Like your death stares weren’t enough, you’ve even started questioning my abilities!
On any other day, under any other circumstances, I would have tolerated the misogyny that this society is so famous for. On most days I manage to avoid glares at the length of my skirt, the brightness of my lipstick and the innocent straps of my bra!
But today wasn’t any other day!
It had all started with an innocent discussion with my younger brother. And like they say, there’s no age limit for misogyny, he asked me why is it that I ride motorbikes and not scooters and cars like ‘other’ girls! I laughed, ruffled his hair and went on with my business. But the question stuck with me for long.
After that came the incessant nagging of my mother. It started casually with, “You’ll get tanned riding that stupid bike and then who will marry you?” and “Look at all the scratches and scrapes you have on your arms and legs. Who will marry you?” But nothing unusual!
I saw the look on people’s faces. Some in awe, some in shock, others purely in disgust!
Next came the probing of my boyfriend. Before this, he never seemed to have a problem with my hobbies. He thought I looked sexier with all my biking gear. But suddenly, he thought it made him less of a man sitting behind me while I rode. I immediately knew this wasn’t him talking. It was the society’s narrow-mindedness that spoke through him. Obviously, a heated argument prevailed.
And then to top it all off, as I rode through the city streets, I saw it. I saw the look on people’s faces. Some in awe, some in shock, others purely in disgust! I saw the fear in pedestrians’ eyes. The sports bike and my female stature was somehow a deathly combination. I saw it in their eyes as they fled around to ‘save’ themselves. I saw incapability on fellow drivers’ faces in my rearview mirror. They honked and gave way, as if I’d bang into them any second. I saw it all.
It all got a little too much!
So what they call me less of a girl?
But you know the best part of it, I saw it all but only for a second. Because the next moment, I sped past them! Their faces bothered me but the second the wind hit my face and my hair flailed behind me, I forgot it all. When my eyes watered with the speed, I saw how pointless the remarks had been. When I rode into the quieter spots in the city, I thought to myself, “So what a little sun tans my skin? So what they call me less of a girl?” With just a little nudge of my accelerator, I could barely even hear them.
I know that society sees girls only as sex objects who are clad in shorts barely covering their asses and tight jackets, sitting behind and hugging the burly and macho ‘men’ who ride the bikes. But I have always loved to break stereotypes.
As for the bruises on my limbs, they’re souvenirs of everything I’ve been through and memories of better times. Why do you think I’d ever want to get rid of them?
So kindly stop suggesting anti-mark creams every time you see them and stop worrying about ‘who will marry me’. Because believe me, I still have too many untraveled roads to ride through before I settle for ‘marriage’!
Getting geared up for another ride,
The girl with a bikers’ helmet!
Author: Zainab Haji