WOTW: Pamela Uppal
Breaking gender stereotypes is difficult, at the end of the day we are all a product of our (gendered) socialization. I think what I have done is highlight how women are complicated and don’t fall neatly into one box or another (re: good girl vs. bad girl). My friends and family like to joke I’m a walking contradiction: I love grimey hip-hop music, but I also love reading intense political South Asian literature, I don’t pay on the first date but I’ll split the second one with you.
To me, feminism means that women have multiple choices that are not limited to nor shaped by their sex and gender. In other words, we stop hearing ‘because you are a woman/girl/female’. For example, the choice to wear a burka or mini skirt, to be a stay at home wife/mom or corporate leader or both, to have kids or not, to be sexually experimental or perfectly happy with the celibate life. In a way, feminism for me is ultimately about freedom.
Forcing everybody in my life to apply a gender lens. Do they call me annoying? Yes. Do I get made fun of? Definitely. But having those deep conversations in my family room with my massis, cousins, and uncles about Punjabi femininity or with my friends about navigating workplaces as a woman are priceless! It shifts their thinking, even if it might be for a moment. In addition, getting paid to do gender work for a living is not so bad either.
I hope to see more female leaders – not just in politics or corporations, not just the good moral ones, and not just during moments of crisis. I want to see female leaders in all shapes and forms – the immoral ones, the ones elected for a full term, the ones who take maternity leave – the way in which we have seen all types of male leaders over the last thousands of years.