We often talk about some of the biggest challenges women face in their pursuit of social, political and economical equality in the world. But you probably don't know of the seemingly minor day-to-day battles we have to fight in order to exist. Here are some to wake you the hell up:
1. Squatting over a public toilet to do your business.
2. Not wearing a skirt or dress that's too short because it'll seem like you're "asking for it".
3. Carrying a pepper spray or keys as a weapon while walking alone on a deserted street.
4. Walking faster on an empty road in the night.
5. Letting the guy walking right behind you walk ahead to ensure that you don't get attacked.
6. Pretending to make a call while sitting in a rickshaw or cab to let the driver know that someone is expecting you.
7. Ignoring catcallers because it could get worse if you retaliate.
8. Covering your boobs in a moving rickshaw so that the driver doesn't see them bounce in the rearview mirror.
9. Staring down the rickshawala in the rear-view mirror to shame him into stopping.
10. Getting your sweaty thigh stuck to the rickshaw seat and leaving an ass-shaped sweat imprint.
11. Wearing your backpack in the front in crowded places to avoid being groped.
12. Not wearing a top that shows cleavage because it invites letching.
13. Having a guy friend drop you home if it gets too late in the night.
14. Carrying an extra pair of clothes and toothbrush in case you can't be dropped home.
15. Trying not to seem too friendly or chatty with a guy because it could give them the wrong idea.
16. Having your pad travel to the washroom in your handbag because no one can know that you're on your period.
17. Trying to salvage period blood-stained underwear by vigorously washing it.
18. Paying tax on a necessity like sanitary napkins because the government thinks it's "luxury".
19. Using bunched up toilet paper as an emergency substitute to sanitary napkin when you're out.
20. Being scared of staining someone's couch or bed with period blood.
21. Having to push the bra straps back in all damn day.
22. Holding your boobs in place while running down stairs.
23. Trying to pick a bra that won't be visible in a see-through top.
24. Waxing before wearing a skirt or dress or cut-sleeve blouses because women can't have hair eww.
25. Diluting an opinion with "if you don't mind" or "sorry but I think" to not seem too pushy.
26. Staying on a WhatsApp group despite the sexist jokes everyone keeps sending there.
27. Getting trolled on the group for being a “feminazi” if you point out the sexism of said Kapil Sharma-grade jokes.
28. Having professional achievements disregarded because "aage chal ke toh ghar hi sambhaalna hai".
29. Putting up with statements like "girls can't play sports" and "you're a woman, how can you not know how to cook?"
30. Wearing makeup so people don't ask if you're sick all day.
31. But not wearing too much make up, because then you look "unnatural".
32. Having to listen to men explain things you already know about, a great deal more than them.
33. Having men explain to other people the meaning of what you just said.
34. Getting paid less for doing the exact same work as your male coworker.
35. Pretending to be patient when men talk over you.
36. Pretending to respect aunties who keep advising your folks to make you quit your job and just settle down.
37. Being told that "feminism scheminism" is unnecessary in India because women aren't treated as badly as we make it seem, and to thank our stars for not being born in "Saudi Arabia".
Srishti Dixit is a Bollywood/celebrity writer for BuzzFeed and is based in Mumbai.
Contact Srishti Dixit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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