Welcome to SNEHA's EXPRESSION!! India's Feminist and Personal Development blog for WOMEN, which focuses on Self-acceptance, Self Improvement and also dwells on topics like Slut shaming, Fat Shaming, Marital Rape & Periods taboo. MBA 2012, Sneha left her job at IBM in 2018 and ventured into blogging accidentally after she discovered her love for writing.
Currently writing her first novel, she wants to pursue her dreams of becoming an author.
Are we so afraid to fail that we do not even want to try? Have we conditioned ourselves to believe that we can’t do it? That, it is not possible? Today I will tell you a story that I read in the thoughtcatalog.com
As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. ‘Well,’ trainer said, ‘when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.’ The man was amazed.
These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
So what does this teach you? Believe in yourself. If you think you can’t do something, then you are training your mind to believe that you cannot, and hence you do not succeed. Not failing isn’t important, what matters is whether you get up or not after you fail. Do not give up when you slip and don’t let fear of failure from the past hold you back in the future. It took me a lot of time to understand that there is nothing You cannot achieve if you believe in yourself. Do you agree that believing in yourself increases your potentiality? Drop in your comments.
We had Women’s Day this week, so let’s talk about our favourite kick-ass female characters from our favourite novels. Has anyone inspired you?
I admire her desire, passion and ruthlessness. Manipulative, vain and stubborn, Scarlett O’Hara knows she is the most stunning and attractive looking woman in her state. The major life lesson we can learn from her is to never give up. You can always find a way to survive because tomorrow is another day. So start fresh. She is passionate, determined and doesn’t bow down to the norms and conformities of society. If you like ruthless grey shaded characters, don’t forget to read Gone with the Wind.
Anne Shirley of “Anne of Green Gables” is an orphan who comes to Prince Edward’s place to live but is an immediate disappointment as they want a boy to help with chores. She has her fits of temper but her flaws will make you love her more. She is always curious, lively and strong willed. She is also smart, ambitious, imaginative and loves reading and writing. She is never afraid to speak up or stand up for herself.
One of the strongest literary characters, Melanie, the frail and good-hearted wife of Ashley Wilkes, is a silent epitome of strength. Calm and compassionate, she is the moral compass of this novel. Yes, she is another amazing character from Gone with the Wind. Though Scarlett has mostly disliked her for being goody two shoes, Melanie has always loved Scarlett like her own sister. She is kind, loving and fiercely loyal. She has the tendency to see good in people, even when they are clearly not having any good attributes.
Jane from the book, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, is easily one of my favourite fictional heroines. Though at times you may find her a little weird or eerie, you will eventually fall in love with her. She spends a lot of time as a wallflower. In fact, she even tries to hide herself in the story. Jane lives ‘in her head’ a lot. Though for the initial ten years, she has been bullied and harassed, but then without any support she rises up against oppression. She always stands up for herself and this is something we all should learn from her.
Emma from the book “Emma”, is a 21 year old Jane Austen heroine. She is lovable but not infallible. Unlike the majority of women, Emma refuses to be influenced by societal norms and expectations of how a woman should behave. Emma is not vain about her looks. If she has an inflated ego, it’s because of her brain.
Drop in your comments stating your favourite literary characters.
Here’s our guest blogger Shravani, from https://filmcoast.in/ with her poem. She rants that she is tired of the one-day ritual that “Women’s Day” has come to be. Of celebrities and politicians who will milk this to no end. She says everyday is a women’s day. It’s her day.
“It’s Her Day”
It’s that day of the year again
When noises will crawl
Through the air,
Calling her names,
And wrapping her with tags
She is too tired to wear!
Beautiful, and bold
Are the only hand-picked cherries,
She is allowed to hold.
Free cocktails, glittery make-up,
and apparel discounts,
Internet quotes parroted
And tucked in a gold mount,
Stories of moms and sisters
And friends who beat the odds,
Are fed to her year after year
This is the day, they say
She can rub shoulders with the gods.
Forgotten are her cracked soles,
Playing even dad’s innings
Day after day,
That’s a mother’s job, they whisper
“So suck it up and play anyway.”
Suppressed, lay her dreams
Her wings tethered to a world
Of their design,
She just topped her school, alright,
But it’s her brother touring
greener pastures, and she is “fine.”
Cubicles, hospitals, schools
Boardrooms and more
Her cries of equal pay
Burn incessantly, till they are cast
Aside on the shore.
She asks for a little rest,
They give her none,
She wants to stop sharpening
Her claws everyday,
And have one less battle hard-won.
She is tired and grumpy
Angry and moody,
Hardly glossy and perfect
As they forever paint her,
She simply exists as in
Many shades as they do,
But branding her bossy, stubborn
Loud and slutty
is all they can do to taint her.
And so, when This Day rolls
Over to the next morn,
She will don her armour, as always
And prepare to be reborn.
The flowers they sent her
Will wilt away in patriarchy’s din
As she drapes herself for the day,
Over toughened bones and skin.
Readying herself for the next climb,
Cool enough to pat herself
For the last one conquered.
She will shrug her shoulders
And sip some wine,
And prop her feet up
Over the imaginary “line”
Any day of the year she chooses
Because everyday is Her Day.
Happy EVERYDAY to us ladies!
For Guest post submissions, contact us . You can drop in your comments.
A chance encounter of a moral policing incident on television the other day gave me the impetus I needed to write this. In another bizarre incident, the Tamil Nadu police picked up a few couples who were sitting in a park and took them to the police station as they were unmarried.
Dear cops, society well-wishers, moral police brigade and other interfering busybodies,
Who gave you a right to character assassinate or demean others in the pretext of “safeguarding Indian culture”?I have witnessed many incidents where a woman is shamed for her clothes.Till a woman is not parading naked on the street (or even if she is) who gives some cop or “society aunties” a right to question her character. Whether she chooses to wear a saree or a gown is her choice. That doesn’t make her any less Indian.
When a woman is molested or abused, people ask her,what was she wearing that day. Isn’t it ridiculous? I mean, does it even matter? Why are we Indians so defensive and insecure about our fragile masculinity and continue to support our patriarchial roots? If a woman is abused because of wearing revealing outfits, then why do infants get raped?Instead of shaming the accused, sadly our society believes in shaming the victim.
“She should have dressed decently”
“She shouldn’t have partied with men”
“She drinks and smokes so she must be available”
“She asked for it”
Our society has a rule book for how “decent women” should behave (which is nothing but oppression against women and ways and means to do so) but why are there no such guidelines for how men should behave?
I always tell my mother, when I have children, I am never going to teach my daughter to cover herself and dress “decently”, instead I’ll teach my son to not objectify women and to respect them.
Regressive thinking is ingrained in our society which strips our freedom to dress and behave as we please.
Our constitution gives us the right to freedom. Freedom to live life the way we want with our head held high. When these “Slut shamers” character assassinate us, they don’t realize that how prominently they display their narrowmindedness and in turn destroy the image of our nation.
Why should people assume that when a girl wears a short dress she wants men to ogle at her? Why is the length of someone’s dress considered a measure of her consent? Sadly “moral policing” and “slut shaming” has become a norm in our society.
Though obesity is a serious health issue, and there is a need to educate people to eat a healthy balanced diet, ridiculing and fat shaming is offensive and a sign of bullying. In a recent interview to Filmfare, Bollywood Actress Vidya Balan shared,” Years ago, I stopped watching my shots on the monitor at shoots because I would look at the monitor and be thinking, am I looking fat? Even at my thinnest, I have always felt fat. When I was a teenager people would tell me, You have got such a pretty face,why don’t you lose some weight?“
As opposed to general assumption that “Overweight people = eat a lot” , obesity could be due to medical conditions like PCOS, hormonal imbalance etc.
Blame for fat shaming
Unfortunately, there are many sitcoms, movies and web series where fat-shaming is rampant. If you are still wondering whats wrong with fat shaming , then let me tell you something. Constant messages regarding why a slim body is a sign of perfection is drilled in our minds through advertisements and internet which unfortunately causes low self esteem. Insecurity leads to misconception that being skinny is beautiful and vice versa. Recently, Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia retorted, “Fitness is a priority and not ‘fitting into’ society’s standards regarding looks” to a fashion magazine for an article fat shaming her.
Being overweight during my teen years, I have always felt ugly, under confident and ended up with low self esteem. It took me a lot of time to love myself and accept the way I am . Self-acceptance is crucial. Instead of killing ourselves over looking slimmer or a shade fairer, we should learn to accept ourselves the way we are.
I have always been an under-confident girl in my childhood. In some ways, I still am. The “Stop Being Shy ” and ‘Be Confident’ advice from my parents, friends and teachers didn’t help me one bit. I have always been an introvert, feel drained while talking to people and always feel recharged when alone.
I think we need to stop chasing self confidence. Of course it’s nice to be a bold and confident woman who is life of every party, but what if you ain’t cut for it?
Let’s stop being critical and become compassionate. The pressure to be above average, if not something unique, is daunting. We need to be kind to others and ourselves too.
Don’t let anyone bully you. Don’t give others a chance to decide for you. And most importantly, Do not let anyone treat you like shit or demean you.
Do things which make you happy. If you like reading novels, read them. If you are fond of swimming , then do it. Do things which make you happy. And most importantly respect yourself. Atleast for me, Self respect and self compassion holds more importance.