No safe space for girls
Once out of the many times my mother went about demeaning my girlhood, I allowed my quivering young soul to protest. Her response, instead of belittling my hurt as she had perhaps intended to, revealed a deep-seated wound in solidarity with mine.
"You find this hurtful? Do you know what your grandmother used to say to your aunts and me when we were just children?"
She shared, how after getting caught while stealing a few coins to buy hawai mithai, a lengthy beating was accompanied by remarks on how today she steals from her parents, and tomorrow, she'll steal from her husband.
To my grandmother, it was the only natural thing to say. It shaped my mother's view of the world and herself. It led to her attempt at perpetuating this as the norm to me.
What greases the wheels on this vicious cycle? My guess is that, after navigating the world outside of the home as the second sex, our humanity humiliated, having to overcompensate to maintain the same positions and run an extra mile to prove the same levels of competence, we come home to find no escape. There is no mercy anywhere, no space that is safe.
Maybe, internalising and accepting it is the only way out of the torment of fighting an idea that everyone seems to agree with, but feels wrong only to you.
It starts early, from disciplinary scolding used as a tool to ingrain internalised misogyny into our tender young souls, to facing victim blaming when you're too young to understand the vile accusation. The conclusion that authority over our bodies is held by anyone but ourselves follows closely.
When we are young, our parents are the most knowledgeable people on the planet. If we had witnessed the use of their infinite knowledge at work to belittle and tear apart women who had dared to ever prioritise their personal goals, happiness, and well-being, is it too unlikely for us to sell our whole lives short to the patriarchy?
If there is any mercy in this world, we can still run home to the loving embrace of our family for reassurance when outsiders reduce us to our appearance, and then insult its supposed flaws. But what on earth are we to do if these "flaws" had already been picked apart at home and left bare for vultures to pick apart?
A girl raised in a household where her brother's education was prioritised over her own, where her wings were clipped before she could take flight is less inclined to object to hiring discrimination against women for qualified positions. She is less inclined to believe that she is capable and deserving, and more inclined to allow her intellect and labour to be exploited her whole life.
If misogyny is deep-seated in the way we discipline our children, we leave our women with nowhere to turn to. We do them the atrocious injustice of making them believe in the righteousness of perpetrators. We make their lives a living hell, with no voice and no human rights.
Amrin's ceaseless confusion is really getting in the way of her happiness. Email home remedies to [email protected]