April 13, 2005: a new baby is brought into this world at 7:36 AM in Northside Hospital. As the mother is cradling this 10-pound baby in her arms, the father watches over- tears filling the brim of his eyes. These bright and hopeful parents envision an incredible future for their newborn daughter, and they are excited to see what joy and happiness she brings them. One of the things the parents loved the most about their baby was her name. It meant earth because she was their world. Her name? Ila Prabhuram.
I am a woman.
This means I have the freedom to make choices about MY body. This means I have the right to dress how I want to. This means I have the right to wear as much makeup as I want to. This means I can feel confident about myself. This means I have the right to pursue careers and opportunities that I believe will make ME happy. This means I have the choice of marrying and choosing to spend the rest of my life with someone. This means I have the right to stand up for freedoms that others lack. This means I have the right to use my voice to empower others.
But at what cost?
You're not confident.
You're full of it.
Makeup is just a way for you to hide your insecurities.
If you dress like that, you're asking for it.
Don't raise your voice because that's unladylike.
If you don't marry someone, you're wasting your life!
That's a man's job.
Ew, you're a feminist?
A woman's never done THIS before.
In my entire fifteen years of life, I could have never imagined a world so judgmental that every time a woman tries to utilize her voice, she is shut down by men.
She is compared to other women who meet different standards of beauty, in an attempt to degrade her confidence. She receives backlash and hatred, for what? For sharing her voice in an effort to empower other women? That is unacceptable.
But living among such influential women- women of different races, sexual orientation, and backgrounds different but who share similar experiences of blatant & subtle sexism driven by opposing forces- has taught me so much more than society would have wanted.
I share my voice because I was lucky enough to have been born in a situation where I was given the resources to do so. I share my voice and speak on behalf of the others who don't have a voice.
Because I know that it will take, truly, a long time for sexism to have been fully conquered, and for women to be viewed equally as men. But I know that time will come.
As a woman, I think therefore I am, an unapologetically strong force that will ignite change in society. And that is why I will continue to share my voice.