Growing up, whenever women are asked to take the back seat, wear dress and make up, and sport long hair, I have always been one of the firsts to ask 'Why?'. I wasn't being intentionally stubborn nor was I just raised with feminist ideologies. To me, it was simply a matter of genuinely wondering why we are shaped by a lot of conventions so much that we fail to show who we really are.
Does it have anything to do with religion? Perhaps. But perhaps not, too. I was raised around Catholic institutions most of my life where most women, despite being empowered, still held back. Even worse, we are explicitly asked to hold back. I asked why, and they said, that the men are the head of the household, and women are supposed to take the supporting role. Add to that the fact that God is portrayed to be our 'Father.' Sacrilege aside, how sure are we to even conclude that God is male to begin with? I like how George Carlin put it. He said for sure, God's a man --- because a woman wouldn't let this world be this f*cked up.
Does it have anything to do with family? Perhaps. But perhaps not too. I was brought up by a mom who completely goes against the grain most of the time, especially with men oozing with machismo. On the other hand, she can be quite conventional too. I grew up with a dad who allowed me to watch him do plumbing, carpentry, and car repair work so I would be able to take care of my own household when the time comes. At the same time, however, he would make you feel that the kitchen is the only place where a woman belongs.
More women today are standing up. With the power of social media, the #MeToo movement has provided not only a voice, but a newfound confidence that is translated to self-esteem and a higher regard for our worth. But it is not only because of social media or the rise of these movements. We owe it to the brave women who took the first steps not just yesterday, but decades and decades before us. And it would be futile to bow down to intimidations sent our way from people who claim to have power. These people may have power by way of legality, but this is no true power. This is power that seeks to retain power by way of violence and injustice.
I have always wondered why. Why I cannot take the front seat, why men look at me with fragility, and why I am seen as a rebel when I am just being myself. Although much of how women see themselves today can be attributed to centuries of patriarchal structuring, I believe it's not a structure that is here to stay. Someday, I really hope that womanhood will not be celebrated only on Women's Day. In fact I hope that we wouldn't even have to celebrate Women's Day someday --- because there's not anymore such a thing as borders between what we can do and what we can be merely based on our gender.