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May 2017
For all those men who think they can understand how it feels to be a girl,
You can’t.

You can’t understand how it feels to open your eyes in the world
With everyone looking down on you and your mother
Because they were expecting a boy and not a girl.
You can’t understand how it feels to be raised up differently than boys
Because boys will be boys
And girls, girls will always have to compromise and sacrifice
For every man to enter their lives.
You can’t understand how it feels to see boys running around, chasing their dreams
While girls are stuck with barbie dolls and fairness creams
And how they are trained to sit and stand and talk and eat
And oh, my God, girls keep your voices down
The society should not even hear you breathe.

You can’t understand how it feels when a girl is growing up
While she is considered as a toy by men around her
For all the ****** frustration
Did I say something wrong? I meant “for all the love and affection”
When he comes up and says
Oh, little one, don’t be scared, I am your uncle
And we are going to play a little game
It’s called you keeping your mouth shut and not calling it a ****.
You can’t understand how it feels to have a pair of eyes on you all the time
Whether you’re in your home or out in the streets.
There are men all around, staring you, tracing your body
As if it is their responsibility to check out every girl entirely
From head to toe, whether she’s in a burqa or a pair of jeans.
You can’t understand how it feels to carry the weight of all the honor
On tiny shoulders, which are supposed to be carrying school bags
Honor of your family, your community, the society
Even protecting the honor of men with fragile masculinity
Wrapping it all in duppatas longer than their *****
While hiding your own identity behind the tags that you’re given.
You don’t know how it feels to live a life designed by men
Making every single move based on someone’s decisions
Like a lion in a circus performing tricks to please an audience.
You can’t understand how it feels to listen to all the filthy jokes they crack
About girls getting better grades or washing dishes or driving in the fast lane
No matter what a girl does, no matter how much she gets successful
At the end of the day, it is all a joke on the dinner table.
“Go bring another gol roti, beghum”
You can’t understand how it feels to carry another life inside your body for nine months
Enduring all the pain and cramps and still doing all the work
While all you hear is how it is a woman’s job to give birth
And oh, to make sure that it is a baby boy
As if a woman has the choice to choose the gender.
You can’t understand how it feels when after all the struggle they tell you it’s a baby girl
Your heart fills up with joy and sinks down in your stomach
When you think about the fate that awaits her.
And you hold her close to your chest, trying your best to protect her
From all the people looking down on you and your daughter
For being a girl.


So, you can’t. You can’t understand how it feels to be a girl.
Because if you did, you would have wished
For it all to be just words.
Javaria Waseem
Written by
Javaria Waseem
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