The status of women nowadays is apparently ‘more’ equal to men. Yet, there’s an underlying feeling that women are still a step down in ways that are obvious at times, but subtle most of the time. Take the work place, for instance, discrimination against women working in the private sector is allowable and unchallenged by any law in Malaysia. Frequently, women are paid less than men for doing the same job, requiring the same level of skill. Some cultures still maintain that the woman’s place is in the home and nowhere else. The reality is that, women are now gaining more knowledge of the outside world and closely connecting with it.
When I was very young I felt this inequality very keenly, being the ‘adventurous type’. My usual playmates were boys and I felt like just “one of the guys” even participating in their rougher games like – “chia-ba”.
This game was played in a circle with the “pitcher” in the centre throwing a small hard rubber ball at anyone he chose, then dashing to grab the place of the person who had been hit before being hit back. It was something like Tag, but more painful when you got hit by the ball, thrown with a lot of force. Having engaged in such play where pain was not an issue for me, I found it difficult in later years to adjust to being ‘lady-like’ and was often told to “shut up” because I was out-spoken, making blunt and tactless comments. Which I think, sometimes, held some grain of truth. Young children, frequently, don’t know what they’re talking about.
Looking back, I think my brother and his friends may have at some stage seen me as a threat. I couldn’t understand why. It was a mystery to me as to why my brother always thought that I was in competition with him from doing little things to cleaning the family car. I was only putting into practice the principle that ” whatever you do, do your best”, which my parents and teachers kept drumming into us.
So much for parental control, like a wild flower, I found myself growing outside the garden and often being treated like a weed. When I was mature enough to analyse the situation, I decided that I was responsible for my own destiny and since then “getting even” with the male population has become part and parcel of my personality. It’s a challenge all women have the choice to take or leave, depending on how satisfied they are with their status as women.
I don’t hate men, in fact, some of them, I see as my best friends, especially the ones whom I feel interact with me on equal terms. However, the caring and protecting role of women should not be under-valued nor our ability to defend, under-estimated. There is a natural latent ferociousness in all women when their stability or their loved ones are threatened. So, to me, a woman has the power to decide her own destiny, and the ability to be responsible and in control of her own decisions and actions. It all depends on whether you are ready to take the challenge and face the consequences, positively.