journey of a woman


Read about the hopelessness that resides in the heart of a Feminist constantly when no where is the place to go and every day looks like a doomsday. 


What is it like to be on a constant journey with pricks and thorns all over, no hope of it ever getting better and the need to go on. You can say that’s life but when those pricks and thorns are constantly thrown at you by the very own people you love and by random strangers this analogy becomes suited only for the life of a woman. So welcome to the portrait of a life where hope rarely visits and hopelessness never ceases to exist. 


Until now you might have taken this article to be ‘another feminist rant’ and before you close this tab please allow me to have my share of opinion, an opinion that will be heard and not scuffles under the burden of my gender. 


I guess everyone has a phase in their life when they take to some philosophy and become a hard core follower of it, so was mine with Stoicism until I discovered the hard core sexism of my favourite philosophers. I get it – they were way back in time, modernity did not exist and all those reasons but when will I get the space to actually vent my anger about why I won’t be able to see them as great men ever. No, I can’t read Neruda anymore with the same amount of zeal. For those statements never cease to exist, the gaze that man casts upon us is still the same. To face objectification on streets only to come back to books to find some resolve and face it again by “great” men of the century. 


The hopelessness spreads itself in my way when even a boy who is so many years younger than me eve teases me and a man who is with his daughter at the moment still dares to eve tease me. A simple walk even on the terrace of my own house is not peaceful. The ultimate need to always be on guard, to see if someone’s not following you, to share your location with family every time you step out, the discomfort of being watched every time is what defines my femininity and womanhood more than anything. All of this being encountered not by empathetic listening but rather by taunts of being a pseudo-feminist, feminazi and what not by the Not All Men brigade. 


A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself…. might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.

– John Berger, Ways of Seeing 


I don’t need the comforting sentences – “things are getting better” or “it’s a long road, change is slow”. For me the reality looks like – “You have faced sexual assault as a child and there is still so much high chance that you will face it again, multiple times”. Let alone be the fact of acknowledgement, these issues are dusted under the carpet. Who knows for how long will the women of this world carry the trauma of being themselves and still be called impulsive, emotional, too sensitive to lead their lives. 


The worst shock of being a woman struck when we ourselves were not aware about our very own issues, when a post on social media tells you what you faced was assault, harrasment and at times rape. I hate to recall all those moments when I have been terrible towards other women owing to my own negligence and the guilt keeps building up. The judgement on skirt’s length, our choice of hairstyle being deemed as ‘fashion parade’, just applying a lip balm to be seen as a sin and vilification of brave women are the conditionings of school that haunt me till date. 


The worst that stems are hypocrisies rooting in the feminist movement itself. ‘Deliberate ignorance towards issues of Dailt women and erasure of the Trans women’ can be a statement of truth but in actuality the narrative of the mainstream feminist movement is led by hegemony of caste, class and gender. The discussions happening around often do not even take into cognizance the experiences of these women whose voices are unheard, intentionally at times. 


Maybe out of this restlessness and the urge to find myself away from the male gaze, even if for a small amount of time I decided to choose an all Girl’s college for myself. And it is here only that I have realised the true meaning of Feminism, unlearning all past notions of bringing other women down and what not. Even when I have not been to college actually the people around me have made me realise what it is like to be at home when away from home. 


All I am asking is for you to not come with a plethora of reasons and excuses to not hear us. To say things will be alright at the end is not the suitable thing to say always for in our hearts we know that it won’t be but it is for other women the ones who will come along that we strive for. At times to counter hopelessness all you can do is to listen empathetically as a starter. 


Read Also: The “Bare Minimum” Feminists: Are They Enough? Barely


Kashish Shivani

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