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Why should I HAVE to be tidy and well dressed just because I’m a girl, if it is OK for my male cousins to get away with messy rooms? Not a good enough reason!
As women, we have been urged to behave in a certain kind of a way since the beginning of everything. Levied with a lot of rules and restrictions, we are constantly undermined. Some have accepted it as their culture. Some are trying and struggling to break out of this strait-jacket of burdening expectations. The ones who believe in the equal rights of both the genders – The Feminists. I believed myself to be one of them. But two words from someone a lot younger than me suddenly got me pondering relentlessly about it, at the end of which I found myself tapping on the keyboard.
I am an extremely messy person. My room is always a chaos. I cannot arrange things properly, and also am too lazy to do it. They actually don’t seem messy to me though. I just can’t see the ugliness in disorganisation in my room.
I have always heard (not from my mum) that a “girl should keep her room organised and decorated. She should look after herself and beautify herself.” So, in spite of all the feminism I believe in like raging hormones, this idea somehow managed to penetrate my robust idealism.
I began to believe that as a girl I am indeed supposed to be tidying up about me. Therefore, I was always embarrassed about showing my room to any guests. Until the other day when my uncle, aunt, and my 18-year-old brother came to visit.
While showing them around the house I stopped before my room expressing hesitation while repeating myself, “I am too embarrassed to show you my room. It’s so messy”.
My cousin replied, “It’s ok, mine is messier”. Upon which I said, “But mine can’t be compared to yours. I am supposed to be tidy, I am a girl after all”.
And what he replied next hit me with a lightning bolt. Two words – “Not necessarily”. These two words slapped me out of my delusion of being a feminist.
As a girl, I am not supposed to be ‘like’ anything. I am a girl by virtue of being a girl. Default architecture — by God or nature or biology. Whatever one believes.
Girls that wear a loose t-shirt with messy hair and hang around the basketball court are called tomboys. They are often advised to “behave like a girl and take care of their looks”. Girls whose rooms are not decked up, bodies not dressed up or face not made up all the time, maybe just on an occasion, maybe not even then or at all, are still girls. Labelling them as ‘tomboy’ isn’t gonna change their gender Identity. Hence, why am I not supposed to be messy just because I am a girl? My room doesn’t represent my thoughts, my qualifications, my capabilities or my gender.
Appearance is not a qualification for a girl or anyone. Like beauty is skin deep, not ‘beautifying’ oneself is a decision that is subjective and persona,l and not gender-restricted. No need to criticize the choice that’s not bothering others in any way. “Your appearance is hurting my eyes” can’t be an excuse.
When men first started to go to salons for a manicure or eyebrow shaping, it was a bizarre concept to many, somewhat uncomfortable, fodder for mockery. All those men were branded as feminine. It’s now become a trend that has taken on a new term ‘metrosexual’. So when men are busy grooming themselves can’t we unbusy ourselves and be shabby. Why the expectations and judgment?
My mom is a housewife. She takes care of the house and everything else. Organising and maintaining everything is done by her perfectly. But nobody sets up the closet or packs a suitcase or arranges furniture like my Dad. That doesn’t make my mom any less of a homemaker. Many men these days are taking care of housework along with the office. There are so many famous male chefs. They are also the metrosexuals 2.0.
I know this may seem like a pretty irrelevant, minuscule, non-issue to others. But as the tiny speck of dust on my laptop table is congesting the brains of the finicky ‘tidy’ persons, and my undone hair and creased top is becoming their eyesore, I want to know why is this relevant?
I can go to a Javed Habib salon and have my hair done. But I choose not to. While Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra are designing fabulous dresses, some girls can choose to wear a pair of ripped jeans and a wrinkled T-shirt, and be invested in designing a computer program in Java. And the hair is gonna be a mess anyway when you are in a spacecraft, ask any space-woman. When Feminism is fighting for gender equality with such vigour and trying to blur the lines between gender roles in a positive way so as to blend seamlessly with each other, saying one must be prim and proper and decorated just because she’s a girl is just so lame.
So, if you wanna suggest tidying up my room or myself, try giving me a different reason than my gender suitability. I’ll try to consider the unsolicited advice, though I don’t find it impeding my values, or anything else for that matter in any way. Implementation not guaranteed though.
Image source: a still from the movie Kuchh Kucch Hota Hai
Love to read almost everything except Maths and Bio-Chem-Phy of Science. Kind of
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