I scored 90% and I opted for Arts.

I scored 90 per cent in my tenth grade and I opted for the Arts stream. This may not raise that many eyebrows now but back then, quite a few of my peers and teachers were surprised that I wasn't opting for what they believed were 'better' options (science and commerce). This is the same mindset that the stereotype about women being suited for certain professions (and not being suited for others) stems from. When I was a child, I knew nothing of such biases and I really believed that I could do whatever I wanted. I still believe that, but I am more than aware of the obstacles that I might (and almost surely will) face.

It's strange but apart from external appearances and my romantic preferences, I don't feel like my gender is my primary defining factor. I am first, a living being. Then, a human being; with desires, opinions and aspirations. I'm not always exactly the same person and my likes and dislikes are subject to change. They are not slave to what society expects of me and I know I don't owe it to anyone to live a life they think I should be living. I'm a writer; an artist; a singer; a daughter; a friend; a sister; a girlfriend and a traveller. I am many things and I can be any number of things. Being a woman has nothing to do with any of it. Then why does it make headlines when a woman excels in what is considered a 'man's profession'? While we're on the subject, why does the vice versa also make headlines? Why are male fashion designers perceived to be 'sissies' or worse, homosexuals? Since when did we become so jaundiced and bigoted? Since when did our tolerance for off-the-mill run so low? I don't know who decided to make these rules but I'm definitely not going to follow them. And neither should you.

When I was in my teens, I believed the world would be a different place by the time I grew up. I was surrounded (fortunately) by people who never made me feel any lesser than a man or anyone else. But today I find that at the workplace, a lot of men are more comfortable working with other men. They feel women don't really 'get' them. I also find that when a beautiful woman succeeds, it's often attributed to her looks. Sadly, that is often true, because mostly, women are judged first on their appearance and then on their abilities. Yet, I have hope, that if we continue to plough on, one day, the winds will change. And what can hasten their speed is campaigns like these. More voices equal more noise. And if it's loud enough, the world is bound to take heed.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus