Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 07:17:33 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Letter to a five-year-old girl

photo by

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).            

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Nation's supreme sacrifice for independence must not go in vain

THE nation is set to celebrate 49th Independence Day and National Day today. This year, the Independence Day has got special attention following the announcement of United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng. The special envoy on Sunday said that UN will raise the ...

Cricket »

Brian Lara hopes to witness an India-Pakistan final in WC 2019

Former West Indies legend Brian Lara predicted India as favorites to claim the World Cup title.While the cricketing interactions between sub continental arch rivals hit an all-time low in barometer following never ending political disarray, Caribean living legend has foreseen a repeat of the 2017 ICC Champions' Trophy final where ...

International »

Venezuela crisis: Russian military planes land near Caracas

Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela's main airport on Saturday, reportedly carrying dozens of troops and large amounts of equipment.The planes were sent to "fulfil technical military contracts", Russia's Sputnik news agency reported.Javier Mayorca, a Venezuelan journalist, wrote on Twitter that he saw about 100 troops and 35 tonnes ...

International »

New Zealand's Ardern orders top-level inquiry

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered a top-level inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 people dead.She said a royal commission would examine whether police and intelligence services could have done more to prevent the 15 March shootings.A royal commission is the highest level of independent ...

Entertainment »

I am a part of a film that will help people see beauty in different light: Deepika

Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone has time and again exhibited her thirst for challenging roles with her diverse choice of films. Giving testimony of the same yet again, Deepika will be seen slipping into the skin of an acid victim survivor for Chhapaak and is exhilarated to give to the ...

Cricket »

Rumana receives T20 Team of the Year cap from ICC

Bangladesh Women's team star Rumana Ahmed received the 2018 ICC T20 Team of the Year cap from the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday, according to a message sent by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).Rumana is the first Bangladesh player to have been selected in the ICC squad. The right-arm leg-spinner ...

International »

Maduro vows ‘deep’ change in Venezuela government amid pressure

AP, Venezuela :Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro vowed a major shake-up in his government, a sign he is feeling pressure from U.S. sanctions and an international outcry for him to resign."I will in the coming hours announce new government methods and a profound change in the entire government of Venezuela," Maduro ...

Football »

England, France win big, Portugal held as Euro defense opens

AP, London :Big and slick wins for France and England. Not even a goal for Portugal.Even with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the Portugal side for the first time since last year's World Cup, the European champions could only begin their title defense with a 0-0 home draw against Ukraine.The goals ...

Sports »

Serena survives scare to advance in Miami

AFP, Miami :Serena Williams survived an "irresponsible" second set lapse on Friday to see off Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in her second-round opener of the WTA and ATP Miami Open."I wasn't really happy with my performance," admitted the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is playing in just her ...

Entertainment »

I was lucky that it wasn't a dance-off - Alia Bhatt

An Abhishek Varman directorial, Kalank starring Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sanjay Dutt has been making headlines ever since its announcement. It was just yesterday when the makers of the film dropped in the first song, titled Gharore pardesiya, featuring Alia and Madhuri ...

International »

Pope replaces Santiago bishop after abuse cover-up claims

Reuters, Vatican City :Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile, who has been caught up in the country's sex abuse scandal.A Vatican statement on Saturday said the pope had named Bishop Celestino ...

International »

May makes final push for Brexit deal with new timetable

Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Britain on Friday vowing to make "every effort" to win over MPs opposed to her EU divorce deal, hours after securing a delay to Brexit from European leaders in Brussels.The embattled premier faces daunting odds to persuade recalcitrant British lawmakers to back a plan ...

City »

Gonoforum President Dr. Kamal Hossain speaking at a press conference organised by Gonoforum at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday demanding safe road.

Editorial »

Modernise the railways and make it corruption-free

BANGLADESH Railway has been showing less importance and interest to recover its grabbed lands though thousands of acres of land are now illegally possessed by a section of influential people and some organisations. It has also no visible plan to use many unused lands across the country too. An initiative ...

Editorial »

Save Halda from dying

DEPARTMENT of Environment has revealed that waste from a housing estate and some factories are polluting the Halda river in Chattogram to the extent that it caused dying of fish. Currently, the pollution of the Halda is severely affecting the livelihood of adjacent people, in particular the fishermen. In June ...

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
Write a comment to this news