My day isn’t done unless I read the Humans of New York (HONY) page: it reminds me of life’s lessons and our essential humanity without being trite or soppy. If you’re on Facebook, I would suggest following it– it’s probably the only page worth reading everyday. If you aren’t on Facebook, consider bookmarking it: all posts are public.
The HONY page essentially contains pictures of common people, with snippets of what they have to say. Each snippet is special in its own way, and shows us a different perspective. Who we are, who we want to be, who we wish we had been, who we’re thankful we’re not: universal emotions in the particular, with no judgment, and mostly, no commentary.
This post in particular held my attention recently:
“I want to have my own career. I don’t want to depend on anyone else. But there’s a view in our society that an independent woman doesn’t belong here. She is not ‘one of us.’ So if you want to do some things on your own, they expect you to do everything on your own. And that’s difficult. Because wanting to be independent doesn’t mean I want to be alone.”
This girl is from Pakistan, where Brandon, the man behind Humans of New York is currently on a tour. This line in particular, made me think: wanting to be independent doesn’t mean I want to be alone.
I’m from India, a country in many ways similar to Pakistan, and I understand what this young woman is talking about. In Asia (and I hear it is the same for women the world over, to varying extents), a woman has to make a choice: to be independent, or to be shunned by her society– too educated, too ambitious, too career-driven.
In certain societies, these terms become epithets for women, whereas, for men, these are words of praise.
Click to Tweet An ambitious woman, even in Western movies and shows, seems to have certain negative connotations. I wonder why.
My question to you, irrespective of whether you’re a man or woman, or identifying as any other gender:
Have you ever had to make a choice between being independent and having friends, family and the society in general stand by you? Have you experienced discrimination at your workplace based on gender?
If you’re a parent, do you see different challenges ahead of your children based on their gender? How are you equipping them to face these challenges?
Have your experiences in family, society or workplace ever made you wish you were a different gender? Any words of advice for the girl in this picture?
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