Fiction

Where our lexicons fall short

By: Annapurani Vaidyanathan

The Oxford English dictionary defines a woman as an adult female human being, and stops right there,
But the templates wired into our heads go ahead and decide what adjectives she can wear –
She’s good if she’s a daughter who is timid, and poised, and demure,
She’s good if she’s a wife who steps back for her man and holds back her stand even if he’s an obnoxious boor,
She’s good if she’s a mother, she’s good if she’s a daughter-in-law that knows how to endure,
She’s good if she’s weak-kneed and shy and doesn’t complain or whine,
Oh, she’s good if she’s okay to forgo her pride and her success and her shine,
But hey, she can’t stop in her tracks, she can’t pause to think, she can’t want to unwind,
She can’t question, defy, or rebel, for they are accessories quite unbecoming,
She can’t choose the path she wants to tread, for women can’t go after their calling,
She can’t grow wings and fly into the sky, she can’t dream of scaling new highs,
She can’t be loud, she can’t be wild,
She can’t want to swim against the tide,
She can’t be courageous, she can’t be curious,
She can’t fight for what is rightfully hers,
She can’t aspire for a career, she can’t know how to pull herself out of a quagmire,
She can’t want to stand out, she can’t want to be an outlier,
She can’t be tenacious, she can’t be the wind beneath her wings,
She can’t expect the world to be kind, she can’t fight back if she gets sidelined,
Oh, she definitely can’t be driven, she can’t be independent,
Because our lexicons just don’t have the space for a woman who knows how to speak her mind.

Categories: Fiction

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