(Image: Muhammad Javaid/Express)
I have nothing against men. But honestly, women have never needed men's permission to live, to breathe, to give birth, to feed their babies, to dress, to be however they choose. I have never understood the movement to legislate more rights for women. If they are rights, legislation is not necessary. What if we simply exercised our birthrights and let the men get over it?
(Image: Boston Globe 1975)
Use reusable menstrual products. Girls worldwide are losing out on an education because they cannot afford or have no access to disposable menstrual products. Disposable products are made with cancer-causing bleaches and gels, use tons and tons of water to produce, and leave landfills stinking of dead tissue. Cloth pads and menstrual cups are reusable and affordable. Pave the way for reusable as the norm and stop making corporations rich for making toxic products the norm.
Learn to bake. Ever make paste as a child with water and flour? Need I say more? Wheat grain is a husk, bran, kernel, and germ. Take a way the mainly inedible husk and you have wheat berry. Take away the germ and bran and you have the stuff of white flour. This kernel has no appreciable fiber and no appreciable nutrients. It is a simple sugar. Girls and women in all countries rely on imports of white flour to make the most basic of staples to stave off hunger. But these breads have zero nutritional value. Improve the nutrition of the world by creating less of a market for white flour. Learn to bake a good loaf of whole grain bread that actually feeds the body as well as the soul.
Read good books. We take our reading skills for granted SO much in developed nations that we use it almost exclusively for Facebook and texts. Libraries are jam-packed with the knowledge and wisdom and dreams of humanity. Take advantage of your freedom and read some classics. At the onset of the whole Mr. Darcy craze, I finally read Jane Austen. OMGosh! Her style of writing made me want to overdose on white flour and end it all. But don't let it be said, I didn't have the opportunity and freedom to read her books and hundreds of others I loved and that have added to my daydreams and inspired me to love research and knowledge.
Dry your laundry on a clothesline. Not only will your clothes smell delightful from drying in sun and breeze, you will meet your neighbors. Women used to take some time to get to know each other and share their dreams and fears and successes over the white picket fences that separated their suburban backyards. These women created the neighborhood. Women knew something of each others' lives so they could help each other in times of need. These connections spawned sewing circles, garden parties, backyard barbecues, and even philanthropic fundraisers and organizations. Many of the organizations created through neighborly connections help girls all over the world today by raising awareness, sending teachers, and sending cloth menstrual products where they are needed.
Call up a girl you know and talk. If you have a niece, goddaughter, or babysitter, call her. Ask her what she dreams of for her life. Talk to her about the dreams you had at her age. Marvel at what you achieved and let her know she can reach her aspirations, too. And mourn what you did not, things you still may want, and let her know she won't have to mourn the loss of a future if she doesn't let anything get in her way of creating it. Then ask her to promise to talk to a girl when she's in her 30s or 40s or 50s, to encourage her, to remind her that she doesn't need permission to live how she wants to live.