The Breakthrough Voice 31st March, 2017
Dear Patriarchy, I Refuse To Let You Oppress Me.

Dear patriarchy,

I have already written to you in my mind a thousand times when you confronted me with your shallow strength trying to tell me my place in society; but now let’s make it official, shall we?

I didn’t know you even existed in my life until recently, when my mind started deciphering the pattern of pure dominance on which you have established yourself so smoothly.

I first saw you, at my workplace, where you were dressed as a man. You tried to ‘mansplain’ me with a belief that you knew better – after all I was a woman and you? You were a man.

Next I found you, in almost every Bollywood Movie which apparently were made to inspire me or entertain me!

You tried to romanticize the idea of a girl as just a ‘damsel in distress’. You painted an absolute image of a woman whom society admires and men love – long hair, innocent face, slim body, and luscious lips.

And even when you tried to deceive us, by trying to portray ‘women empowerment’; in the end you always showed women incomplete without men in their life – weak and dependent.

I remember hints of your existence in my childhood too. When I played with a toy car and not a Barbie. When I sported a ‘boy cut’ and not two ponytails. You questioned my choices, trying to poison the mind of a girl aged just two.

When I hear, “You are a girl – don’t wear this outside,” I see traces of your doing.

When I hear, “You are a girl – learn to cook,” I see you grinning cleverly.

When I hear, “You are a girl – wear a shirt and a pant to be taken seriously and a dress to look pretty,” I see you growing stronger.

You with your ancient roots have tried to pit men and women against each other; demarcating work, dividing feelings, separating behaviour, disjoining ambitions and goals. And your tools, sadly, are both men and women.

But, I refuse to let you trickle down in my mind, my behaviour and my beliefs. I refuse to let you suppress me. I refuse to let you oppress me. And, I refuse to let anyone tell me any different.

So, dear patriarchy, I know you will distort it, since I am against you. You will call me a feminazi. You will call me crazy. You will call me an attention seeker. You will call me abnormal. You will call me shameless. And, you will try to push me further into my den, by saying that I want superiority over men.

But I am not stepping back. I will fight you. I will try to free myself from you, as long as you exist.

So dear Patriarchy, see you next time. I will be ready to destroy you!

Note: Valentine’s day 2017 saw Miranda House Women’s Development Cell strike, dance and rise with the One Billion Rising movement. Women from WDC, in the spirit of OBR, decided to write letters to patriarchy who had been their constant lover: it was time to breakup.

Breakthrough India joins hands with MH-WDC’s One Billion Rising campaign in University of Delhi and brings to you a glimpse of some of these letters, some of the stories that women from Miranda House have been writing to patriarchy. 

Beware, you might soon find them in your nearest bookstores as well!

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