I can, because I want to

I can, Samiti lake, Goechala, Sikkim

At the end of a session with 12-year-old footballers, on outdoor career options, a girl asked, do girls trek up mountains too? I said yes they do, it’s common. To that, another girl jumped in and said “because girls are equal, because we can do anything that the boys can? Right ?”
I said, no it’s not about that. We don’t need to compare, just go for anything you enjoy. And before I could finish, the boys in the group giggled, making the girls uncomfortable. Not understanding the dynamics and struggle of their daily fights, I continued. Do it for fun, It’s not about who is better than whom. We can and should do anything without the need to prove equality, I said.

The theory of happiness which says don’t compare, applies to the man-woman equality fight too. Then, I imagined a random situation these football players would be in.  Boys, playing a game, a little girl walks in and says “I want to play too”. They laugh, some giggle and some are scared that the team scores would come down . No, you are a girl! you can’t play well, we don’t want you in the game. Girl fights back saying “I can play equally well, let me play”. They don’t let her in. She waits for her team of girls and then plays, still carrying the rejection of being a girl. Ah! may be that’s the background of why she asked me to re-emphasize that girls can trek, because they are equal!

Back to the current moment. The boys were smiling like they’d won a match and the girls were very puzzled with my answer. And were unable to believe that a woman could say this! I guess they were upset ..why are girls not equal? I continued, we can do everything that we want to.   The need to mention we are equal takes away the fun and purpose of the trek. Why waste time in fighting that we are equal? Do it for yourself, I said, still leaving them in a puzzled state.
Well, I felt guilty because I realized that they are just little children and would have picked this thought from the adults around them. And it could also be the only way they know of, to fight back when boys questioned their skills!

I want to move away from the need to say we are equal and that we can do what a man does. I don’t want to do things just to prove we are equal. There is not enough time for that. I will do things that interest me, for myself. Not to prove anything to anyone else..but for my own well-being.

I will go to school and continue through college even if no other boy around me wants to study. Because we are not equal.
I will not help in household chores when I have exams even if my brother does, because I like more study time than he does.
If football interests me, I’ll play with all my might.
If travel is my dream, I’ll get going.
If the mountains call me, I’ll climb it.
If I love baking, I’ll make a muffin.
If I hate cooking, I’ll make instant noodles for a meal.
I will learn a dance form and learn karate too.
If someone stops me from doing what I like, for being a girl, I will fight back!
And if I need help, I will not shy away from asking for it.

I have no need to prove equality, because I follow my passion and do things that make me happy.
I believe in myself and do not need everyone’s validation of me.

I can, do anything, that I want to.

Comments 3

  1. I think you are right that the little girls just don’t know how else to fight their fight. They are trying to find evidence for their case that girls are just as good as boys, but it’s not that clear or easy. I think part of the problem is that, any time a girl wants to do something that is traditionally in the realm of boys, she has to explain why or how she is interested in doing that. For boys, they don’t need any reason. It can be just because!

    1. Post

      Agreed that explanations are needed when we set out a new path, but that’s just to the immediate family perhaps. And that will be there because traditionally we did not venture into certain things. Today when we are, we are doing it not to prove a point that we are equal. We are doing it because we like or love that task / work / sport. Unfortunately society is conditioned to demarcate what a woman does vs. what a man does. While we girls face a lot of struggle in many realms of life. There are guys as well who want to do tasks or make careers out of things that were demarcated for women. They have the same struggle for acceptance. For e.g. a stay home husband is looked down upon in many societies but a woman does not face the same treatment. I still say that we should fight back when we are asked not to do something because of our gender. But instead of fighting that we are equal, we have to believe that we are skilled and not encourage others to get into the comparison game. I agree that the need to fight-back is not going away soon, as long as there are folks doing the act of comparing genders. But we can address the comparison by saying we just want to do it not because we are equal but because we love to do it. Basically just carry an internal attitude of I will do whatever interests me. I can, so I shall 🙂

      1. You are right, men also find it hard to break those expectations and face ridicule when they try to. I like the idea of carrying an internal attitude! I do think you have to go through some fighting or at least some self discovery to realize that it isn’t about the genders to be able to develop this kind of attitude. 🙂

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