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I am Sangeeta Kampani, formerly from the IRS and retired as a Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi. Here is a small piece of verse— ‘ DNA of Feminism’ that I have composed for the ‘YourTurn’ section on the occasion of the upcoming Woman’s Day. It emanates from my personal experience of working outside home for decades and being constantly cast in the image of womanhood that society deems appropriate. These gendered expectations flow out of a monologue, not a dialogue. Even in 2022, every single rape that occurs is laced with conversations on women’s attire, on whether she was wearing a provocative dress, on why she was travelling alone at a particular time. Any voice against it is quickly labelled as a rebellion and meets stiff resistance. Moreover, sexism is all around us and yet no one seems to see it. A classic case of emperor’s new clothes! This composition, is an attempt to stir a conversation on a woman’s basic right to make her own choices ahead of 8th March, Woman’s Day.
DNA of Feminism
My friends insist sexism is long extinct
That I talk rubbish, all gobbledygook
That what I call conflict
Is a concoction I have cooked.
They insist mine is an insurrection,
Against the spirit of what a woman essentially is
Against the idea of what a woman ‘should be’
Against the discipline of gender
Against the demands of gender
Against the biology of gender
Mine is the assertion that biology cannot be destiny.
That if feminism has any DNA, it is anti-exclusionary.
I am told I should wear pin-striped pants to my job
A bow or a tie clipped to my business shirt,
I am told to dress more like men
To look more authoritative, gender-neutral for the right impact
I assert that that the emphasis on ‘presentation’ as the central aspect of my being
Is completely irrelevant.
I insist I want to dress up with elegance and femininity
I want to embrace who I am with authenticity
I insist I carry the world on my shoulders,
That I am capable of climbing every single boulder
That I should not be always made to travel in a loop of gender,
I insist that the power structure should accept diversity
The manifoldness of my being, of ideas, of thought
That I am not an item or a commodity or an object
That it’s time to stop virtue-signalling,
That I be assessed on the basis of my work
That only performance, not appearance be my judge
That I just cannot be the version of womanhood convenient to others
That I am no chameleon, constantly changing colours
That I can be appealing, pleasing, daring , maternal, reliable, efficient, sensual, sexual, mysterious
All at the same time.
Feminism is my right to be the way I am,
The bangles I choose to wear do not reflect my strength or vulnerability
Nor my clothes,
I can wear a dress, long or short
A dress, tight or loose
At the end of it, it has to be about me
And the choices I make.
These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.
Source: The Print