Two months ago, I got married. Ever since, my identity as a Feminist was mulled over, chewed upon, dissected and reinforced! It has evolved.
Let me tell you how it happened. I was blissfully happy. Everywhere I looked, unicorns seemed to fart rainbows. One week into the marriage, I reported back at work where my friends were naturally curious about the state of affairs. And to a male friend’s casual enquiry of who does the cooking, I proudly declared that I take care of it. Mostly. He sounded appalled and went “there goes your feminist bullshit. Got married and became one of them, huh?” I was offended by his accusation and also slightly apologetic. Did I, through the simple act of cooking food, let down my feminist brethren? And that was how the doubts were planted.
Since then, I developed this wretched habit of putting everything I do under pitiless lenses and classifying them into ‘what is becoming of a feminist’ and ‘what is not’. And to my dismay, a lot of those things went into the latter category. My thought process went like this.
Me: Oh, I never realized this before. I carry around a pink wallet!
My Verdict: Doesn’t everyone know that pink is so ugh? And a wallet? Such a shackle.
Me: I am a pretty good cook and I create most of the edible stuff at our place. And I think I enjoy cooking.
My Verdict: You are NOT helping the cause. Have some shame. The traditional gender-assigned roles, huh? The girl cooks and the man does only macho stuff?
Me: Does that count if my husband takes care of the rodent and pest control at home? Only I don’t fancy killing spiders too much.
My Verdict: Such a cliché! What kind of self-respecting feminist are you?
This went on for a good couple of weeks and my feminist identity was in a miserable state. I was disappointed in myself for perpetuating the traditional gender-assigned roles and sorry for letting down the woman population. I thought I was an embarrassment to feminists everywhere...
...Until I did some more thinking and realized that somewhere along the way, I forgot what Feminism originally meant to me. As long as I treat people equally, I can proudly call myself a feminist. It doesn’t judge or hinder me from doing what I love to. I do not have to be embarrassed for liking pink, yellow (oooh yellow!), red, blue or any goddamn color. And it is okay to admit that those adorable dolls in the supermarket aisle still catch my eye. And it is alright if I cannot figure out why anyone would want to play with miniature monster trucks (no judgments but I just don’t get it). If the heroine of a novel is disgustingly hapless, how can I judge someone who comes to her rescue? (Not that I don’t enjoy a good strong female-oriented story, but there are all kinds of people and all sorts of stories anyway). And the act of killing a cockroach repulse me but it has nothing to do with my level of macho-less-ness.
I believe every color, every accessory, and every story should have a chance. And I am not going to apologize for believing that.
So, when my husband offered to help me in the kitchen last Sunday, I gently told him that ‘share’ would be a much better choice of verb. And I felt proud when I overheard him telling his friends ‘yeah, we pretty much share the chores’. Marriage hasn’t made me any less of a feminist. And I refuse to let anyone convince me otherwise.
A sort of Jill-Of-All-Trades! Interested in way too many things to focus on just one although I do admit to having an infatuation with writing. Writing towards a cause is even better and hence, here!