How to be a woman in a man’s world?
At age 5, they told me how to sit, eat, dress, stand and how not to interact with older men. Men that were of the same age as my father and uncles. How not to come out of my room when my dad was having one of his guy friends over for a drink. How not to pass a smile to a strange man while crossing the road. How not to be a five year old.
At age 12, they told me how to fold my napkins, how to get the creases out of my skirt, how to not dance without wearing tights no matter how uncomfortable I got. How to bow down but not while wearing a low neck top. How to not let my skirt get above my knees because there are bad men in this world who not only enjoy looking at a little girls’ knees but also like to tear her childhood apart along with that skirt.
At age 15, I got familiar with the words rape and sexual assault and I knew they were frowned upon because my mother would change the news channel as soon as those words came up. I knew there was something bad going on this world. But what? Nobody would tell me. Because the doers were the men and the mouths of the women in this world were shut tight by those men. Nobody would tell me what happened to that little girl in a small village and how she died and why were all the people blaming her dad for her death. My mother would tell me she got sick, very sick. I wish she would’ve told me the truth. I wish she would’ve told me its the people who’re sick and how sick this patriarchal society really is and how keeping your mouth shut only gives power to those who do this. I wish she would’ve told me to speak out loud.
At age 21, I am told that I am supposed to remain pure for my husband. Pure being the word used to cover up the actual term here because saying things as they are, Indians don’t do that. I am supposed to save myself for my husband. Yes, so that he can claim me and destroy me and the society would be okay as long as he is my husband. Though I am an adult, I am told not to party out along with my friends late at night because apparently moving my body to a funky tune determines my character. The same character that I am supposed to keep tact for the guy who gropes girls like me while dancing. No matter how educated or well read I might be, at the end of the day judging me and my character comes down to this.
The greatest threat to a man would be an ego bruise or a heart attack, but do you know what the greatest threat to a woman is? The men she lives in this world with.
And people still question the existence of the word feminism.
You ask me how do we live in this male-dominated world?
We barely survive.
Artwork : LÜTFİYE KÖSTEN