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“I’m A Bibliophile Who Believes In The Magic Of Words” Opinionated Mua, Author Of The Month, July 2018

Opinionated Mua, true to her name, selects topics that she feels strongly about to write on. Sexism, and the mindset that normalises it and does not feel it's a problem, bothers her and drives her to write on it.

Opinionated Mua, true to her name, selects topics that she feels strongly about to write on. Sexism, and the mindset that normalises it and does not feel it’s a problem, bothers her and drives her to write on it.

Women’s Web is powered by an incredible community of (now) 3000 contributors, who bring their experiences, views and knowledge to share with others in the community. Every month, we recognise three of them as the Authors of the Month. This July 2018, Opinionated Mua is one of our three Featured Authors of the Month. You can view Opinionated Mua’s writing at Women’s Web here.

Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?

I write to express, share, and most importantly to be heard. It’s not everyday that you can discuss your views and opinions, as people are either not open to it or just roll their eyes about how much overpowering you are. While writing the same thing has helped me reach out to people better. Am a feminist and fight against sexism in everyday life, writing has helped me grab that attention of people and think.

I also write for the love of words. I’m a bibliophile who believes in the magic of words. The more I read and write, I’m transported to a blissful world where everything is nice and stress free.

What do you enjoy reading? Does any of it help your writing?

I love reading blogs, articles and books that makes me ponder and gives me varied perspectives. The stories, opinions on Women’s Web is part of my daily dose of reading.

All the reading definitely helps in writing better, may it be language or the overall structure in your writing. Have you ever read something and are soo lost in it, that it took you a moment to actually come back to reality? I aspire to write that way, where the reader can take that same journey I did while writing it. So reading is essential for me to reach that goal. J

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When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?

Sexism and the fixed mindset around it. The various roles, behaviour or expectations at home or at work, is subconsciously associated with gender. This idea that sexism has more become a habit, where in neither the men nor the women are thinking it’s a sexist thing they are doing or saying angers me. The need for equality not just in pay but in expectations and treatment is what drives me.

For example, I don’t want to be judged for sitting around and watching TV as my brother or husband are making a cup of coffee for me. Similarly, I don’t want my nephew to be told not to wear certain colours or like soft toys because he is a boy.

Could you narrate an issue or incident in your life which you think was gender related, and you handled it in a way that has made you proud.

I was a bright kid from the start who always stood first in studies. But it was never enough. Though I had wonderful parents, some relatives and even strangers never missed a chance to remind me, that I am not beautiful. I am fat and that who would marry me. The fact that I was intelligent didn’t matter, but being marriage material was the only thing that mattered. Invariably, I grew up insecure and hating my body, trying really hard to look ‘beautiful’.

I still remember that day in a family function, how a cousin told everyone, in a sympathy/teasing tone, “I wonder who will marry her!” I had cried really bad. Imagine, am in 6thstd and this is what is being fed to me. That incident is a mark that I will remember all my life. Though what people say now, is completely the opposite. It made me wonder, why we as girls are constantly reminded to maintain, to behave ourselves from the start, just to be a good marriage material.

I did not deal with it then, neither did I for years. But as I grew, read more and met more people, my perspectives changed and I stopped wanting to look beautiful for others. Rather I wanted to work on getting fit and looking great for myself. But, there is one thing that came out of all this, which I proudly tell people too, is I look out for the younger generations now. I fight and argue with people, who talk about marriage to younger girls to shut them up. Instead I talk about their careers, life and who they want to grow up to be. This am proud of, because if not for that incident, maybe even I would not have given a second thought of what we put the younger kids through everyday. Especially the girls. Indirectly these people are setting their ultimate goal to be marriage, and not achieving something great with all the talent they have. It’s only people like you and me who can change this. Don’t treat them as boys or girls, but as kids that they really are.

What are the things you would like to write about in the future for Women’s Web?

I would like to do a series of interviews of Women at Work in various industries and start up. These are the role models we all need.

I would also want to write more about Everyday Sexism and how it is deep rooted and a part of growing in every Indian family. There needs to be more awareness and even changes that needs to be brought out. So I would mostly be focussing on writing on this.

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