Feminist Writing. Fourth Wave. For Women.

“Girlhood” through the eyes of a Muslim WoC — a narrative essay on how the epitome of white feminism is gender ideology.

“Girlhood” through the eyes of a Muslim WoC — a narrative essay on how the epitome of white feminism is gender ideology.
Photo by Amy Treasure / Unsplash

To most, childhood is regarded as an innocent, nostalgic time filled with fun and freedom before the cruel nature of reality inevitably hits one hard, when and how heavily the truth of this world rears its ugly head to the innocent predetermined by things out of one’s control and thereby forcing the unfortunate to prematurely mature.

Girlhood, in particular, centers the experiences of female children. But what exactly does girlhood entail? There's way too much controversy around this topic. What does it mean to be a girl?

Makeup, princess/fairy dresses, pink poorly painted nails, sparkly fluffy rainbow unicorns, going to the mall, whispered conversations between strangers in bathroom stalls as they exchange hygiene products under the stall divider things, or playing truth or dare at sleepovers as you gossip and fawn over boys... when you hear the word "girlhood", which of these caricaturized Hollywood-movie-like stereotypes come to mind? do you think of Dylan Mulvaney's infamous "Days of Girlhood" series on TikTok? Is girlhood prancing around in the woods in heels giggling while being scared of bugs?

Is girlhood a universal experience? Is it a state of mind/way one acts? Is a "not-yet-mature-enough-to-call-myself-a-woman" just a societal construct, a biological reality for being female? when do "girls" become "women"? Why does any of this even matter, and why is it being debated?

I'm just gonna say right now that the fetishized AGP skirt-go-spinny version of girlhood is far from reality for a majority of girls.

Girls are said to mature faster than boys, both physically and metaphorically. Actually, a lot of women associate girlhood in its entirety with trauma and abuse, and some people seem to praise transwomen for their sparkly-lens view of girlhood for some reason which makes absolutely no sense but that's not related rn.

The easiest way to know what something means is by reading the dictionary definition of these words.

so, what is girlhood? Google says "the state and time of being a girl"

huh. then what is a girl?  "girl" means "female child".

now here's a big one, what is " female"?

before I answer that, here is some backstory: I am a teenage, Muslim, woman of colour. I was lucky enough to grow up in Canada since my parents immigrated here to give us a better life but things were still very difficult for me growing up.

Oh, and by white feminism, I don't mean that white women are evil, white feminism usually refers to how this certain brand of feminism centers the experiences of middle-class white women or whatever leaving WOC and the poor to be ravaged to shreds by the wolves, but by white feminism I mean that gender ideology centers the experiences/worldview/feelings/"reality" of some of the most privileged people on the planet: Homophobic, misogynistic, white/first-world-country-residing human heterosexual males, "transbian" people, as they like to call themselves. I'll elaborate on this later, and here's an article that really inspired me to write this, but anyway, let me finish my story.

I was still raised according to the sexist desi culture my parents brought with them so I grew up being taught that my needs always came second to men's.

In general, As someone at the near bottom of the hierarchy, I was always taught that I was below others.

Women were supposed to serve men, we were gentle, kind and subservient, we were to do all chores, cook and clean and prioritize accommodating for their comfort even at the cost of ourselves. We be quiet and obeyed. We slave away in the kitchen creating meals while men relax in the living room and wait to be served. Girls take care of kids and do dishes from early childhood while “boys will be boys”. Play video games and be favoured by mothers. Whenever someone’s having a baby they wish for it to be a boy (my grandma always does this, she always wishes they have fair skin too, a lot of colourism and messed up stuff because of it, like how Eurocentric our faces should look to be beautiful, the massages given to babies to try and shape their facial structure, specifically noses, etc). Boys work and support the household financially, women are burdens we need to give money away for (like dowry, thank god Islam does the opposite of dowry with mehr, I love how much rights Islam gave to women). That’s culture. (people always confuse/mix culture and religion/islam for no reason and it's wrong).

We were lesser, we were commodities, we were burdens. We needed to be beautiful and fair-skinned, we needed to hide our bodies and bodily functions, we needed to serve and never fight back. Puberty made things worse, stricter. Maybe before we could play with boys almost as equals, now though? We needed to be ashamed of the fact we were women. things I learned as I went through puberty from my mom was like, to always hide my chest and used menstrual pads, wrap them up in toilet paper before throwing them, because like, how dare I develop during puberty PUBERTY AND GAIN have curves? Cover them up you’ll make the brothers uncomfortable. Allah gives women a break from prayer and fasting when they get their period... but my mom said I must Fake pray to please my brothers. You got your period you’re not allowed to go on the school trip. You’re filthy. Be quiet and obey, don’t tell anyone you get hit, don’t tell anyone you got touched, it brings shame to the family, you need to be housewife material, you also need to be smart and perfect, expectations expectations expectations. Don’t leave the house/be outside at night/after dark. Never walk alone, cover up in modest clothes. There's also the societal thing of " Dress like a slut and you’re asking to get raped".  No one’s going to believe that you got ___. Get married at a young age have kids do chores for your in-laws (after slaving away at home for years), be a housewife know how to cook and clean etc. The more you grow up the more innocence is lost.

This is what girlhood and womanhood is like. I am female, so I’ve been abused in like every possible way, in my other article I wrote on why sexed spaces enrich my life (another detailed read, whoa its weird knowing I wrote a whole article) mentioning trauma like how I was repetitively sexually abused when I was like a toddler by a white boy tenant who was older than me and other males in my home being super abusive, the only good man I met in my life was my dad.

But then again, good things don't last long. Eleven-year-old me could only be reminded of the cruel actuality of existence with my father's sudden diagnosis of stage 4 bile duct cancer.  My life was already hard enough as it was, on top of being the youngest of 7, but, as always, the world did not accommodate me or make it so I would be able to have a somewhat of a normal childhood. The world is not kind or fair, it never was. It cruelly and relentlessly keeps piling more and more hardship onto me, day by day.

Humans forget how tiny and insignificant they are in the grand scheme of things. It is humbling to remember that time will always move on, with or without you. The earth will keep spinning, life will flourish, grass will keep growing and the wind will continue blowing regardless of your existence. Life waits for no one. Time will not wait for you. There was no time for recovery, much less for any of those experiences that childhood is known for. Have you heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? One has to address more urgent matters like food, water, shelter, those physiological things, then even safety to be able to set that foundation of survival before they can build upon that and do less important things in order of how necessary it is. You have to be alive to find love and belonging, to manage mental health and build healthy self-esteem, to dedicate time to cognitive development, and finally work toward self-actualization. Modern society makes it so many are privileged enough to have been cared for and provided for, making it so many can work on their individual wants and function ideally in a capitalist society based upon individual success. In my case and honestly many others, life was always in survival mode. We cannot reach the stage of self-discovery and focus on wants when we are deficient in basic needs. We cannot properly build on a foundation full of holes.

The truth is, no one is going to come and save you. Everyone is on their own, busy with their own lives, and, in the end, the only person one truly has is themselves. No one else is truly responsible for you or will truly suffer the consequences of what you let happen to yourself other than you. Life will move on with or without you, we are all just another nameless face among many others. no one will stick around with you for your entire existence, the only person forced to stay with you is you. You are the only person that really needs yourself to be cared for. Sure, even though everyone is going through something and no one’s life is perfect, one cannot claim that everyone has had equally hard lives. If life were equitable and accommodating for all, we wouldn’t have to still fight for rights. There is a clear hierarchy in human society.  As long as things like glass ceilings, white privilege, homophobia, islamophobia and racism and all those other forms of oppression and unnecessary hate caused by ignorance that exist, no one will ever be equal or given a fair chance in this world. Being someone who is basically marginalized by society in every way, I can not be blissfully unaware of certain issues like the ones who don’t have to deal with this stuff.

Unfortunately, some people in society think that the world needs to bend backwards to accommodate their narcissism. we need to reframe our whole worldview and life experiences to center them and their bs privileged self-identification. they have the gall to claim to be the most oppressed and vulnerable people in the world and take big words that affect my people like genocide just because someone refuses to play along with their luxury delusions about changing sex or that gender stereotypes actually even matter.

It was isolating to live the way I did, carrying the weight of all the misfortunes I had experienced. My lifestyle had alienated me from my peers and I found difficulty in trying to relate with them. It was as if they were speaking a different language, memories rich with positive, normal children's activities, talking about their food (they got lunches packed by their moms every day! plus they got snacks, and didn't seem to eat cereal that had bugs in it! they could afford hobbies like playing video games, they could talk about luxury shoes instead of having to buy shoes bigger they'll grow into from Walmart every couple of years!) discussions about more topics and interests than I could ever imagine were possible. It was okay for them to be immature, there was no imminent danger for many of them. There was no intense situation that was more important than having time to indulge themselves and develop their personalities.

Why is it that while in elementary school, I had to watch my dad slowly weaken, day by day, and deal with whatever the hell was going on at home that day because of my crazy family but while at school I would silently observe my classmates (ngl I was lucky to even be in school and have classmates but anyway) cheering about going on the expensive ski trip or the camping trip, bragging about all the games and places their parents bought them but still wanting more. More? What seemed like a dream come true to me was not enough?

The disorienting Culture shock had introduced yet another layer of conflict and unknowns that I desperately tried to rationalize. I didn’t know what to believe and, as I was, I had to think twice before every action, and craft an appropriate response to every situation. I had to consider how I could never afford to go on some of those trips, lest I be a burden upon my family.

My mind was always busy, calculating ways to keep myself safe and keep my priorities straight. I could not afford to be vulnerable. I thought ahead and reflected as I desperately tried to guide myself on my own. I could not afford to make mistakes and I had to play my part. I had to be the mature child, or rather, the child nobody had to worry about. Someone being told that they are mature for their age isn’t anything about them acting adult-like, it’s just code for how they are acting like someone without needs. This phrase is a great way for adults to manipulate and ensure these low-maintenance children stay less of a hassle. A technique to prey upon the insecurity and innate desire in every child to grow up and be independent, the feeling of freedom and control they expect to get to give them a sense of satisfaction and the feeling of having an identity that they mean something, that they are unique and important… just a single sentence that can misguide a child and tear them away from their dependence upon their guardian despite them not having the mental capacity to do. It is an effective trick, it surely has the pedophiles’ seal of approval, that's for sure.

My mind was always chaotically occupied, aware of and trying to make sense of multiple, conflicting perspectives of reality while crumbling under the weight of knowing that the cancer, like a parasite sucking away at his life force, was deteriorating the man who was the foundation and stability of my family. It was all just unfathomable.

Like any young child, my parents were like God to me. All my naive, developing sponge of a brain could understand was what I had been exposed to up until that point. Were humans really that fragile…? Even my father? My father is the strongest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet, a man who supported the entire family and more on his shoulders alone, without ever faltering or complaining. An immovable mountain, that, despite its intimidating stature, was loving and kind. He was home, safety, warmth, and peace, always carefully nurturing every life no matter if the recipients are grateful or not. He was the provider, but just like every kind and selflessly giving resource, he was taken advantage of.

It is always the giving that are abused, taken advantage of, and eventually destroyed by the ungrateful. My father was the ideal man, but what is the perfect man other than one that has fallen prey to adhering to all expectations and stereotypes that he must conform to?

My dad flawlessly played out all the roles he needed to, from being a father, a hardworking immigrant/employee, a Muslim man, a brother, a son, a husband… there were multiple roles, each with standards and expectations seemingly set in stone by human society that he had to conform to. Just like a mountain, he stood strong, yet even the strongest rock is eroded by a misplaced stream of water, like the tiny, individually insignificant droplets of water that slowly went drip drip drip from the roof onto the driveway, over time creating a huge crater. Everything piles up and destroys you if you are not careful. It was my naive view of human mortality that had my hair standing on end as I stood in the hospital late in August, right before middle school began.

Summer is supposed to be a fun break, where one my age goes swimming at the beach to escape the heat, their hearts bursting out of their chest with excitement due to all the freedom and activities they could do before summer ends. No worries or responsibilities, what a dream. My body was too busy trying its best to manage and adapt to conflict occurring both internally and externally.  I wasn’t sure how much more I could take, yet I continued trying my best to fight back. The gentle warmth of the summer sun everyone basked in was instead scalding to me, the radioactive rays of light coming from the outside mutating me into something different, something dysfunctional that will never be the same again. But nothing my body did when faced with the oven that was the external situation was enough to even slightly thaw the sinister, icy fist of reality crushing my heart, ready to shatter me into nothingness. But I kept running. There was no time. The last thing I expected to see when I burst through the curtains of the emergency room was the state of my father. A kind, jolly man, one who was always the pillar of support… how could this once chubby man be the same as the skin and bones sprawled upon the hospital bed?

With much effort, my previously innocent eyes met his… yet all I saw were tired, sunken eyes that I could not register as my youthful father. I walked up with to him a false smile and pretended that my dad wasn’t so weakened that he couldn’t say a word. Yet his once firm hands, the same hands with those gentle fingers, ones that caressed my little cheek to wipe my tears away and carried me to bed when I pretended to fall asleep in the car…those same hands, that were once the most stable grounding thing I’d ever known… despite how they were shaking, despite how bony they had become, despite how much the man attached to them was suffering… these hands reached out to me as I approached the bed and tried to comfort me? I stood in shock as my facade shattered into nothingness. Instead of the 12-year-old standing there, I felt like a child being comforted after a nightmare, the loving hands and the attempted patting of my head… in that state, he is still trying to comfort me? ME? The dam broke. I couldn’t hold the tears back, or keep the smile plastered on my face, I turned away, attempting to hide the distress peeking out of the shattering mask, proof I was too weak and unable to keep the strong exterior that my dad always had.

I was not enough, running like a coward to hide my unworthy face, yet I could not run away from the truth. The clock was ticking and as the days passed, I thought everything was going to be okay. Dad was invincible, right? Yet rage burned inside me as I failed to understand why my cousin was trying to comfort me and ease me into the implication that my father could die…? Was it rage or perhaps bitterness that had me internally seething, I refused to accept these powerful emotions, this hard-to-swallow truth because there's no way it can be the truth, it can't be true… or rather, what does it mean if it is true? I blinded myself, seemingly unaware that this anger redirected toward my cousin was truly just a mask hiding many powerful feelings of pain, insecurity, and fear. I was aware at some subconscious level that I was being irrational, that this hopeless denial I held on so tightly and my unconscious bargaining prayers to god were just coping mechanisms, that my cousin wasn’t to blame, yet my feelings were so intense that I didn’t allow myself to feel or process that. I didn’t want to… but the next time I saw Dad, his skin was cold to the touch. I stared at his body, catatonically, desperation clawing out of the depth of my soul and BEGGING his chest to rise and fall one more time. Just one more time. Time stood as still as my teary eyes remained glued onto the hollow, unrecognizable corpse. There is no way… that could not be my dad… there is no way that could be the same dad that I knew and loved!! That body did not have the warmth and life that my Dad's body usually held, yet even so, I refused to blink, intently watching the mockingly still body for any movement, for any sign of life no matter how small and insignificant. Please, breathe at least one more time. Please. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease…! But no matter how much mental gymnastics I did, no matter how many hoops I jumped through to try and cope, I could not deny the truth. No amount of hope would change the fact that I didn’t even get to reach my teenage years before I had to experience the death of a parent. I had 0 control over anything.

Most would assume that it is just rebuilding yourself after this, that there is time for recovery and getting back on your feet after every hardship or trial, but no, I was not that lucky. My life just fell further apart as the impact of my dad's passing had torn apart everything I knew of life until that point. There was no time to sit and process, no time to bandage the gaping wound in my chest. It took the moment of his last breath to completely turn my life around for the worse, and it wasn’t merciful enough to let it end there.

After all, everything has consequences. The domino effect of my father's death was like rubbing salt in the wound… no, it was not as simple as that, it was as if someone dug into the wound and ripped it apart with their bare hands, never to heal again, never to be the same again. We were all thrust into a world unknown, one that my dad single-handedly shielded us from as the sole provider of the household. You never know what you have until it’s gone. Ignorance is bliss, but our ignorance and complete dependency on Dad rendered us useless as we watched in horror at everything falling apart. we were all so young, and our dad was the only one financially supporting us. My mom is a housewife, she doesn't know how to speak English much less do all the things that were now her responsibility. Most of my siblings were still in school, two in high school, three in uni, one graduated, and one taking a break from uni to take care of her kids… there was one working yet he was unreliable, selfish, and toxic. Was the emotional damage worth the bit of rent he gave when he felt like it? To give him a point of leverage he could use to manipulate us?

School was 6 hours a day, and I spent the remaining 18 hours at home. As a 12-year-old at the time, all I truly knew about life thus far was my family/home life and whatever it is I learned over the eight years I attended school. Father's death was a great change, and to cope with change, one takes comfort in what they know, clinging on for dear life to what they know for a fact will ground them as they are plunged into true depths of despair and help them accept and move on, right? To deal with grief you reconcile with loved ones over shared memory.. and eventually, adapt to the new normal. But… Why is it that everything I knew of life was completely shattered like glass?

All these years, I knew only of my family to be my main support, for whatever guidance they could give me or that I’d learn by observing… the death of a parent usually brings everyone together to mourn and take comfort in each other. In general, siblings are the only people to share the same traumas with you and have relatively the same upbringing and views… but why is it that my family broke apart? Why did my siblings move far away like it was every man for themselves? Why was I all alone, if not even more so? Was it the situation or just myself that makes it so? We didn’t have much money as it was but now even more so... I just graduated elementary and now had to attend a new school, I barely had friends but I lost all those too. There was so much confusion and conflict between every aspect of life. Everything was different. I didn’t know what to do, no one told me what to do… I was expected to already know.

I did what I could to go with the flow and adapt. I had little control over anything but myself. I attended school, tried to keep things small and manageable. I attended my new middle school and made a new friend or two. I did what I thought I was supposed to do. I started some new anime to try and cheer myself up because anime always cheered me up. I clung to that, was it escapism? I found difficulty managing myself, my dishevelled appearance was now my new normal. Everything was different, everyday there were new problems, new changes, everyone did what they needed to do independently to move on. Move on, move on, move on. Leave home and do what you need to do. Everyone is moving in with life even though they are hurting. Why can’t I move on? I’m mature for my age, right? I can take care of myself?

My mom was a complete wreck after losing her husband. Understandable… I’ll take on the weight of doing what I can to help her. That’s the least I can do as a daughter, that is what I’m expected to do. I don't want to be a burden, I’ll take on the weight of managing myself. Guiding myself. I will treat her like I’d want to be treated. Mom smiles when I get good marks. Get good marks and please your family! Do what you can to make everyone happy again. It hurts seeing them suffer, it hurts having to suffer. I’d know. That’s the least I can do. I have to make everyone else happy, even at the expense of myself. Be strong like Dad, don’t crack or break. Smile. Become successful, look at how smart you are! More pressure, more weight. More expectations.

I was so... afraid when I started going through puberty. I was so scared when my chest started growing bigger than b cup. I didn’t want to be viewed as a sexual object. I didn’t want to be raped/sexually abused again. In middle school, there were always... lingering hands, brushing against my curves. I convinced myself that maybe it was unintentional, 'maybe the boys did it by accident? they touched me like that because their friend had a crush on me, I do not know what sort of power play that is and why I was an object in the game... but damn, I was so scared to be a girl, I wanted to bind my chest so tight that my ribs would break, I am a brown girl so I am hairy, I had a mustache and a unibrow and hairy arms and legs and I could easily pretend to be a boy.  I would have done anything to escape the oppression, I could've been captured by the gender cult because I was the perfect victim, I was never that feminine, and I like girls, I thought I was defective, I thought looking more masculine would make me safer when I walk outside, the fear of males was real. my body issues were definitely caused by trauma. To this day I have some sort of eating disorder, I do not eat... I rarely drink water, I am severely mentally ill (and I'm getting better!) but I am sane compared to those entitled cult members. If I was a boy I would be safer, I would be strong, I could be me. but I didn't become a boy, y'know why? because that's impossible and there's no point. Wake up, there is no escape, this is reality. Y'all are failing and harming the actual most vulnerable people in society wit your luxury beliefs.

Everything is adding up. When I barely get the hang of the situation a new issue pops up. Each falling domino piece added a crushing weight to the ever-growing accumulation of anguish that was my psyche. I can’t keep up… repress and avoid, try to manage what you can. Try to keep up with what you can. But this mess would not be addressed just yet, it would be swept under the rug and pushed under the bed, repressed into every crevice until I eventually combusted… but that is a problem for later, right? It can be addressed later… right? There's no time now… there are bigger problems to address. Yes, Priorities. But… when will there be time for things I unknowingly deem insignificant? Seemingly insignificant things that pile up and become an even bigger problem?

Just live on… keep living.. suffer quietly until you die. That’s all I knew. That’s all I observe.  That’s all I thought I could do. Isn’t that what my dad did? It was too much. Way too much. I can’t handle it. My life is naturally in a constant state of chaos. I tried to cope with creating a rigid structure of what to do, what is expected of me, what to become. I stuck to what I knew, what I was taught. It was like a broken record: Do what you can. Please everyone. please god. live for others. help and value others more than yourself. Being a good person is happiness. Being a good person will get you loved. Treat people the way you’d want to be treated, even though they’d never do the same for you. I don’t want people to hurt and suffer as I do. Be quiet, do what he says. Be quiet, obey. Your needs don’t matter. This is normal. You are not normal. pretend to be normal. Mental health is stigmatized, no one will support you. You are smart, you can manage yourself and figure it out. Be grateful for what you have, people have it worse. Your problems are nothing compared to what they can be. Be happy. Pretend to be happy? I don’t care. I don’t care anymore. Why don’t I care? Pretend to be what you’re supposed to be, not what you want to be, you cannot be who you want to be. repress. avoid. deteriorate. Become dysfunctional.

It is a cycle, as most things are. Everything is interconnected, and humans are generally a product of their environment. We behave like little mirrors, all our experiences and how we react to them are reflected in who we are today and in every action we make. Our brains are like sponges, especially during childhood. We learn from experiences and act based on what we learned. We never stop learning, no matter at what stage. Childhood is crucial for development. Have a happy, healthy childhood and you’ll most likely grow up to be a happy, healthy, functional adult. There is a reason why cycles of abuse like generational trauma don’t stop unless one consciously puts extra effort to make it stop.

My friend often complains to me about her dad. It really hurts… like at least you HAVE a dad?? Aren’t you happy your family is small and therefore has a close bond with you? That they try their best?? There is no point in comparing, though, I understand… it is just painful that even though I’ve been set back by my experiences I still have to fight and make up for it when others can go further than me because of their advantage. The system in our society, capitalism, is really flawed. It is built on oppression, on exploitation. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. There is inequality everywhere in this patriarchal society. The world runs on money, greed and power, we abandon morals because of these things. We cannot fight back against China for literally committing genocide of innocent people because of the abnormal amount of power they have in this world. None of us have power, the ones who do only prove how much power corrupts. Some people are lucky, some people are not. Privilege is a problem, no one will wait for you or accommodate you. Look at it this way: We are all in a race, but there isn’t a set starting line. Some people are ahead of others, getting an unfair headstart. Some people have obstacles in their way or weights attached to their legs. Some people are way behind the starting point… you get the point.  There are so many factors that play into success, and luck is a big one. If you aren’t lucky that’s just too bad for you.

No one talks about it and actively silences those who do try to advocate against the discrimination of half the human population. People who’ve live through it aren’t lucky enough to deny its existence, we’re not privileged enough to deny it exists. In fact, our desperate pleas for help are now “evil” and I really don’t understand… my parents have come from a place where it’s illegal to tell people the sex of their baby until it’s born because of the disproportionate rates of female infanticide. Not that it stops them from murdering the baby after it’s born, and even if the baby girl survives, she gets treated like a commodity just because she is from the female sex. The subjugation of females begins THE SECOND OUR SEX IS OBSERVED IN THE WOMB. And like, while it is less in first-world countries it still exists there too. Why do people pretend the sexes are not biologically different? Why do people get offended about the truth, by our existence, by our material reality that is a universal experience? It’s so privileged to reject this, and it’s actively harming us. Every aspect of my identity/existence is marginalized, I can’t escape or pretend this doesn’t exist because me and MANY OTHER GIRLS are living through it, dying because of it, constantly getting pushed aside and ignored to please entitled individuals who live in a privileged bubble and are at the top of the hierarchy, because my life is ALL about pleasing others and being kind just because of my biological female sex that I never chose. There is FGM too, a cruel practice that is unnecessary and Doesn’t even help girls in any way.

like when I was little I was pretty tomboyish since I grew up close in age to my brothers. even my cousin, she's a year younger than me and she feels insecure about her femininity because her family is mostly boys and she is tomboyish too, her voice is deep,  she doesn't live up to a lot of stereotypes and beauty standards, she likes anime like me, we both had a talk about it and I opened up yo her a lot. were both desi girls, her family treated her a certain way bc she's a girl too, she always even at like age 9 would have to cook and make chai for the guests, she and I both were forced to babysit our sister's kids, etc. her house was pretty violent too and ger parents uninvolved, mine were also busy too cause they had so many kids and were tired and we're the youngest girls so we got neglected but anyway.

I remember during middle school my sister-in-law would just give her baby to me when I got home and I'd be taking care of him for the whole evening and get no homework done. I was just everyone's official babysitter for free, they'd dump their kids on me and didn't have a choice. I didn't have a choice in many things I was dragged around and forced to doll up, I'd ruin the family's reputation if I didn't, it was my role, something expected of me, my place in the family and I didn't want to be a burden.

I really wanted to be a normal girl and stuff and that meant getting a dollhouse but I of course also didn't wanna be a burden or waste money so I made my own out of cardboard and paper. similarly, me and my brother used to play with our hands like they were action figures having an epic battle, he used to make sound effects too and he made our hand/doll/action figures fight, etc. Actually, toys shouldn't even be gendered really but it's profitable to uphold this system and actually, they're making it worse since back in the day they didn't even care as much about colours!

I learned the hard way that life will never be the same and I cannot become the Fatima that existed before the hardship. I can not undo the impact that my experiences have had on me, they will be part of my life forever, and now all I must do is accept it and see what I can do from here. Regrets get you nowhere, you cannot change the past. It’s not anyone's fault that they were victims of misfortune, life doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how kind you are, how Everyone just has to deal with the trials life hurls at them.

My life has shaped me into someone that I don’t even know if I’m happy with, and it is very difficult to accept all the changes in my lifestyle and within myself. I can’t give up. Yet there is always a ray of hope that comes with the future. The feelings and experiences are valid, but that doesn’t mean that I must continue to suffer. Feelings are not bad, they are meant to protect us, but not all thoughts are rational. It is important to question thoughts, yet not so much that you are stuck analyzing every single thought ever. Life is about balance, a balance that my experiences and lack of knowledge skewed my views of.

Many are not fortunate enough to establish healthy habits, to be guided and taught coping strategies, for some it comes naturally, but for some, they do not have the privilege to build upon that. Just because we are behind doesn’t mean that we can’t learn and change. Even if it takes us extra work, we do deserve to feel better. I've got a long way to go but I’ve learned that maybe there are things that I can kind of control, that I can move on and get my life back on track. I can still get back on my feet, supports are there, and just because I’m set back doesn’t mean I won’t recover. Better late than never. I am just as capable as anyone else. Life has meaning only if you give it meaning.

So perhaps it is true that a strange childhood and unpleasant experiences were very detrimental to me, my view of the world, and my mental health. Humanity is foolish, and when the sparkly lens of childhood fades away one is filled with despair at the state of the world… but, that doesn’t mean everything is all over.

sometimes I try to tell people my story or try to explain to them,  but I don’t even know where to start with their replies, like, their arguments are very unsound and close-minded.  pointing out the absurdity of their statements and some of their misguided, surface-level views in general.

Whether or not they have the reading comprehension to understand is not my problem, but if they don’t read a word of what I wrote and try to attack me over things I answered in my threads then I just know that there is no point in having a conversation with them, and they really need to reevaluate themselves and what they're standing for because it definitely isn’t freedom of self-expression and body autonomy like they claim.

A lot of their claims are based on nothing but accusations, and they often seem to be putting a lot of unnecessary anger in place of any actual logic. They should Take a deep breath and think logically, as close as they can get to not seeing things through a biased lens, and look at the full picture. The first step is acknowledging that opinions and perspectives other than yours can exist. The world does not spin around you or anyone else, we share this earth, and if you cannot understand this there is no point in reasoning with you.

The struggles of each group are unique to themselves and do not mesh well together, a better solution has to be made to accommodate for everyone’s needs to be somewhat met and actually work. There are better compromises than removing decades of women's rights activism to give way to another "marginalized" group. Both are struggling in their own ways, ways that those who do not suffer in that way have no right to speak of what it’s like because they’ve never truly experienced it.

This isn’t a competition, we are not in the oppression Olympics. Do you think people who do not have a choice but to be born with undeniable traits out of their control want to be a victims? To be seen as subhuman? To not be seen and heard? Why hurt one struggling group to help another? To silence views and people and be the one to yell louder than the other side of the argument.

The youngest child throws a tantrum, screaming crying and blowing things out of proportion to selfishly disservice their siblings and get them punished, pointing fingers and going after pity points to be unfairly coddled by the authority figures that are their parents and feel superiority.

We tolerate a lot, but this is getting ridiculous. How many freedoms are stepped over when eliminating sex-only places? How many issues that these same-sex rules were set in place to combat are being reintroduced? Goodbye to religious freedoms, safety and privacy (separation can even help women psychologically) but I’ll elaborate on this later. How far will this be pushed? Where is the limit?

I do not hate trans people. While I do not agree with the ideology as it strays away from body dysmorphia, I majorly dislike the regressive misogynistic and homophobic views and approaches that a bunch of people throw around in favour of the trans community. No one is truly winning from these changes and views.

You blow things out of proportion because you do not have a perspective outside of your own biased and privileged lens, and you refuse to listen to criticism. So ask yourself: why is it we separate males and females in the first place? Why is it necessary for these laws to exist? There is a lot to consider, the world is larger than just one group's feelings. Be aware of your privilege, many factors come into play.

The generally weaker sex shouldn't get taken advantage of and suffer even further under the patriarchy, we do not want to see more rape and sexual harassment so we’ve separated the sexes. And don’t jump to the conclusion of “Oh she thinks all trans people are rapists?!?!4$29191? what a bigot/terf/transphobe/fascist” I am not even talking about trans people here.

After everything I have been through being who I am, buzzwords and illogical mantras do not hurt, some of these conclusions are so idiotic, twisting words and making illogical conclusions to vilify someone and “justify” the harassment and bullying many of you dish out to silence those who are tired of being controlled after years of suppression. Years of having the short end of the stick for traits out of their control.

Why is it fighting for and to maintain women's rights being treated as a crime again? Threats and silencing are nothing new to women, it’s ridiculous that women's rights are still up to debate by men. Redefining words and abolishing laws that don’t need to be changed is just regressing society even further.

You can change words but you cannot change reality, women and men are simple terms that describe biological states of being that have been constant within the human race for centuries. Intersex is the only other, albeit less frequent, "variation" of bodies one can be born in, but then again they can be categorized as either male or female, plus they are an extremely minute percentage of the population. The binary of sex is because of gametes. Large gametes mean female, and smaller gametes mean male. there is no third gamete. Gender is a social construct, so I don’t even need to get into that.

This is basically making everything unisex, which literally goes against statistics and the needs of our sex class. it is such a surface-level answer to this issue, it's insane! completely detached from reality! Public Showers, changing rooms and washrooms are separated by sex for a common need for privacy and consideration for safety. To prevent sexual harassment/abuse, from groping, and unwanted sexual advancements to harassment on the streets. a good quote about this is "Good men stay out so bad men stand out".Keeping males out ensures we can witness and safeguard women and girls by keeping all males out so its harder for predatory men to access children without getting caught, preventing it altogether in some cases.

Some countries have a lot of women-only spaces, like women-only train cars, and many countries have special parking spaces for women, some even just for pregnant women, be it for safety or accessibility.

It is quite beneficial for people with similar problems to lean onto each other over their shared suffering, to seek refuge and comfort in each other, there is immense value in being able to speak with same-sex people who can truly understand issues related to their similar biological functioning and the oppressive views of society based on the sexed-body one is born in and how it affects their lives, the solidarity that comes with the support as a GROUP. Women can be abused by men, and men can be abused by women. Victims of sexual assault can and will feel incredible distress at seeing something that reminds them of their traumatic experience. They can sometimes even feel how it felt as if their trauma is happening again, It is just a reminder of how much biological sex matters.

Women are a class of people, and by removing what it is that gives them the title of woman you’re just pushing society backwards. Sure, not all women menstruate, but ONLY women can menstruate. Not all women can carry children but ONLY women can carry children. Like, only women possess the biological capacity/capability/parts to be able to do these things. In sports teams, biological men facing against women is objectively unfair.

It doesn’t matter how much estrogen they’re on or how much plastic surgery they‘ve undergone (is a transracial person the race of their choosing? From the Oli London dude who transitioned into a Korean or whatnot, who btw is kind of a legend for defending JK Rowling, was there not a huge fuss over cultural appropriation and racism.. why does this not apply to this situation? If trans-racial people are just transracial people, then Trans"women" are trans"women", using regressive stereotypes to try and prove you’re the thing you transitioned into is wild), their anatomy is that of a male and therefore gives them an advantage over the bodies of biological females when it comes to sports and Olympics.

Trans"women" possess a lot of women's sports achievements, from weight lifting to swimming… this is a controversial and ethical dilemma of sorts, but it’s most definitely unfair to biological women. Women are discriminated against because of sex, denying this is ridiculous.

Across the world, babies are being aborted just because they have a vagina instead of a penis, some measures have been taken which remove the right of parents to know wherever the baby is a girl or a boy through ultrasound, to prevent this from happening. Even so, some parents go to the extent of killing the baby after she is born, or even going through with honour killings if she disobeys sometime in the future or something.

Women are still fighting for rights to this day, fighting against glass ceilings, fighting for body autonomy, fighting against being denied so many things just over their sex, women even today are bravely advocating for a better future, for not only the female sex but for men who suffer under these ideologies too. Some “feminists” are extreme, going to the point of becoming anti-men or whatever… they give people who actually want positive change a bad reputation, there are bad eggs in every group, I suppose.

What happened to getting rid of gender roles… fighting for women to have equal opportunities like men like a right to education, of not having to deal with discrimination in the workplace or healthcare, of doctors dismissing your symptoms, of how men in the parliament vote against even a woman who carries the child of her rapist or a woman who has a fatal pregnancy where both the mother and child are highly unlikely to survive… why do they take these rights away? Not all countries are at the same level of advancement, all these “ism”s and "phobia"s and “ite”s that are thrown around, all these words being butchered into meaningless terms through misuse and changing definitions… where are we going as a species? Where do we draw the line?

The world does not run on black-and-white ideals, there is a HUGE gray area. Biological sex is a reality that cannot be erased, no amount of mental gymnastics and confirmation bias when it comes to scientific studies about it will change this fact. It will not make decades of ongoing sex-based violence and oppression magically disappear. And no, I know someone will blame me for not mentioning how oh-so DIFFICULT it is to be trans to dismiss my argument, or hide behind the names of “what about infertile women/intersex/suicidal teens/etc (as if they actually care about them and not just using them as a gotcha)” but as I said before, I’m not saying trans individuals don’t need protection and help or that they deserve to be raped or something, none of that! I am just saying that we have to be considerate to other people too, and that safe spaces for trans people can exist WITHOUT trampling over other crucial rights and freedoms, is it truly justice to potentially harm and distress others to have another group not feel that way? Not in the privileged way of “dem gosh darn immigrants are stealing all the damn jobs” and getting angry that now the people like the individual can't dominate over other classes of people and have more competent workers to compete within the field they desire.

Just how some people want unisex bathrooms or public spaces doesn’t mean everyone wants every washroom to be unisex and that’s OKAY! We don’t live in a perfect world and money doesn’t come out of thin air, that doesn’t mean it’s right to force women to accept and do all this hard work yet by consequence erase the hard work they did to get their rights that are now being abolished. And why does no one talk about trans"men"? Like, just like in sports isn’t it unfair for them to face against biological men? Just as estrogen puts trans"women" at a disadvantage against other biological males would the testosterone not boost the performance of trans men if they were pit against biological women?

Besides, What position are Tras in to ignorantly speak for the entire world? To pretentiously explain oppression to ones who suffer and simply refuse its existence? To decide what counts as justice, trauma and rights that every human is allowed to have? To force everyone to accept your views and not allow anyone to disagree even though the things you can will most certainly negatively affect a lot of people? Who chooses what is allowed and what is not? does a biological man truly know what it feels like to have a period, the pain of childbirth, or to overall just to be a woman in a patriarchal society?

Does a white man have any authority to tell a black person anything about their experience with racism is fake? They’ve Nothing more than secondhand accounts to go off, it is just as frustrating as dealing with mansplaining. If you were to substitute any of this with another issue you can truly see how ridiculous this all is. Are all societies The same and have the same views over gender roles and whatever? if countries are wrong do we do colonialism part two and “fix the savages” just like the olden days?

This is not how to bring change or get the respect and support of any other human. Omg the FUNNIEST argument I got was when someone said that there being two sexes is some sort of white supremacist belief like wtf, do these people think people of colour couldn't tell the difference between male and female until a white man came and educated us? were we too stupid to know humans and most animals and even plants are sexually dimorphic? Are we that uncivilized different to you? the racism and sexism that so-called progressives have is mindblowing.

There is so much hypocrisy and double standards here. I understand It may hurt to acknowledge that body dysphoria is a mental illness. ignoring this fact doesn’t make it disappear, it inadvertently just makes the problem worse. Social justice is an inherently good cause and you probably believe you're doing what's best but there's more to this dilemma that you are not considering. I can basically hear some of you scoffing at “why should I listen to someone who is ___” and that is honestly a really sad, egotist worldview some of you have. And do not forget: No one is responsible or obligated to accept or validate anyone else, your problems are your problems alone.

It hurts to hear, sure, but the world is cruel, and we have not advanced far enough as a species to have gotten rid of even basic problems all across the globe. I know denying reality is your specialty and many play along with your fantasy but the world is bigger than you and I, so when making negotiations to create a better plan we have to be OPEN-MINDED and see the full picture.

How can there be justice without EVERYONE'S VOICE and making a plan that is adjusted to help all, that discusses all points of view and determines the best solution? Just because you see it as a solution doesn’t mean everyone does, why is your opinion more valuable than others, why does your voice matter more than others?

It’s easy to fall under the illusion of the bubble that many of us are fortunate enough to live in, but don’t forget there are extremely urgent matters all across the globe, I assume you guys want justice because otherwise, this would just be a self-serving way to get control over others so I encourage you to worry about the other less-privileged humans too. No this isn’t the “kids in Africa are starving that’s why you must eat all your food” argument, I'm not invalidating your struggles but I am trying to give you a bit of perspective.

If you want everyone to support you, you need to support others, isn’t that part of things being “fair”? If another kid wants to blow out the birthday girl's birthday cake candles I won’t let the birthday girl's candles get blown out just because the other kid would cry if they don’t get their way, that other kid can blow their own candles out later, the birthday girls Candle is important to her, it’s her special day and it would not be fair to let the other kid ruin it. That doesn’t mean I hate the kid it means I love them both and want to keep peace, a good functional relationship and home. for the greater good.

Let’s all work together and live in a more accepting, logical and understanding world...

...a utopia wherein we didn't have to be trapped in this never-ending cycle outside of our control due to systems built up over millennia, wherein people didn't have to suffer like me and could actually live out their potential and advance the world instead of having their hope squandered, a perfect, equitable world where people weren't virtue signalling hypocrites and actually cared...

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