with their husbands through thick and thin, because leaving them causes shame in the society. After all, what will a woman do, staying single? What will happen to the children? Won’t they get the name of a father?

I am not against men. My father and brother are the two most progressive men I have ever seen. And I am fortunate to be with them. But I wish that when I get out into the world, every man out there could respect me the way my father does. Not talk to me and look at my breasts, but talk to me because what I say makes sense. Not sit with me to flirt with me and get me into bed, but sit beside me to share their thoughts.

I want men and women to walk hand in hand in society. I understand sex is a biological need – straight men do love women. Women also love men, but they don’t do what drunk (and sometimes completely sane), straight men do to an innocent woman walking on a street. Sometimes, one can learn from women. Do love what you love, but don’t take it out on the streets. If a woman says she doesn’t love you, or doesn’t reciprocate your love, don’t stalk her. If a woman wears what she wants to wear, look at her, but don’t make her regret for asserting herself.

I don’t know why I am blabbering all this when I know that I won’t be alive to see what I want to see. I just don’t want my daughter to go through what I went through. Because I know that when she will want to go out at 12 in the night to watch a movie, I will say no to her. I will have to restrict her, because I know the world is not safe for her. I will have to guard her as I know the world will not let her be who she wants to be.

I wish things would change. I wish things could change.

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