You will be asked to keep quiet when that cousin of yours touches you in ways that will haunt you for what seems like forever. You will be asked to keep quiet because your father will not hear a word against family; even though you’re the one he gave birth to. You will be asked to not wear your favourite dress, because of that neckline that falls low. You will be asked to not wear clothes of your choice to avoid being the subject of the misplaced yearning of grown men. You will be asked to not raise your voice when lecherous men whistle as you walk past them, lest you want to be called a ‘slut’. Having been taught to stand up against wrong all your life, you will be asked to keep low when your dignity is at stake.
Be prepared to have your ability questioned when you land the job that pays higher than those of most men in your family. “Looks like your father’s business relations with your employer paid off.” “Did you sleep with your boss to climb the ranks?” Bite back your fury as your jobless uncle smirks as he makes these comments, because the worst that a female could do is fight back.
A pretty face like yours is not supposed to have valid opinions, no. If you’re smarter than most, you must not look too beautiful. Your anger is just a consequence of ‘that time of the month’; oh no, it is not a result of their incapability to do their work correctly instead of doubting your abilities because of a biological process every woman, just like their mothers, has to go through. As you hustle to forge your own identity, look around as you are cast into iron moulds that fit their definition of an X-chromosomal entity.
But, my dear, don’t you apologise for how you feel or the way you dress just because it feeds the ego of those who are products of a society that loves a good tragedy. Don’t apologise for how you choose to present yourself. Don’t apologise if you are equal parts beautiful and intelligent, or more intelligent than beautiful or otherwise.
The society will try and condition you into believing that you are meant for a clichè novel-esque life, nothing more. But resist, little girl. These half truths will tell you to adhere to patriarchy, rather than to destroy it. You will learn that you have to fight this battle alone.