I would consider myself a feminist. I want equality for womenkind, and I prepared to stand my ground when I encounter any patriarchal nonsense. I am a strong, independent woman after all.
But that’s because I have feminist parents. So, it isn’t that big of a deal for me.
During a relative’s wedding (please note: not ‘family’, but ‘relative’) I was asked the inevitable question about marriage that every unmarried Indian girl/woman above 18 gets:
“So beta, when are we going to be dancing at your wedding?” an uncle asked archly.
I was irritated of course, but I was in a loving relationship at the time, and personally would have liked nothing better than to get married to my hunk of a boyfriend. But he was getting a divorce, and it wasn’t happening. So sore spot. Also, the ineffable cheek that Indians have to ask such personal questions. Argh. So:
“Uncle, why should I get married? I’m quite happy the way things are. Freedom!” I quipped with a grin.
“Arrey, marriage is an experience.”
“Of course, my my parents are married, so I have that experience already. Big deal.”
“No, it is different. You have to experience it yourself.”
“Oh?” Then, drawing upon vast reserves of fake innocence that I didn’t know I had, I said: “What I could I possibly be missing?”
Of course he was flummoxed, because he vaguely meant sex + children, but couldn’t really say that to a young relative. I let him stew uncomfortably for a few minutes, before I decided to really make him squirm.
“Oh uncle, do you mean children?” I asked, batting my eyelashes with the wide-eyed wonder of a toddler.
“Yes,” he gasped in a flood of relief. “You should have the experience of having children.”
Poor sap, because:
“Ah but, uncle, I don’t *need* to be *married* to have children no?”
That finished the bugger. But, while it was immensely satisfying, it was not a victory. Why? Because if he had turned around to complain to my folks about their out-of-hand daughter, my parents would have laughed in his face and said I was right.
It is so easy to be strong and brave when you have support like that. So the feminists I truly salute are the ones who fought against everyone they loved for what was right. My grateful wishes to you all.