By Devina Gunawan
I am the beautiful woman you called “slut” on the streets, the one wearing running shoes and soccer attire. I am the one you insulted with penis envy.
I am the girl who pushed you away when you tried to kiss her in front of the Irish pub. The one who was dressed according to the school code, the one who never flirted back, and the one who refused to let go of self control, fully aware of the night predators and her own worth.
I am the person who told your daughters that they can be whatever they want to be, regardless their sex and gender roles expectations. I am the teacher’s assistant who spent extra hours tutoring your daughters who struggled in finding their own voices, because I believe that every girl should have a clear and loud voice.
I am that sign of “Read More” you spot in bookstores, because knowledge is a powerful weapon, and reading will help sharpen it.
I am that girl who joined the sports club despite being the only girl. I am the one who insisted that girls can be just as good as boys. And I proved them I was right.
I am the child who told her guy friends growing up, “Just because I am a girl does not mean I am weak and fragile,” and went home with bruises and victory.
I am the one everyone calls “bitch” in romantic relationships because she does not play the damsel in distress role. I do not believe in pretending to be someone I am not. That whereas I am an independent soloist, I cannot be anything else other than that.
I am that one noisy member in the family who defends women, the one who yells, “No!” when they start talking and pressuring others on the proper age for women to marry and have children. I am the one the older members glare at, and the one who cannot keep her mouth shut.
I am the 30% of an income that belongs to women, and I only want the world to be fair and return me to my true owner.
I am the friend who holds out the door for everyone, man and woman, the friend who pays for her own bills and for others. I am the friend who never uses the excuse of, “I’m the girl. Be a gentleman.” I am the one who tells you that she will take care of herself.
I am the stubborn voice of, “No thank you. I still have my arms and legs,” when a man insists on carrying her bags. I am the one they laugh at for refusing a gentleman’s help and offer. I am the one you will argue with because she will help carry your stuff instead.
I am the one woman who doesn’t owe you or anyone anything. The fighter who makes sure that she is in charge of her own life and decisions.
I am the pair of running shoes, the one made for women because of our curves and body structures, and the one pair with a runner who can run just as fast as the boys.
I am the unisex shirt worn by anyone of any gender. I am the love shared equally to you and me, everyone around despite their stories and history.
I am the one book that reveals too much, talks too loudly, and hides nothing. The book you do not want to touch because it is too noisy, the one that seems to challenge your division on sexes and expectations towards gender roles.
I am a force, an understanding that everyone has a heart and feels, all almost the same. I am a voice, a loud speaker with dreams and hopes, sometimes with a hint of fear that will eventually fade away. I am a choice, a way of life and a train of thoughts, a strange question in a world full of statement.
I am a woman, and I refuse to be what I am dictated to be – I refuse to see myself as weaker, when the truth is that a woman must be much stronger than man to handle monthly period and childbirth – I refuse to take the privileges offered to me only to later on hear, “Because a lady cannot handle this.”
Because I can be whatever I want to be, and I can handle whatever any other normal man can.
And I make sure that you know it. Because that is what I am.
A voice. A loud voice. A rebellion.