Girl, You Got This! By Isuri Kumbukage

Young Feminist Network is hosted by Everystory Sri Lanka. The Network brings together young women and girls in Sri Lanka interested in issues of gender, feminism and activism together to learn from each other, collaborate on projects, be connected to funding and other opportunities, mentoring opportunities, how to better shape their ideas and work, tools they can use and more. This will be an informal network built collectively with the members and their ideas/needs.

This piece first appeared following a call for submissions in the Young Feminist Network by ESSL newsletter for the Month of September2020

“What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?

That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.”-Rupi Kaur

How many of you girls have been told that you should always be the nicer one in an argument, that it’s not nice to raise your voice and that you can’t expect men to be different just because “that’s who they are”? Aren’t men “the way they are” because that’s what society has taught them to be? We live in a very patriarchal society where girls and women are labelled a radical, a misandrist and are called attention seeking when we choose to speak against the unfairness of it all. When we are shamed for speaking out, this is when little by little we begin to accept the fact that it is what it is and decide to just go with the flow because isn’t that the easier route to take? The same route our grandmothers and mothers chose to take during their day, the route that has led to this unjust society.

We need to stop normalizing being told to keep our mouths shut just because “this is Sri Lanka, not America”. Instead let’s encourage girls and young women to stand up for each other and also for themselves because if they don’t, who will? Our opinions might make us look less beautiful in the eyes of the society but it’s time we stop confusing anger with kindness every time society yells at us and tries to tie us down while telling us that it’s out of love. Growing up, we are told to be this kind of princess, all fragile and delicate but as we get older we realize that it isn’t easy for this princess to survive in this society. Our girls need to be told to become warrior princesses instead, who will fight for their rights and not bow down to the cruelties they face.

People around us will always tell us that we need to stop trying to change things because it is what it is and it has been like this for years. But as Angela Davis once said, let’s not accept things we cannot change. Instead, let’s change the things we cannot accept. Here’s to a future where women are socially afforded the same respect as men.

Image Credit — fineartamerica

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Everystory Sri Lanka

Everystory Sri Lanka (formed in 2018) is a collective of young Sri Lankan feminists identifying as a storytelling collective.