I quickened my pace and tried to hide my anxiety. Fumbling for my keys in my bag I stole a quick glance behind my shoulder. Those 2 men were still trailing behind me, one laughing merrily probably at a joke his friend just said.
They probably weren’t following me. They were probably just 2 respectable working men on the way home to their families who just happened to take the same route as me. But I couldn’t help myself.
This is what it feels like to be a woman in this world. We are strong, we are independent, we can look after ourselves yet we are vulnerable, we are emotional and we are fearful.
We are walking contradictions. We replace our own light bulbs, nail our own picture frames, carry our own heavy bags of groceries. We feel proud of ourselves for accomplishing things men usually do. We feel strong.
Yet a woman can’t walk alone past a group of men without being observed, whistled or catcalled. I once wore a blouse which had a lower neckline and I couldn’t help noticing the amount of male attention and gazes I received directly to the middle. One even deliberately walked past me a second time to get a second look. Rape cases, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, molestation, plastered over the news frequently.
Air India will be introducing ladies only seats on domestic flights. Trains and trams in some parts of the world have ladies only carriages. I have seen ladies only buses. The need to contain and group the female species separately for our own safety, away from the unwanted prying eyes, hands and thoughts of the dominant species is what the world has come to.
No, I am not blaming the entire male species. I am blessed to have an amazing support system of males who are fully aware of the dangers this world poses to a woman and who are always looking out for me.
However, this is what the world is like now and it is the truth. So don’t blame us for being fearful, for over thinking, for over imagining things that may not come true.
Don’t blame us for being anxious, for looking back over our shoulders all the time, for our doubts and suspicions, for this is what it feels like to be a woman in this world.
To all the men in my life, thank you for showing me it’s ok to be a fearful, emotional and vulnerable woman while being independent, strong, and daring to dream big all at the same time.