Dear Beautiful People
I’m writing today on a day that is marked as International Women’s Day. (Anyone know why particularly 8 March?). And today, I’d like to tell you my share of being treated differently, because I am a woman.
It was less than a week ago. Our family was in Jordan. We were on our last day of our trip and we haven’t gotten anything for my youngest brother. So the solution was to go to the shop at the hotel and find something for him.
We found a couple of nice t-shirts and a few trinkets and started bargaining for the price (turns out you can bargain anywhere in Jordan). The gentleman who was manning the store was playing hard. He was still giving us high prices. We know cause we bought similar items outside and paid much cheaper.
My mom, my sister, and I continued asking for better price in a very sweet manner. Bargaining is always a little game and we were in the game. But still, the guy wasn’t budging and continued being so hard.
And all of a sudden, my dad popped his head in the store to tell us that he was going to go up to the room first cause he had to work. And this shopkeeper, suddenly brightened up, waved excitedly at my dad and said, just as my dad walked out of the door, “Hello my friend! I give you a good price, cause you’re a Man!”
I honestly felt like I was jabbed in the heart.
I wish I heard wrong, but nope, he just blatantly discriminated us ladies cause we are ladies.
The Taurean bull in me saw red and went wild, …inside my head.
I reminded myself that I am a visitor in that land, an Arab land where some still believe that women are less than men. I felt like I still had to be respectful of their culture.
I’m not sure if anyone else heard what he said but mom and sister still wanted to buy the things. Me, I was already in a foul mood. I had 1 t-shirt in the pile and I decided to say, “well, if that’s the price, that’s too expensive for me. I don’t want it anymore,” and I pulled my t-shirt out of the pile.
And just from this small thing, the shopkeeper decided to put up the most dramatic upset act ever (he should win an oscar for that). I was tense from holding anger, he was acting upset, the air in the store was tense. I was ready to leave.
But my mom is the sweetest and long story short, she decided to buy everything and we left the store. And that’s the end of the story.
This took place last week, the same week that a member of European parliament said that women should be paid less than men.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that we’re in the 21st century. And I take for granted the fights that have been put up by so many women before me.
I have been super blessed to be born out of a line of strong women, and naturally, this makes me a feminist. I’m not the ‘rah-rah burn my bra’ kind of feminist, but when I hear people say that the fight still goes on, I nod and say, yeah, it does. Cause I’m still paying tax on my tampons and pads. Cause there was only 1 option of contraceptive pills in Singapore. Cause some guys found out I like spaceships and decided I’m too much of a boy to be attracted to.
In this little fight we’ve been having for centuries, I choose the gentler approach, which is first and foremost to treat other women equally – cause even that takes conscious effort. Just pause and reflect for a second and think about the time you discriminate people of the same gender just cause you think they’re less than you. I’m sure you have. I have, many times.
And secondly, to love the men in my life and treat them with so much respect. I believe in equality, but i absolutely love men and they have their roles in this life. And I believe that female energies are meant to be with male energies, in whatever forms of relationship it manifest. Without yang, there can’t be a yin.
And I love that I can be this soft, feminine creature that can be supported by the strong arms of a man. Which does not mean that I’m weak or can’t support myself at all. I just simply like the dance.
And it’s always a dance, isnt it? We take turns sharing the weight, supporting each other, in our unique ways.
And really, finally, which is the summary of the first 2 approaches, is really to treat every being (human, animals, plants, rocks) with the same love and respect cause hey, we’re all made out of the same cosmic dust.
So, Happy Women’s Day, folks! I am celebrating being a Woman and all the womanly qualities I have. But even above it all, I’m celebrating our progress towards a society where everyone treats each other equally, with love and respect.
Let’s continue the dance!