When I chose to write something related to my gender, I immediately felt the eye-roll of several friends, family members, and acquaintances. I could even hear my inner voice going “here you go again, making a mountain out of a molehill”, and to counter every one of those voices I forced myself to write about my gender.
For a week, I wrote random notes on my phone about potential ways I could approach this topic. Sadly, the problem was never to think about a specific instance to write about; the problem was to choose an instance to write about. Which instance would be enough, but not too much?
Enough, but not too much. Is that not what I felt like as a woman? My cleavage is too much. The food on my plate is more than enough. My height is not enough. This whining might be too much. So, I struggle again.
I think about the times I have been told not to be disrespectful, when men my age have been obliterating respect in every way. I think about the times I have told my parents about the inequalities in the Indian culture that raises a man to entitlement and a woman to hesitation. Then, I keep quiet again: I have already been too disrespectful.
I must not hold a grudge against the relative who told me I need to be taller to increase my market value in the marriage industry. How dare I remember the times I was told not to drink in public, despite being legal, because it gives a bad image? I cannot possibly still be tired from the fight I had to put up to be able to wear shorter shorts.
Women truly do not forget. (Women actually have a lot to remember.)
Again, I resort to quiet and trepidation. An angry young man is a theater movement worthy of art and analysis. An angry young woman is a punchline, a meme, a source of surprise to the ignorant parts of society.
Do I want to be a punchline? No, I want to be taken seriously. My gender wants to be taken seriously. Does anyone know how to make that happen? A woman, after all, might be too weak.
Does anyone know how to make that happen? I, after all, cannot make a mountain out of a molehill.