Farzana Aksha Zohora(Translated by Sabiha Sultana):
I don’t understand feminism. Never even needed to understand it. My father was the guardian. He used to do everything. My mother was the bodyguard who used keep eyes on us all the time. We studied in local school. Never faced any problems there- thanks to our parents. The first day of college, when I took the local bus I realized how much problem women have to face without parents. Since then I started to take care of myself. There were many girls in my college who came from villages to study. They surely had to face more problems than us.
We were lucky. Our father our educational cost. Never had any problem. But those people who used to bear their own educational expenses, their struggle for life was definitely more struggling than ours.
We had good economic condition. So my sisters did not need to worry about career after finishing their studies. Nobody even needed to consider any job. After marriage, they all became housewives. My father did not have any problem with that. But, sometimes my mother used to be sad that her daughters could not become anything in life. I know many women who had job even after marriage. However, there were other advantages along with their need. Otherwise marriage, job, kids cannot be managed all together.
My father’s earning stopped when he became sick badly. Family income was stopped.There was nobody else to earn in the family.Then I realized women also need to earn. They should not depend on just one person. Not everyone has parents. Even if they have, no one has a money tree. It is too hard and risky to run a family on the income of one person. I saw it myself. In one stroke, our family was at the door.
I am working since then. I believe every woman should earn. Otherwise who will take care of their parents? I tried to run that big family that time.Everyone was married and became mother in that age. People around me used to say that I am not beautiful. That’s why I don’t get married. That time it seemed to me that saving the family was more important than marriage. Even my younger sister started her jobafter her H.S.C exam. My father used to bring her home at night after office. Well, those who don’t have father or brother, who brings them home safely after office?
When our father became senseless at midnight, we felt helpless.We felt guilty because we were girls.Can you imagine, your father is so sick, needs a doctor immediately and you don’t even have enough money to call an ambulance. What would you do at night? Just think about that situation. Do all families have 2 or 3 male members present all time?
When you people say girls should not go outside at night, when you people say girls will be raped if they go out at night, it really makes me angry.I really cannot tolerate that anymore.
Why we women cannot go out at night if needed? Why there is danger in every step for us? Why the society cannot provide us safety? Why? Can you tell? Don’t girls need to have parents? Don’t they need anything at night? Don’t they need money? Don’t they get sick? Again a married woman cannot take care of her parents if her husband does not allow her.Then who would take care of her sick parents? Should she wait for them to die?
Being unmarried was helpful for me that time. I witnessed the struggles of women closely for some time. I also realized my own qualification and worth. Now when someone gives big lectures on marriage and motherhood, it makes me sad. Is the world same for everyone? Not everyone gets married or have children. Are they all unhappy?
My mother used to work in a school to raise us. But when my mother was sick and bed-ridden, who took care of her? No one. Everyone was so busy with their motherhood duties. Most of the women I saw, would do the same. This is what our society teaches us. But society never thinks that women also have parents. They also have needs. Is everyone millionaire?
After my father’s death, some people tried to seize our land at the darkness of night. That time, not a single man of this society came to stand beside us. Despite being women, my mother and I had to fight to regain our land.
When you people say women should not have this much courage, to those people, I would like to say women should be brave because they are women. Otherwise who would take care of their property? You? Or they are asked to remain weak to take possession of their property? Or to put them in streets to suffer miserably?
My mother and I had to build the house standing in the construction site with the workers. We had to buy bricks, cement, door, windows everything by ourselves. No one came to do these jobs for us. Instead people cheated us everywhere because we were women. They made us suffer. Because it is a sin to born as women in this society. But still we tried.
When you people use feminist as slang, I don’t know why it hurts me deeply. I am not feminist. Never even studied feminism. Even I don’t want to. I believe in fair religion. Society teaches us feminism is bad thing. I did learn that. I was only a woman. I was a woman who grew up watching her mother brave and strong as lion, who used to roar for her girls. I was a woman who managed the kitchen in her teenage, took care of her little siblings. A woman didn’t get married in her youth, who served her duties to her parents. That woman who wanted to become something in life.That woman who tried to bear all the burdens of her family in her youth. That woman who felt the struggle of other women closely. That woman who did not care about government job for her honesty. There are many women like her who do not know about feminism. But they struggled at every corner of life.These women have performed both men’s work and responsibility that was determined by the society.
I am that woman who deeply feels from her 35 years of life that women should actually be feminists.
About the writer:
Farzana Aksha Zohora currently resides in France. She completed her M.Phil in History from Jahanginagar University, Bangladesh. At present, she is the publishing editor of Paris Bangla Press Club.
Sabiha Sultana is currently a BBA student in Bangladesh University of Professionals. Her hobbies include reading books, free writing, debating, painting etc.