Tuesday, January 23, 2018

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

There are things I witness in my everyday life that do not sit very well with the things I value in my brain and heart and soul. Every time my mum or grandma tells me that my clothes are not what “a sweet girl” would wear, I think maybe I deserved all those times I was mistreated by men, maybe I am giving off the vibes that I am not “a nice girl” and all I want is to be toyed with. Perhaps it is growing up in a household with only girls, but I have never heard my family say to the boys that regardless what a person wears, he is not to touch her if she does not want to, that only yes means yes, that a girl who stays out with him past midnight can still be a good girl, that even as a man, he is not simply reduced to “boys will be boys”, that it is not on the girl, it is never on the girl, for a man who chooses to do something. A few months ago, a Malay Muslim woman was elected as Singapore’s president (although there were no votes, but that’s a whole notha story), and all I can remember is my uncle, with whom I grew up in the same household, saying “is this what we have come to? Is this what we were taught? That women can lead just the same as men?” and that’s when I realised the women’s activist groups I’d been in have been right for so long, that sometimes it is your very own flesh and blood that can be the most toxic, and the fact that you want to distance yourself from people whose values pervade your mental health, is not a bad thing. It is in the fact that the woman who raised me to believe that god makes you a better and more accepting person, then turned around to tell me I have made a grievous, shameful mistake, only because the same god said so, and not based on any logical proof, that I think “when will this fucking end?” If a person’s love for you is conditional upon whether you are a Muslim or share the same religious belief whichever it may be, then is that love, actually?

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