While skimming through tweets, I read one that posed this question: What do we fight for on International Women’s Day? Which issues should we focus on? What does it mean to be a woman?
It is officially International Women’s Day in my country. There will be a gathering of women, all sizes and shapes, all ages and races, different faces and names at the Central Market in KL. I think it’s going to be awesome, but I find myself wishing for more. More of what? What are the women in our country lacking?
I look around, and I see successful women; young women my age who are saving up money for houses and cars, women who have travelled around Asia, discovering new things and rejuvenating themselves. Young women who have great jobs and make their parents proud. Yet, many of us are still unhappy. Many of us talk about a better life, contributing to society, making Malaysia a better place but are unable to align our lives for these priorities.
I think we lack confidence in being ourselves. For too long, women all over the world have been told what to wear, how to dress, what to think, what to eat, what NOT to eat, what time to eat, where to go, what time is too late to be out, don’t abort babies because that’s killing a life and you’re not God. For too long, we’ve been conditioned to do, say and be certain things.
I don’t need fish scales on my lips to look pretty.
I don’t need black gunk on my lashes to look sexy.
We’re beautiful from the moment we wake up, on every new day. Beautiful with hope for the new, at peace with our bodies and in our minds. No longer do we need everyone us telling us that we’re too fat, too tall, too short, too broad, too curvy, too big because it’s really just too F-U-C-K-I-N-G bad. Not one of us is going to change to suit your needs.
I’ve got a rounded belly on a small frame, maybe you’ve got a few love handles around your hips. Let’s not cower in fear of the almighty Ideal and embrace our womanly curves. Your thighs are not fat, they’re full and jiggly. Your arms are not chubby, that’s what a woman’s arm looks like. Your ass does not look like a giant whale bum, it’s cute and looks great in your jeans.
How much longer should we allow a silly patriarchal system, a system in which the rules are made for men, by men, supported by men, infiltrated by men and prolonged by men, to dictate how we feel about ourselves?
Why don’t we just make new rules? Why don’t we pretend the rules don’t apply to us, and actually no wait, the rules DON’T apply to us. Why should I bow down to a system that celebrates violence and condones breaking the human spirit?NO. I shall not tolerate this any longer.
No longer are you going to blame us for tempting you with our womanhood, I think you should have more control over your testosterone-fuelled desires. I think we should meet halfway and come to a compromise. It cannot be okay that our sisters in the army and the ones caught in the crossfires of civil war become victims of rape. It cannot be okay that women farmers have less resources to seeds and tractors compared to their male counterparts. It cannot be okay that women are pressured to put the needs of their brothers above theirs in poor communities. It cannot be okay that some women are killed off before they even have a chance to live because a son is preferable to a daughter in some cultures.
It cannot be okay any longer. We must speak up when we see injustice and we must stand up for what we believe in. Change cannot happen without our collective voices, united in our unique bond of sisterhood.
I am so proud to be a woman because of all the amazing women that I know. I think the world is built on women’s love – for humanity, for nature, for our future generations, and for you and me.
Happy International Women’s Day everyone!