was originally sitting on a hand railing. I didn’t have the balance to cross my legs, so my photographer had to physically pick up my leg and put it on top of the other one. Being flexible and having no balance is utterly useless 😂😂
Hi. I’m a teen. A Pakistani Muslim teen raised by Pakistani Muslim feminist parents. I am a Pakistani girl privileged enough to be born to a family that can afford to send me to an American school, and a family that believes their only daughter is worth a thousand sons. A few years ago, I realised there was a name for the notions I was raised with: feminism. I found feminism on the internet, in cheery pink-hued articles that told me I was beautiful, that I could do anything a man could do, that my body wasn’t something to be objectified.
And while these twee posts were enough to quench my thirst, in time I began to hunger for something more. I found essays on the evils of manspreading, mansplaining, and cis straight white men. This was feminism, then? The idea that men were in fact, inferior to women? I found this belief in webcomics, listicles, joke sites, even TV shows. In comment sections I watched battles unfold: how dare a man suggest these mentalities are toxic? How dare a woman agree with him?
On twitter I’d find women sharing anecdotes about Joe from work, who’d sit sprawled across his chair in a show of dominance, and how in doing that Joe was an oppressor. How the old white man across the street was probably a racist misogynist homophobic Nazi because he was white. How they were oppressed because the man in the meeting talked over them.
Here’s the thing about that. You are not silenced because a man dared to interrupt you. You are not objectified because a man had the audacity to hold a door open for you. You are not oppressed. You are not oppressed.
Spend a day with me. Walk the streets with me. I’ll show you what oppression is. It is a father forcing his daughter to cover her head, instilling in her a hatred for her religion. It is the teenage girl crying tears of mascara as she is escorted to her marriage and given into the hands of her betrothed. It is the transgender woman fearing for her safety because she lives in a country of homophobes.
Suppression is the woman whose husband forbids her from having a life outside her married one. Objectification is the girl sold as a sex slave because her family couldn’t pay their debts. It is not a man beating a woman in a foot race or performers at a strip show. Accompany me to rural Kashmir, where it’s commonplace for girls to be married off at ten, eleven years old. To the village from where our cleaner hails, where the bodies of young women wash up on the shores of the canal.
Talk about how Dave from IT mansplained programming to you to the women who never received an education because their fathers believed it unnecessary for them. Discuss internalised misogyny with the girl who has to listen to people telling her that her brothers are worth more than her. Please try. Debate the gender binary with my parents, who took years of garbage from relatives and friends on why they chose to have a single daughter.
Nobody forced you to get married at fourteen. Nobody told you that you weren’t worth sending to school because bearing children was all you were good for. You never saw the corpses of murdered girls floating in the canal. You are lucky enough to never have to experience that. You are not oppressed. This is not something to be ashamed of. Please be thankful for it. Please know that there are women in the world who would die to be where you are now. You are not oppressed.
Because look at you. You are educated, you were allowed to thrive, you can do what you like to do. Nobody views you as a unit. When you were born, they were just glad they had a baby; they didn’t care about your gender. Growing up, you had access to all the same privileges as boys. Don’t forget that.
I am not oppressed. I am educated in a country where 62% of illiterate children are girls. My father never forced me to cover my head, or stopped me from having friends of the opposite sex. My mother never told young tomboyish me to be more ladylike. I attend a private school, and I have a college fund. I am privileged, and I am not ashamed, but I want to help women in my country. I aim to be a politician or a journalist and use my platform to speak about women’s issues. Someday, I will make a change. And you can too.
Girls may float wreaths of flowers (often lit with candles) on rivers, and would attempt to gain foresight into their relationship fortunes from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river. Men may attempt to capture the wreaths, in the hope of capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath. (via Wikipedia)