Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day to all my beautiful ladies out there. I know it has been a very long time since my last post and since March is Women's History Month, I thought this would be a great time to make a comeback. 

International Women's Day (IWD) is observed every year on March 8th. I wanted to share with you a few links regarding IWD's history, how it's celebrated around the world, and the UN's initiative for today's IWD. 

IWD's History and Webpage

How IWD is celebrated around the world:

UN's Initiative for IWD

To follow the events and news for IWD, see below:

Twitter: #womensday
Facebook: facebook/internationalwomensday

Before I end, I would like to share with you a quote that I found from the IWD's website.

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" Gloria Steinem

Until next time.

~La Femme

Friday, March 9, 2012

"If you don't have something nice to say.....SAY IT!"

Have you ever been in a situation, where you happen to run into an uncle or aunty somewhere after not seeing them for a while and during the conversation, they comment on how much weight you have gained OR how you should gain more weight?  Don't they always say it with a smile and never think that what they said was offensive?  They are just stating facts, right?  The last time I was in India, I remember one of my aunties was saying that since the last time she saw me, I have become more fatter and darker.  When she said this to me, it was right after my grandfather's funeral and I was actually eating.  I lost my appetite right then and stood there in shock.  I could not believe she had the nerve to say that to me especially when I am still mourning the loss of my grandfather. What is with our Indian culture having the mentality that it is okay to say negative comments in a blunt and insensitive manner?

Let's say for instance, that you have been told by many aunties or uncles that you're too skinny and that you need to gain weight.  Then a couple of months later, you actually do gain weight.  Now the aunties or uncles will say how you gained too much weight and you need to lose a couple of pounds.  Ironic, right?  They are never satisfied with anything and it's not just about weight.  It can be about any type of choices you have made: your major in college, your job, the house or apartment you live in, your husband or wife, the food you cooked, etc.  Somehow, they always have something to say about any type of situation.     

Some of you may be thinking, "They can't help it because they are speaking the truth," and you are probably right about that.  But, there is a better way to say this truth.  It is all about the delivery of the message and that is what our culture lacks.  They believe that they are stating the obvious and they don't understand that their thoughtless comments can be hurtful to others.  I believe in constructive feedback, where you not only state the fact, but you also have examples of ways that can benefit the person you're giving feedback to.  That way the person receiving this feedback will know this is coming from a sincere and genuine place from the heart.   

I know that we cannot change how our culture thinks that if you don't have something nice to say, say it, overnight.  It may never change.  However, I wanted to let others know that these types of situation are not just happening to you.  Many of us have heard those insensitive comments from uncles and aunties, even those that we are not close to.  While those comments can be hurtful, we have to realize that they will never been satisfied with whatever choices we make and continue in the journey we call life.  At the end of day, it's our life, not theirs. 

I would love to hear any feedback or stories that you have regarding this post.  

~La Feminista    

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Is it fair to be fair?

The obsession of having fair skin in the Indian community boggles my mind.  In India, you see the "Fair and Lovely" commercials where they promote a cream that should make your skin appear lighter within days or weeks.  All the Bollywood actresses are the fairest as they can be.  Have you ever seen an actress with a brown complexion in any of those movies?  In the matrimonial section of the Indian newspapers, girls (and guys) describe their complexion as "wheatish," "fair," "light," etc.  I don't remember reading any ads commenting the girls (or guys) on their brown, sultry complexion, have you?  How come having a fair complexion is better than having a darker complexion?  How is that "fair "?  

Until I was four years old, I was pretty fair skinned.  Afterwards, my complexion got more brownish, probably from being out in the sun while playing or I was just meant to have a darker complexion.  When I was older, I remember asking my dad why my complexion changed so fast after I turned four.  His response, "That's when you started to take your own baths."  Of course, that was a joke that he would say, but, when I really think about it, why is being brown not as satisfactory as being fair? 

You know the saying, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it."  Well, for Indians, I think it's the opposite, "If you don't have something nice to say, SAY IT!"  One thing that utterly bothers me are the comments I hear from family members and even from aunties and uncles who I barely know.  They would say, "too bad she's not as fair as her brother and mother" (both who are light skinned).  Really, who was asking you and why do you even care?  How come my brown skin is not appealing to you?  Most of the time, these uncles and aunties are the same complexion or darker than me, so I don't know why they pick on those who are not fair skinned, when they're not fair skinned to begin with.  

To all my feministas, don't be just comfortable, but, be confident within your own skin.  Beauty should not be limited to a person's complexion.  Who cares if you're fair, white, yellow, tan, brown, black, etc.  People should never judge someone for their looks or say that a person would look better if this or that was different.  What should really matter is what's inside.  That is what real beauty is all about.  "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched ... but are felt in the heart." -Helen Keller

~La Feminista

P.S.  Below, is a website where you can find more quotes on inner beauty.  Check it out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why 26?

Growing up in the Indian culture, it was instilled in my mind that a good age for girls to get married is between 24 to 26.  For guys, they can get married after 25.  I always found it odd, when there were girls that weren't married by 26, and how everyone in the Indian community would view them as if something was wrong with them.  They would feel sorry for them and say how hard it will be for them to find a man.  My question is, why 26?  Why is 26 the perfect age to get married?  Is a woman's value worth less after 26?

I always heard this timeline from so many aunties, "Get married at 26, have a baby in 2 years, and then have another one later on."  Why should life be so predictable?  Sometimes, I enjoy not knowing the unknown.  I think everyone should get married when they are ready, not because their time clock is ticking away, but because they found the one that they want to spend the rest of their life with.

Life is about taking risks and making choices for yourself.  My parents were so afraid to let me go into the real world, because it is rough out there.  They want me to be safe and do what is expected.  But, I think they forgot about one of the biggest risks they made, coming to America.  It wasn't an easy ride for them over here in America with adjusting to different lifestyles, the long hours at work, taking care of their family, etc.  Sometimes, my parents forget this huge risk that they encountered many years ago coming to America.  But, at this point in my life, this is the only chance I have to take some risks and live life to its fullest.

Throughout our lives, we are told by many (parents, siblings, friends, etc) about how we should live our life.  What we should really do, is listen to ourselves, listen to what our hearts are pleading for us to do.  We all have choices, some will want to get married by 26 and some will not want to.  Just know, that there is nothing wrong with making that choice, just as long as it is YOU who is making that choice.  "A person's life is not defined by age, but by the choices they make."

To all my beautiful Indian women, remember, your age doesn't measure your worth, because your worth is invaluable.

~La Feminista

Friday, July 1, 2011

Where was the transition?

Childhood for me was a blast.  Growing up, I was a tomboy, playing all types of sports, games, just being an active kid.  I remember riding my bike for hours on end, all over my small town, by myself.  If I try to go anywhere by myself now, twenty questions are asked by my parents, and I'm in my twenties, but before I was 12, I had a care-free life.  Sometimes, I wonder where was the transition for my parents to start restricting me from going anywhere.  Most likely because I was entering puberty and they didn't want me to meet any BOYS.  
Since my parents were born and brought up in India, they were pretty set in their ways and traditions.  As a teenager, dating was never an option or a topic my parents ever discussed.  I guess as a teenager, it was hard for me to open up to my parents because I didn't want them to worry, but most of all, I knew they wouldn't relate to what I was going through.  If I ever mentioned a boy I like, my parents would definitely be angry at me and tell me to stop liking the boy and focus on your studies.  When i was 14 or 15, I was cleaning out my desk in my room and my dad was helping me.  He came across a picture of a boy I liked and gave me this stern look.  When I saw this look, I knew at that moment what he found.  He asked me, "Who is this boy?"  My response?  I ran all the way downstairs to the kitchen, freaking out.  While my dad was coming down the stairs, I see him tearing up the picture and throwing it in the trash. So now, you would think, this would be a good time as a father to talk to my daughter about boys.  But, no, after that incident, we went along with our business and never spoke about it.  
From that story, you now understand how strict my parents were about boys.  Throughout college, there were guys I liked, a boyfriend here and there, but I never found "the one."  My parents never asked me about guys because they wanted me to pay attention to school and my internships.  After graduation, I started my job and was focused on my career.  But of course, some of your friends start getting married.  People start realizing that I am out of college, have a job, and the obvious next step is marriage.
A month ago, my mom asked me if I had someone.  When I said no, she asked if she can help me find someone.  "NO WAY," was my answer.  Some might ask, why not have your mom help?  But, let me ask you this, where was the transition that it was okay for me to find someone?  For the longest time, my parents were totally against me dating guys, having a boyfriend and were always suspicious of guys they saw me talking to.  And now, at 24, my parents are saying, "how come you haven't found someone by now, you're supposed to be planning your wedding!"  I'm sorry, how was I supposed to know that, when you were shooing me away from guys my whole life?  
Right now, I feel as though I'm not ready for marriage.  My mom asked me why I wasn't ready for marriage, and I told her that this is my time to be selfish.  Once I'm married, it's not just me, I have to care for my husband as well as me, and I'm not ready for that.  My mom didn't say anything, but I can tell she was disappointed by my answer.  After this conversation, I have been hearing from a few of my cousins and friends, that my mom asked them if they knew any guy for me.  I shouldn't be mad, but I am.  That part of my life is private, and I don't want many people who aren't close to me, discussing my personal life.  I know for a fact, people think that me being single is so sad, especially my parents.  They think that having a man in my life, would be the best thing, which I am not arguing with.  But, at this point in my life, I am not ready for "the marriage" stage.  I am a woman who knows what she wants, is something wrong with that?  I don't think so.