SMILE WITH CARE …….OR DONT CARE!

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I am a person who laughs just too much. Even if you tell me to laugh virtuously I swear I wouldnt be able to do so, much to the disappointment of anyone who wished that.  As a young girl, I remember my mom and aunts telling me often to laugh softly, and sometimes even friends hushing me away when I laugh uncontrollably.

Why did I say the above, is because something that happened with me a few days ago, made me actually think for the first time in my half past life whether I  should think before laughing or smiling.  Someone passed a smutty comment during a conversation with me, which left me toppled over with anger.  My question “what made you say that?”, gave me an utterly ludicrous response “Oh, I thought you are quite friendly and bold”.  What I really had the heart to do was smack that person right out of his mind, and I might have done that with utter surety if it was a decade ago.  I give credit to my age and the experience that comes with it, for walking away out of the conversation after saying what I thought about him, and without killing him.

Since that moment, my thoughts have been doing hoola-hoops, juggles, spins, yo-yo and anything else you can imagine as to what made that person think that I was the kind of woman who would take that kind of remark. Did I smile too much, did I laugh too much, did I seem overtly friendly, did I………….do what?   I hardly knew the guy, I met him I think just once or maybe twice (I dont even remember!) and had a few generic conversations – then pray, why did he get into such a conclusion. I was obviously fuming with anger at that time, though am much more calmer now.

All these thoughts about what gave men, or even women the right to judge a woman to be “good” or “bad” character were bang-on, at your face in the movie PINK.  What a bold way to put forward all that women around the world face in some way or the other, in a world that they are seen evolving at their workplace, at homes, as mothers, wives, sisters, playing dual and triple roles, multi-tasking homes and offices.  I had really no precursor that the movie is absolutely on the same lines, as my mind has been tossing and turning about.

New to the Dar work scene I happened to ask an young colleague of mine what her experiences were working her. She admitted with a sigh that she had pretty bad accounts of being mistreated as a marketing professional.  Men came with the potent notion that because this woman is marketing some product or service, she is also marketing herself.  I mean really, men out there, do you really think that a female is in the field of Sales not just to sell a product or service but is also secretly there to sell herself?  Do you sell yourself to because you are a marketing man? Or do you think Marketing is your birthright?

As I write all this, somewhere deep in my heart is anger and outrage for all those men, and all those women who judge a woman by the way she smiles or by the way she talks, or the way she fearlessly handles life and its situations.  Its sad, it is disgraceful, it is an abomination to the whole idea of feminism!

Why should a woman hold her smile in the fear of being judged as “loose character” by a man who is probably waiting for any given chance to pounce upon her?

Why should a woman weigh her words and drop her eyelids while talking to men, standing shoulder to shoulder, doing as good or better work than they are doing, just because those men might think she is leading them on?

Why should a woman think twice before holding a glass of wine at a business dinner, because the men around her might get the indication that just  because she is okay with drinking a few glasses of wine, she could also be okay with spending the night with whoever fancies doing so?

Why cannot men refrain from thinking that a girls dress is not an expression of her morality, or that the hour of her work has anything to do with sexuality?

I have a 5 year old girl, and I would like her to live life full-on. I would like to see her bold and wise in this world, and do whatever she wants without having to think before she smiles or talks to a man.  I dont have a boy, but if I had one it would really break my heart if he misbehaved with a girl, so I guess I would have brought him up with the ethos to respect girls irrespective of their dress, their speech and their smile or lack of it.

Do we rear our daughters to be shy and careful about what they say, what they do, what they wear, or do we bring up our boys to learn to respect the girls in their lives for what they are and allow them to breathe freely.

When will our attitude evolve towards bolder women and freedom of expression and freedom of speech in women?

When will a “no” actually be taken as just “no”, without being taken as an insult, leading to a sexual assault.

While the movie has abundantly brought out the cause with a superb cast and super performances, and is a must watch for all.  Hopefully the cause will not be lost as the box office gatherings dwindle, and the message stays strong in the minds of men and women alike.

Above all, and I just hope  we are able to bring up our daughters to smile with ease and abundance, and not care what the world has to think about them.

 

 

 

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