Womanhood in 2018

A few days back I had started a photo-series where women spoke about what it is to be a woman in today’s day and age. Is it inconvenient as many would say? Is it empowering? Is it tiring? Is it confusing? Well, womanhood cannot be boxed into any definition because the expressions of womanhood are infinite. Through this photo-series I aim to tap into those infinite expressions and discover how a woman in 2018 perceives the idea of being a woman and womanhood as a whole.

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Part II

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Nandana James, 21.

It’s a rather strange time to be a woman. While feminist discussions and assertions are abound, instances of sexism are just as rife. Seems like the wrath of patriarchy is going to linger around, but fortunately, people are willing these days to engage in pertinent discussions.

dsc_001511388637.jpgNandana is a journalism student.

 

Shubhita Chawla, 22.

I’ve come to the realization that being a woman comes with its own set of responsibilities- To help other women grow, to be a good human first, to have the strength to follow your dreams through to name a few. There are so many facets to our being. Mothers, sisters, wives, caregivers, goddess, we can choose to be one, or choose to be all of them. But our biggest responsibility is towards ourselves. To love our flaws and overlook our insecurities. To embrace our vulnerabilities and to flaunt our scars with pride.

 Shubhita is an aspiring media professional.

 

The perception of ‘womanhood’ in today’s day and age can be different to different women. In the upcoming blogs I will bring out more such descriptions about how the woman of 2018 perceives womanhood.

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What It Means To Be A Woman

On the 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day, like we do every year. In college, me and all the other girls in my class were given a packet of chilli power with a message that said, “Spice up the eyes of all those words dare harass you.” Looking at that packet one couldn’t help but think that we live in a society where we actually might have to use this on someone one day or another. We live in a world where some women are still not allowed to venture outside without a male companion by their side. A world that sometimes looks down on you for taking certain decisions or living a certain way of you are a woman. But on other hand, we now live in a world where women are CEOs of muti-nationals and Vice Chancellors of countries. The same world that thought women were incompetent to drive (Read UAE), now thinks we deserve the right to drive if we choose to.

Being a woman in today’s world is a complicated affair. We are constantly processing threats and looking at infinite opportunities all at the same time. It’s not all great for us out in the world, but it’s not all that bad either.

So what exactly does it mean to be a woman in 2018?

I asked a few women and this is what they had to say.

And I’d like to present it to you in a three part photo-series.

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PART I

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Zoya Mateen, 22.

For me, womanhood is simply the art of becoming. It’s an inward journey rather than an outward one. I choose to give very little, or perhaps no importance to what someone might choose to identify me as. Sometimes a Muslim, sometimes a woman, the daunting expectations that come when you combine the two. Add a dash of modernity and a spoonful of arbitrary judgements on what I wear what I eat say or think and I already feel like I’m going crazy!
So no. I refuse to listen to them. I refuse to let them choose for me. My battle is within me.

I’m proud of who I am. my gender, faith or thinking have very little role to play individually in making me feel like that. Womanhood for me is this act of faith in yourself. For whoever I am and whatever I can be. I have the strength to accept myself and in the process learn, learn and keep learning

dsc_0061228821267.jpg Zoya is an artist.

Prashasti Awasthi, 21.

Being a woman is a tiring job especially when you advocate feminism. One is always misunderstood.
Having said that I can’t trade being a woman with anything else. It is the most powerful and amazing feeling. We are endowed with the quality of a nurturer and an empath. I cherish it as much as I cherish my physical growth.
I feel fortunate to be chosen to be a woman.

dsc_0047714435329.jpg Prashasti is a war journalist in the making.

 

 

Well, one thing we can agree on is that ‘womanhood’ cannot be defined. It can be perhaps be perceived in different ways by different people. In the upcoming days I will be showcasing more such women sharing their perceptions on womanhood, and what it is to be a woman in 2018. Stay tuned!

 

Dreamcatchers 

They say dream catchers keep away the bad dreams.

The nightmares that don’t let you sleep. Leave you twisting in fright.

But what about the nightmares you live everyday.

No, not the ones that lurk in the darkness, hidden below your pillows.

The ones that stare at you in the eye in broad daylight.

Like the time you were called a randi for wearing shorts on the streets.

When unknown fingers traced their way along your thighs.

When they tried to pry them open by force.

Or how about the time, when you were denied that promotion because you had a vagina.

How they squeezed every last bit of life out of you, but stole your reward.

How they snatched your dreams and trampled on it.

Or wait.

How about the time your uncle PLAYED with you, when you were too young to understand?

And the shame, the guilt and the anger that followed, all the years after!

That once when you were marked unclean, because obviously God didn’t like bleeding women.

All the times you were taken for granted. Your voice shut out.

The days when your boyfriend thought it’s okay to vent out on you. Just, leave a mark or two. After all, you could just cover it with a little foundation here and concealer there.

Or that time, when your husband raped you and everyone you told thought it’s OK.

What about these nightmares?

What about the false promises and hurtful words?

What about the scars that they left on your skin, reminding you of your helplessness?

Will the dream catcher take them away too?

Will it?

Eqality . Not feminism !

It’s the age of woman power . I think it began somewhere between Margaret Thatcher’s iron hand and Beyonce’s ‘We run the world’ .

After suffering for ages , We the weaker sex , decided to overthrow the social norms . We decided to demand what was rightfully ours . And Man , did we succeed !

We can now choose to be whatever we want . Scientists , Astronauts , Doctors , Writers or even Wrestlers . Gone are the days when we needed permission and approval from the men . We are the mistresses of our will .

It went quite well for a while . But like all great things , the sense governing “Feminism” also seems to have come to an end .

Kim kardashian recently said that posting nude selfies is “empowering” to womankind . I think this is where I jump in and say “Lord ! What has the world come to ? ” .

Some feminists nowadays make no sense and others ,try and make sense out of nothing.

What started out as gender equality ,has now turned into more of a power struggle between men and women .

Feminists insist of overpowering males rather than being accomplished Females !

They argue and strain themselves to prove themselves to be better than the Masculine half of the world .

They will cling on to any ridiculous idea as long as they have the upper hand in it .

What we need to understand is that men and women need each other . There’s a reason why we have coexisted for thousands of years . If infact we did not need each other , the weaker sex would have been wiped out ages ago ! But that’s not the case now , is it ?

True feminism lies in what , each of us as women achieve in our lives ; not in false advocacy of “women’s rights ” and certainly not in imposing obnoxious views on men .

Today we definitely have more freedom than we did 50 years back . Yet we complain of “rights” that we don’t have . We complain of “injustice ” . Why ?
How many of us , who claim ourselves to be feminists , have made use of the power we already have , to do something worthwhile ?

We need to stop bickering and show our power through actions . It’s time “feminists” behave as sensible humans first . It’s time we change the world one day at a time instead of just being the hallmarks of “selfies -with powerful woman quotes ” . And I plead women everywhere to take a Feminist role model who has actual balls unlike Kim kardashian ! (You get the drift ? ) .

It’s time we become amazing Women and not just bull-headed feminists .

Work ,Work ,Work !

I apologise if the title was  misleading , No , this is not about Rihanna’s new song !

This is about something that can make us cringe on a lazy day and  can even  steal a smile ! Well , I’m talking about hard-work .

Since the beginning of age , man has tried to make his life simpler . Hard-work has always been something that’s a little too difficult for him to digest .

The world today markets “The easy way out ” . Come to us they say , And you won’t have to chose between a slice of pizza ,and an hour at the gym . Come to us and , we will give you all the success you could wish for . Shortcuts are “In” .

Everyone wants results without efforts . Results without consequences to their half willed actions . We tend to appreciate instant gratification rather than long standing gains .
We expect to maintain unrealistic standards with little or no effort to achieve them .
We are surrounded by people who have no interest in telling you the truth of what goes behind the making of a dream . All they do is sell you the false idea , that you can have everything you wish for , within the blink of an eye .
And the sad part is too many of us have bought that idea .

We are seeing an increase in the ‘suicides’ , ‘divorces’ , ‘murders’, ‘rape’ . They might all seem completely different from each other , but they share the same conscience . Of Neglect , Apathy and Surrender . Of utter defeat and hopelessness .
Think about it , a couple that was married for 2 years decides to part ways on grounds of “incorrigible differences ” .
A girl who has failed her entrance test three consecutive times , decides that death would be a better option than facing defeat again .
A rapist let’s insatiable lustful desires to take control and gives in .A murder might imagine that , to take someone’s life is a necessity , that there is no other option apart from that !

Why did these people do what they did ?
One simple answer would be , they failed to work it out . They thought life would be a piece of cake , but Oh Boy , were they wrong !

It takes effort and energy to do anything at all ; Be it excelling at academics , getting that beach body you always wanted , Getting over that girlfriend who cheated on you (oh that just drains you, of life ! ) , Maintaining relations with your parents  or Attaining spiritual enlightenment .

Giving up always seems like a easier and pleasant option , but struggling through it all and persevering is the undermined winner always !

You have to fight no matter how hard it might get .
You have to aspire to be better everyday . You have to toil , sweat and work every muscle to get what you want without giving in .
Shortcuts might take you places , but at what cost ?
Easy might sound nice , but is it potent ?
These are questions you have to ask yourself .
And it’s rightly said , “If it’s easy , it probably ain’t right ! ”
Which runs true on most accounts .

So don’t be afraid of “work” ! Embrace the pain and discomfort . And time will surely bring you lasting and beautiful results .