by Shah Rukn-e-Alam We must…
There are many things about my school which infuriated me as I grew up and half the time it was because I was held back from doing many things because of my gender.
The first time I felt an immense bout of anger was when a group of students hung up posters on “Breast Cancer Awareness” around the school and our directors got so provoked that they went around taking them down themselves, I guess they don’t know that Breast Cancer is common for both men and women.
Then came bake sales, every year we were told very aggressively that we must NOT wear western clothes. On the posters, on the pamphlets, on the messages that got sent home, 3 words would always be in bold: “NO WESTERN CLOTHES.” But guess to whom this rule solely applied? Girls.
I remember once a girl was sent home, because the shirt she wore didn’t cover her properly enough. I understand that any institution has rules, but everyone understands modesty to their own level and no one deserves to be put through public embarrassment because of what they are wearing.
And the most recent thing from last year was that all the girls were held back from learning any form of sport from the sports teachers. Instead we got female sports teachers who had no prior experience in any kind of game.
It was so illogical and unjustifiable. It was as if everything we did, every move we made could somehow be sexualized and we’d lose our respect. I felt as if I couldn’t do anything anymore. Other than just go to the library and study, like a ‘good girl’.
My school gave me my best friends and my best memories. My school helped me form connections I would never have had made otherwise. I guess almost everyone was blessed with some great memories here, but in between all this, when every single girl was constantly being judged and scrutinized, constantly being told to sit properly, and constantly being told to cover up, a little hurt and bitterness did seep into these golden moments and the aftertaste would always linger behind for months to come.