When I was 6, I was laughed at by my peers for having a Lighting McQueen bag, because girls were supposed to have pink, princess-like bags. I was 6 when societal expectations were forced onto my extremely tiny shoulders.
When I was 8, I spoke about gender roles in class when my teacher said “Disha please don’t talk about such things, it’s supposed to be a fun activity”. I was 8, when I realised people wouldn’t try to change.
I hadn’t reached my double digits when I knew what was expected of me, as a female, moreover as an Indian one. I knew that if I wore shorts, I’d seem “tomboy-ish”, and if I didn’t learn how to cook, I’d make a bad wife.
As I matured, more mentally than physically, the stereotype around teenagers caught up to me. I began to realise the threshold society holds for every gender on the spectrum. I also realised that without knowing me, people would assume pink was my favourite colour and all I did was play with barbie dolls all day.
The coloured view that everyone had about EVERYONE around them, was what angered me. Everyone knew everyone without knowing them. I’ve been told multiple times, to dress like a girl, or, act like a girl, when in all honesty, I didn’t know what “like a girl” meant. No one wants to be categorised because of traditional beliefs; and I’m the last person to keep my mouth shut about it.
Being a hardcore feminist and a major ally of the LGBTQ+ community, you already know how many people think of me as “annoying”, “preachy”, and a million other adjectives that don’t always make sense. The funny thing about people is that perceptions change as intersectionality comes into the picture. So I was an Indian teenager, who believed in women’s rights and loved all kinds of love. I was a walking target.
“You’re doing it for the attention!”
“Why do you hate men so much?”
“Are you gay? You must be- right?”
To clarify, I’m not doing it for the attention, I don’t hate men, and I’m a cisgender female.
Being human isn’t easy, and being judged for who you are or who you love doesn’t make it any easier.
I’m 15 now. I’m 15, and society still looks at me the same way, the same way it stared at 6 year old Disha. I’m 15 and the world still views me as a female, not a human.