#LettersToPatriarchy: A Valentines Day Reflection
|Photo Credit: Miranda House Women's Development Cell|
Can I call you Pat? Surely our relationship is long and deep enough for you to afford me that level of intimacy. After all when we first met, when you first touched my being – I wasn’t even born yet. Around me – being born female for so many was a noose being slipped around their neck, a death sentence, a fate designed before a breath had been taken.
Perhaps I was one of the lucky ones, we didn’t really have a chance to get intimate in a way so many others did much earlier on. But you were there. You were there at 11 when someone cat called me for the very first time and I complained. I was promptly told my sleeveless shirt and shorts were the cause. You were there as all through puberty I agonized over clothes that would fit my large breasts which sexualized me in ways I didn’t even understand. You were there when in the school halls at 14 I was groped, and the boy in question didn’t even for a fleeting second think he was paying me anything other than a compliment. You were there at 16 when I realized being different made me unattractive, seeing value in myself alone and not in relation to males made me a ‘man hater’ and when I cried myself to sleep because I thought as a woman my value lay in how boys perceived me.
We have done this dance for far too long now, you and I. I have been called ‘loud’, ‘shill’, been told ‘no-one will ever want to marry you’. My partner has been commended for his ‘ability to put up with me’. I have been objectified, called a bitch, a whore, a slut. I have always been assumed to be a victim and a passenger. I have struggled to break free from these chains you wrap me so tight in.
But no more. I may not defeat you in this lifetime – but the day will come. And I will fight and do whatever I can to chip away at you bit by bit. My sons and my daughters will be free of you, and they will raise their children in that freedom.
So let’s raise a glass to you one last time – you fought valiantly but now your time is over.