Perfectly Equal

Let's talk about women for a second. To some, it might seem that it is an overly discussed topic by now but fact is even today we're not talking about them enough.

When it comes to women and their rights, we observe that there has been massive improvements in the world within last 100 years. 84 years ago for instance, women were given the right to elect and be elected for the first time in Turkey; a huge achievement some of us take for granted at times. United States did the same in 1920, when almost half of its population were women (51 million women vs. 53 million men). Take a second to try and acknowledge this if you can. Half of 105 million citizens cannot participate in making decisions that directly concern and impact them because law doesn't allow it and worst of all, that half remains silent about this shameful absurdness. When we turn to the UK, picture doesn't get any prettier. It was only 1928 when women over 21 finally were given that same right at the end of a 56-year old struggle, roots of which date back to 1872. Life expectancy in 1872 was averaging at 40 years, which means for women of that day, fight to improve their lives would have to continue for at least two generations. It is only understandable why only a limited number of women were willing to spend their entire lives volunteering to join the fight back then. A world state that might seem comical to modern women when it is in fact tragic.

As a person, who believes in freedom and perhaps thus found herself in New York, it is not surprising for me to read that women's rights movement  in the United States originated in this very city. After all, everyone here is free in one way or another. Take city's mice for instance. They're pretty free to take an afternoon stroll down Central Park alongside of city's habitants. In fact I wholeheartedly believe that they too see themselves as city habitants not because of the complex and old subterranean subway and sewer systems they call home but because they feel free here. Bugs are another similar kind of species that cannot give up the freedom they found in New York. Trust me, if Franz Kafka lived in New York back when he was working on Metamorphosis,  he couldn't have imagined himself as a tortured soul stuck in the body of giant cockroach because his entourage didn't understand him. No, sir. His novels would potentially be so much happier. Take E. B. White's Here Is New York for instance. It was published roughly 30 years after Metamorphosis and everyone and everything you find in the book are free. Free to do whatever they wish; free to feel however they want. Even the women.

Today, in year 2014 women in fact live a free life by law -for the most part- but one thing is for sure; the perfect gender equality in our daily lives is yet to be achieved. What is it that keep women from enjoying a free life in practicality even in a city like New York? Or better yet, what do we really mean by freedom? When I personally use the word freedom here, I am not referring to concepts like opportunity or income inequality or the right to practice abortion freely. These are just a few negative examples, existence of which are commonly acknowledged and accepted by men and women around the globe. I want to emphasize a more internal kind of unbalance: the type that is caused by limits women create within and carry as a part of themselves for their entire lives. Such limits may be the root of most inequalities we run into everyday but most frequently in two main areas of our lives: our work and love lives.

Facebook's COO Sherly Sandberg, whose life and success I follow religiously, touches upon this very issue in her first book Lean In. She mentions how women tend to be afraid of raising their voices even when they don't agree with a certain decision at work place. On the contrary men cannot lower theirs because that's just how they establish strength. Even if they do agree with something, they still make statements that begin with "I agree because..." You may associate this with the difference between testosterone vs. estrogen or with sociological theories as to how women need to preserve their passive nature for mankind to continue breeding. To me, they are just excuses. Women need to raise their voices at work place and I certainly don't mean an increase in bitchiness level. I just mean being more authentic and true to their real selves. If they do receive negative reactions from their peers or bosses and feel like they are risking their careers, then we can start saying something has finally clicked. At that point change becomes inevitable and only then we continue to give meaning and strengthen the work of the British women from 1872, who were willing to dedicate not only their life for this cause but also their daughter's lives.

Another aspect of life negatively impacted by the limits we create in our minds is our love life. This could potentially be a more complicated and hormonal subject that cannot be outlined as black and white as our work life. Nevertheless, when you leave sexuality out of it, what is really a relationship or marriage? Isn’t it simply an interactive relation between a man and a woman – or two men or two women? The word has inter in it for a reason. It’s a two-way interface; both man and woman has to be in action together.

How could a passive woman really contribute to betterment of the world and improve herself as an individual if she is confined to her husband’s limits of imagination? If she doesn’t create a useful, productive way to spend her time, whether through a full time/part time job or through her individual efforts to participate in production, not just consumption, how could she really entertain her mind and her body stuck inside her home life? Every person yearns for an identity to define oneself; otherwise the space they occupy in the world might seem purposeless at some point. It is for this immense need of purpose that some women turn to motherhood just because they cannot identify themselves with any other form of existence they are familiar with. This is perhaps the most unfortunate result of self-created limits in a woman’s mind that hinders her freedom within daily life: freedom to choose not to be a mother to feel complete as a woman.

Imagine a world where every single woman believes in and practices perfect gender equality and nobody gives any credit to the idea that being born as a woman naturally means you have to try harder in society to succeed. Who is society, really? Group of individuals, half of which is female. If women free their minds of the limits and rules that are as old as history, they should be doing so for no one but themselves. No societal movement can be as strong as an individual’s movement towards self improvement. Do it for yourself, not for feminism, not even for your daughter. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first if you want to save your infant.

There is no denying that the concept of patriarchal society did exist once but it is high time that we start acknowledging those days are over. In practicality this means that women can no longer be the only party at home doing housework but similarly men are not the only party paying the bills. Women has been and will continue to pick up the bill at a fancy restaurant and men are perfectly capable of doing laundry. And no, they are not automatically expected to make a mistake like mixing colored shirts with whites because, you know...They are men; they are new to this. No, every gender is held up against the same standards in this game. The day that every woman considers herself as perfect equal to every man, men will have no choice but to accept gender equality. By really practicing perfect equality, society will isolate people who insist on basing performance and success on gender. Those people will be looked down upon and similar to every idea that has been ignored, gender inequality too, will have to disappear.

A photo posted by Deecaf Writing (@duyguaktan) on

Dear woman,

Please immediately disregard the argument of not being equal to men but still working to get there. Instead why don’t you start believing that you are perfectly equal to every single man in your life and in the world because no matter how many excuses society keeps creating, you are only as equal as you would like to be.