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As we approach the end of the year, I look back at my journey as Senior Editor at Women’s Web, and remember some of the best posts of 2019 that have truly made a mark on me.
I have been given a really difficult job – to choose 10 best posts on Women’s Web published in 2019. I think I spent more time on picking these than I have on any other article for a long, long while.
The first thing I had to decide was – how do I go about this? Do I pick those that have had a ton of views? Certainly these must be the best posts? Or do I pick those I think were the best?
On reflection, I decided against merely looking at the numbers, as so many of these had done well because they addressed a topical issue, or because they involved a celebrity, like those based on pop culture or a newsmaker- not that these weren’t great posts, but I wanted to pick more from those that were about the experiences and lives of the ordinary Indian woman, and on a topic that wasn’t already in the news.
I confess, there is certainly a degree of subjectivity to my choice of articles – but I have tried to be fair. I have avoided including articles of the authors who featured in my earlier year end post – 5 Truly Heartwarming, Positive And Inspiring Stories Published On Women’s Web In 2019 – even though a couple of them did have articles that deserved a place in the top 10, and have picked just one by any one author. I have also avoided picking from among short stories, book reviews, or movie reviews.
I hope I have managed to cover a variety of ways we can be an Indian woman, and every one of us will find plenty that we will find ourselves nodding for in these posts, though not really in an exhaustive way – 10 are too few for that to happen.
So here we are, with 10 powerful posts, in no particular order.
Was It Really A ‘Happy’ Mother’s Day For Moms & Soon-To-Be Moms Employed At Indian Workplaces?
It is obvious that we, as a society, adore our mothers for being the quintessential maa, the nurturer and caregiver. But something happens when we perceive someone else’s maa in a workplace. The maa who is a colleague at the cusp of motherhood, the maa who is a reportee rejoining office post maternity leave. The maa who we work with.
There are enough situations and statistics to show how the same hallowed institution of motherhood celebrated in our society, is admonished in the workplace, almost as if the workplace is not a part of the society but on a different planet.
Read it here.
Cooking Does Not Come Pre-Installed In A Woman’s DNA
A woman need not ‘know’ or ‘enjoy’ cooking just on account of her gender. It has to be a choice, that even men should get – if they like to cook, they should be able to.
The femininity associated with cooking, with men occasionally assuming the fancy word chef for themselves, also creates barriers for many men who might actually love to cook but cannot because of societal stereotypes. More women liberated from the kitchen, more they discover their individuality other than simply being feeders, more we all cook because we love cooking, and not because we HAVE to, more people not leaving each other out, more we become a better world for everyone.
Who Made These Patriarchal Rules Against Women’s Choices, And Why Should I Follow Them?
Growing up, I was surprised by the practices being followed in the name of religion and tradition.
Practices that forbid women to even sit at a common dining table during her menstrual cycle, where she is not allowed to cook food or enter the kitchen during menstruation, practices that talk about the girl child as a commodity that has to be sent to ‘her rightful house’ through rituals like ‘kanyadaan’ and ‘bidai’, that tell girls to be home by 8pm while the male members can loiter and enter home even at 2am, drunk.
We live in a society where a man can pee in a public place, while if a girl wears a short skirt she is considered to be characterless. Each and every restriction and tradition is pointed solely towards a women’s personal space and her choices.
You’re A Feminist? Ask Yourself If Your Feminism Is Selective Or Inclusive
Tarannum Nazma Shaikh
Our feminism is selective.
We are reading and writing and making much noise. But our feminism is selective. We are crying and yelling and taking mutual stands. But our feminism is selective.
We celebrate women who leave abusive marriages and fight long battles. Who’ve been beaten down and gotten up and survived traumatic lives. But we are yet to forgive our mothers who chose to stay and not fight. We are yet to open our hearts to them being vulnerable and not leaving. We are yet to forgive our mothers for not being those women.
We have become women we always wanted to be. We are yet to accept our sisters who aren’t what we want them to be. Our lens is different for different people. We pick our icons and feminist battles. We are yet to unlearn and learn. We are yet to allow women to be women.
Take That Step Forward NOW, Towards An Essential Pleasure
For the longest time, I used to think that among the many issues and challenges faced by women, female sexuality and masturbation was not as important a topic to be addressed. This, till I spoke to the friend of mine on whose experience this story is based. The social stigma associated with this subject has probably led to lack of awareness and repressed desires in many women. We need to ditch the shame, right away!
Why Is The Idea Of Marriage Fed To Our Girls As A Substitute For Career, Ambitions, And Achievements?
I trust the institution of marriage, so I am definitely not against it. Having said that doesn’t mean I am against the idea of singlehood. No, I am not. Both are just a matter of individual choice and I respect both.
But what I am not able to grasp is how, why and when marriage becomes the only ambition of young girls, even the bright ones.
Why are marriage and career not treated as two different aspects of life but made one?
Why are we still not able to decipher that marriage is not an achievement but one more relationship in life which may turn out to be the most important one due to the physical intimacy involved?
Why We Should Teach Our Kids That We, Their Parents, Need Them In Our Lives
The parent-child relationship is not always warm and cosy like a Barjatya movie nor is every child as dutiful like Piku. This relationship is inevitably fraught with misunderstandings and mixed feelings, yet it is a beautiful relationship. It is meant to be a symbiotic relationship: a parent needs the child just as much as the child needs the parent.
Being Queer And ‘Coming Out’ To My Mom Has Been Quite An Emotional Journey
It takes many, many such moments to realise that, ah OK, I am anything but thinking ‘straight’! I have come to realise that my journey has been less a straight line and more like a drop of ink on water – branching in all directions, its depths differing and still forming.
So, ‘coming out’ doesn’t really apply to me, I feel. It has been more like ‘out-growing’. Outgrowing my limited understanding of romance. Outgrowing my binary approach to gender. Outgrowing my thinking that sex is only physical, and that ‘love’ has one filmy definition. Outgrowing that only one person should be saddled with all your expectations.
“Men And Women Go Through The Same” – Do We?
For those men who think the world is completely equal and women are losers for talking of feminism – here is a reality check.
You tell me women are full of biases, and you tell me how feminism is nothing but a way to grab unnecessary attention. You tell me we are all already equal here and you tell me how we go through the same. Think again, do we?
Let’s talk honesty here.
Do your parents answer the doorbell every time you order something online because you have been once (or more) stalked by the delivery executives? Does your father escort you to the metro and pick you up just the same because there might be a lanky guy hovering around you as you cover the distance from your home to the station (or vice-versa) alone?
Do you sit in a cab sending the location to at least two of your friends along with your parents and still have to be vigilant at every turn, every moment, watching which direction the steering deviates to?
Consent is Not Just About Sex, And Not Just For Men To Learn About
For us, not accepting a “no,” or not even bothering to ask for the other person’s consent is considered a form of “love.” Don’t believe me?
How many times have you tried to refuse food/ cup of tea/ coffee as a guest, only to have it thrust on you? How many times have you had guests appearing out of the blue, because “what is the need for formalities between loved ones?” How many times have you seen strangers cuddle and kiss random kids, just because they look cute? How many times, in how many contexts, have your wishes been disregarded because “it is for your good only”?
Not only have these things happened to us, we have done this to others too. We have not taken no for an answer.
This disrespect for consent is hardwired into our culture. I personally started to realize it when I moved abroad.
Image source: pixabay
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya
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