Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, July 21, 2019 01:39:37 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Letter to a five-year-old girl

photo by

By
26th-Dec-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Mili Saha :
Hi Girl,
I cannot remember your birth or your first birthday, but I watch the day you are going to school, your first world to step out. So far, you have been a child; a daughter of your parents, or a sister of your siblings. Right at the moment, you are coming out of the cocoon like a butterfly! You are stepping out in a space called the society that is an abode of segregating classes, ethnicities, races, etc. and a sanctuary of violence and inequity.   
You are in a new stage of developmental milestone, you still talk in an empty room, behave over the top. You still play roles of 'mommy-daddy,' but when your brother is 'Superman,' you have no role of 'Superwoman.' Your daddy is your hero, but nobody told you mommy is the 'superhero' who took the unbearable pain to bring you to life. Now you are ready to learn the language, math, and science; they will teach you everything there is, but won't let you know what is not there! You have only known 'who you might be,' but from now on you will recognize 'who you are.' But you cannot be 'self-identified'; your community will decide who you are. You know you are a child, now you will know you are a girl, not a boy! You will grow to be 'a woman' one day, but always 'a man' will be the 'head' of your family. Being 'girl' will let you grow as a cute, beautiful, and lovely counterpart to a handsome, intelligent, and quick 'boy'! If you are more intelligent than boys, people around you will be surprised. They will be amazed if you outperform your friends coming from a wealthy family and will criticize if you outsmart a friend coming from the dominant group.
Someday you will be in the 'teen' ages; you will have your puberty. Those stressed days of 'identity crises'! Along with the unexpected body change, family and friends will change too. Elderly relatives will impose restrictions on meeting and dating people. Obligations for staying indoors will confuse you, 'why is that for me and not for my brother?' From the very moment, your 'body' will be 'at risk,' male friends and relatives will cast an alluring look at you, for the first time. They will behave like an 'owner,' or your brother will take extra care of you when you are close to the outsiders. You will start being more 'shy' than earlier, whereas your female relatives will keep criticizing anything you do like a 'boy' or be close to them!    
Still, your school will not explain 'what is sexuality?' that you are yet to discover or help to come out with all these riddles. However, they will start preaching you to be quiet and submissive while teaching literature and social science since a girl should be so! You will never know about the mystery until you fall into prey of sexual assaults or forced sexes that you will always hide! You cannot share your agony since your community will 'stigmatize' you and 'ostracize' your family. Maybe you will experience these several times until you learn what 'chastity' is! And, you have already lost virginity before knowing what that is.  Remember, this is our conservative society which denies free-sex for girls, but accepts a rapist boy! You will be victimized by both known and unknown people at home and outside until you learn how to protect yourself.   
When you go to college or university, you will be in numerous collective and individual traps waiting for you, no matter if you are glamorous or not. They will tease or touch you, in fact, your body as a 'sex object' while you will be walking in a crowd. Your mental health or physical safety will be endangered at every moment you speak to a stranger, you sit in the class, you fail, or you succeed in protecting yourself. That is because you are a woman; because you have a particular body appearance enough for sexual amusement, only because your bone structure is smaller than the men, because you are vulnerable to 'masculinity', and because you will have menstrual and pregnancy! You will be an 'object' to play with and pursue the pleasure of trial rape! You will be a guinea pig for all sorts of sexual violence. No boy will be accused of doing that while you will be in close inspection, 'what's happening to your body?' Of course, nobody asks you what is going in your mind or what hurts you.  No one will come with help to protect you.  Even the families, relatives, and friends will be critical to your openness to love, sex, and boyfriends because you dare to act like a boy!                                                                                                     
'Becoming women' will change your identity to a 'liability,' although you earn money and honor for your family. You will be special recruitment as a 'woman' at your workplace, even if you are more talented and devoted than your male coworkers. Also, you will be the 'second priority' as a member of society. You have to wait for a man's consent to get a life partner, and if you cannot submit yourself to a man, you will be a 'faulty goods'! You will never know why you are a minority although there are many women (52%) around you! Though not statistically, you are 'othered' socially and unfairly. You will certainly have less 'power' and fewer 'privileges' than your male partner, although you are more intelligent, capable, and worthy! You are born to be inferior to a man only because you need a partner. If you wish to be equal, you will be alone.
You have had a beautiful and protected kind of life; you love your father, brother, and your sister. But you never know some other brothers or some fathers might not to be good enough to some one's sisters. You will be a woman who is an extended part of 'man.' Even if you do not like, you have to live with a man. Gradually, you will sacrifice your dignity, ego, and sensitivity to maintain a family. You will be more tolerant of 'rudeness' and 'harassment' to stay married only!  People will appreciate your maturity, though you will regret your defeat. You will sacrifice your youth, dreams, and joy to be the mother of a child that will be only yours. The community will ask the child its father's name first, instead of the mother's although the child is part of 'your' body.  Not that you will always enjoy honor and pride as a 'wife.' Being a wife is just a step up of being someone's kept, especially in a society where you are growing up! You may be a cuddly girl, a graceful lady, and a well established professional, but nothing goes higher than your identity as 'female' that is an indelible disgrace attached to your birth.                  
However, never feel down for all that goes around you. You are honest, responsible, determined, reliable, and independent. Your quality must take you far. Confidence is what usually coincides with an independent woman. Trust me; you are always 'enough' for your support. Sometimes you'll fall, of course. It hurts, but it teaches! Your heart will break, not once, many times. But, do not neglect yourself. Your journey will be thorny, but do not forget your potential. I promise, you will endure, and you will win. You will always be sensitive to your 'wound,' but I know you will turn all your sorrows to your strength! Because you are a girl, who is born unwelcome, brought up in a hostile neighboring, live in a hell of sexuality and dishonor, and die with painful memories.    
You are five years old only.  Keep your confidence up.  Keep your love unmatched.  Keep your relationships healthy.  Keep your smile beautiful. Learn for your happiness. Meet the world and deal with people. The world will display you everything I write here.  But never give up.  Stay true to your desires. You do not need to fear anything because you are not wrong. It is the society that is flawed. Just remember, "Even in the dark moments, there will be dark moments, but the wonderful wins. It always does."

Happy 5th birthday!!

(Mili Saha is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jagannath University, currently studying at the University of Toronto, Canada).            

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Administrative control over ACC only to happy the corrupts


ANTI-GRAFT campaigner Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concern and extreme disappointment over the government's decision for making Deputy Commissioners as authorised officers to oversee the Anti-Corruption Commission's work in the districts. The move will undoubtedly restrict the ACC's ability to fight graft and proper investigation into allegations of ...

Sports »

Penny drops for Canada's teen swim queen Oleksiak


Canada's Penny Oleksiak insists she has finally left the "weirdness" of capturing Olympic swimming gold at the tender age of 16 after finally recovering from a lengthy Rio hangover. Oleksiak, who is preparing for the world championships which begin in South Korea this weekend, stunned the sport when she dead-heated ...

International »

Thousands rally in support of Hong Kong police


AP, Hong Kong :Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of Hong Kong's police and pro-Beijing leadership on Saturday, a vivid illustration of the polarisation coursing through the city after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.Hong Kong has been rocked by more than a month of huge and largely peaceful protests-as ...

International »

US offers $7m to find Hezbollah agent as Pompeo visits Argentina


AFP, Buenos Aires :The United States on Friday offered a $7 million reward to find a Hezbollah operative accused of masterminding a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to unite Latin American nations against the militants.Pompeo visited to mark ...

Entertainment »

Shilpa Shetty to return to the big screen after twelve years


Shilpa Shetty is all set to make a comeback on the big screen after a gap of twelve years. The actress was last seen in Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby Deol starrer Apne (2007). Before jetting off on a holiday with family, Shilpa has green lit filmmaker Aziz Mirza's son Haroon ...

Editorial »

Corruption in WASA crosses all limits


THE Anti Corruption Commission has identified eight projects and three areas in Dhaka WASA where corruption takes place. The State enterprise keeps extending deadlines and increasing the costs of its projects to create room for corruption. In many cases, WASA did not carry out its work as per project designs ...

International »

UN reaches agreement with Yemen rebels to resume food deliveries


AFP, United Nations :The World Food Program has reached an agreement in principle with Yemen's Huthi rebels to resume food aid to areas they control, the agency's chief said on Thursday.Malnutrition is widespread in Yemen after four years of civil war, but the UN suspended deliveries of food aid to ...

Entertainment »

Shabnam Parvin’s Hurmoti film to be released after Eid


Entertainment Report :Viewers’ choice popular actress Shabnam Parvin has made a movie titled Hurmoti which is based on her own written story. Shabnam Parvin herself played the title role in the movie. Al Monjur wrote dialogue while script was also written by Shabnam Parvin herself. Shabnam Parvin informed that against ...

Editorial »

China funded projects: Delay would create problems


A JOINT working group has been formed to probe the slow progress of the 27 projects involving around $20 billion that China had agreed to provide during President Xi Jinping's Dhaka visit in October 2016. China has so far disbursed only $981.36 million -- less than 5 percent of the ...

Football »

Infantino reacts to Blatter criticism over Africa cleanup


AP, Cairo :FIFA president Gianni Infantino hit back at Sepp Blatter's criticism of the world soccer body's cleanup operation in Africa as a modern-day form of "colonialism."Infantino response on Thursday was: "I have to laugh about it."Blatter, the former head of FIFA who is serving a six-year ban from soccer, ...

City »

A vital portion of highway in Uttara near Armed Police Office is in dilapidated condition where big potholes and cracks following incessant rains for the last few days and works relating to metro-rail project, other development works. This photo was taken on Thursday.


International »

US against any country purchasing Russia's S-400 defence system: Pentagon


PTI, Washington :The US is keen to make its defence partnership with India stronger, the Pentagon has said, but made it clear that it is against any country purchasing military equipment, including the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, that is designed to counter America's sophisticated fifth-generation aircraft.The remarks by ...

International »

Sea-Watch captain Rackete faces Italian prosecutor over migrant rescue


AFP, Agrigento :German captain Carola Rackete, who sparked international headlines by forcibly docking in an Italian port with rescued migrants, faces questioning by an Italian prosecutor on Thursday over allegedly aiding illegal immigration.The captain of the Sea-Watch 3 is expected to be questioned in the southern Sicilian town of Agrigento ...

Entertainment »

Poppy supports Bobita’s remark


Entertainment Report :Nick name of internationally acclaimed film actress Bobita is Poppy. Due to acting in the big screen Bobita had to sacrifice her name Poppy. On the other hand, after starting acting in movies Poppy could keep her original name. Poppy sometimes feels pleasure when she recalls the original ...

Editorial »

Ensure hassle-free higher education for them


THE results of this year's Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations under country's 10 education boards were announced yesterday where the combined pass rate rose by 7. 29 percent - that means it's now 73.93 per cent from last year's 66.64 per cent. The number of GPA-5 achievers in the ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news