Old countries have old traditions, and traditions have a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect them to. But sometimes, we have to remember that these traditions need to evolve with time or they make life miserable. India is a country with a rich cultural heritage and traditions, which date back to a few centuries. Traditions which have shaped the way we eat, dress, pray or even interact with others. But what happens when these traditions become antediluvian and their existence slowly leaves you numb and gasping for air?
Lets take a small example- a lot of the cities in India have recently been in the news for not such wonderful things. Indian men seem to think that they own all women in India, even those visiting. Religious and political leaders have let us down on moral standards in way that has left even the callous, outraged and baffled. Rape. It is a word that leaves every person except the assailant in bewildered shock and disgust. To violate another human being in such a way not only reflects on the person themselves but also the culture in which they have been brought up.
Unfortunately, this behaviour is not limited to the underprivileged sections of society. It stems from the upper, privileged, literate sections of society. An older relative sexually harasses a younger one and it goes unnoticed. A professor sexually harasses the pupil and it goes unnoticed. Women are harassed everyday in the workplace, but they are told to keep their silence because the management would not only fire them but also make sure they don’t get a job anywhere else.
This is not culture. This is not tradition. This is not respect. This is vulgarity and oppression. Unfortunately, we bring this upon ourselves. Why are women ok with being mistreated? Why do we accept and choose our husbands dreams and not our own? Why are we ok with our boyfriends screaming at us or telling us we aren’t good enough? Why do we accept their apologies over and over again in the hopes that they will change? Why do we stop our daughters from going out at night or going out on a holiday with friends instead of telling our sons to behave? Time to wake up and smell the hard reality ladies- no one will stand up for your if you don’t.
Stop calling each other derogatory terms like “slut” and “whore”. It only makes it ok for men to call us that and treat us inferior. I’ve often heard that a woman is a woman’s worst enemy. I don’t want to believe that. I’ve grown up with beautiful, strong, independent women around me who have inspired me to fight for myself and what I believe in. Men who constantly put women down in the hopes that they might feel superior have surrounded me as well, but I choose to not be pulled down.
So you can either be the change you want to see or you can suffer in silence. Be it standing up to your boss, your husband, your boyfriend or even your parents. No one lives your life except you. Don’t lose yourself, fight.