The Breakthrough Voice 8th April, 2016

Dear men, please stop holding us back in the name of protecting us.

I can cry myself hoarse, but certain people will still accuse feminism of being misandry. Or the title to my article, of being ungrateful and cruel. The thing to understand is that this article does not generalise all men, or even all women for that matter. There are men; boyfriends, husbands,fathers, uncles and teachers, who look out for us and watch over us, with nary a sexist intention.They protect us because they love us, not because they have some lopsided view on the role of women in society.

But what when this love suffocates, when it should support? Or prohibits, when it should encourage? I’m talking about the hundreds and thousands of sexist laws, cultural practices and judgements that are passed down on millions of women, under the pretext of “protecting them”.The crimes against women range from the debilitating – “Don’t get a job in the city.” to the disgusting child marriages. All for the sake of our future and safety.

As someone who grew up in a household that can only be described as blindingly safe, the number of experiences I lost out on mortify me. School trip to Manali? No beta, not safe.Basketball training? No beta, you should not jump around in front of men. College in Delhi?Absolutely not. Cities are not safe for our girls. Now in my post grad, I finally got the courage to break free of these shackles and chase my dream of attending one of the best colleges in India.But every woman isn’t so lucky.

Perpetrators of these acts often vehemently hold their position of the well wisher; they are the guardians of the female; her thoughts, her acts, her anatomy, and her life aren’t really her own at all. Because, what does she know about the big, bad, world out there? Because women, the sensitive, flower-like, creatures of beauty and emotion, need to be preserved like delicate pieces of china.

Well, enough. Today women are commandeering army aircrafts, climbing the everest, running multi billion dollar companies, tilling farms from sun up to sun down, raising children on their own, topping all kinds of competitive exams, the list goes on. Woman today don’t need outdated, crippling man-made laws, to “protect them” and/or to hold them back.So men (and women), protect the women in your lives, but more importantly, protect their dreams and aspirations.

Your love for women can not, under any circumstances, justify discrimination of women.

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