As Indian women, a lot of us grew up being taught to hold back on expressing how much we really want something or someone. And ultimately hold back on even going after it with full freedom and without hesitation.
So, in this sweet and unabashed UnErase Poetry recital by Sainee Raj, we hear her sentiments on the confusing and sexist norms regarding women having to wait for men to make the first move. Her tone is relaxed, laid back and so, so honest, that you cannot miss the point she is making.
The poem centres around sentiments we've all had at some point. Questions we've all had. Around why anyone ever needs to hold back and make dating some sort of Russian roulette of vulnerability. A game of who'll make the move first, who's willing to wear their heart out on their sleeve first?
I've been fed for years, to be simple, silly, and coy. A little bit ambitious, but a little less than the boy. So I guess I never questioned it and just waited for you to make the first move. With bated breath, I thought that's the only possible route.
- Sainee Raj
And why is it that in this game women are expected to restrain themselves from pursuing a man or a relationship, from showing their interest in a person and being vulnerable about how much they like them? Though in the poem, the actor-cum-writer mentions the judgement women often receive for being so forward, the slut-shaming they're prone to for simply having the clarity about what they want and reaching for it (especially romantically and sexually).
But you know how it works, the do's and don'ts of the world. They keep changing from time to time but seldom for the girl. And frankly, it's quite exhausting to wake up the next morning expecting a text from you. I mean sure you said you'd call but that doesn't guarantee a round-two. Besides, why should we wait for you to call, aren't we in this together after all?
- Sainee Raj
She expresses how much simpler it really is when both people pursue each other actively, equally and without any hesitation or judgement. Sainee Raj makes a superb point towards the end when she says that dating someone should be without the facades of social norms, and full of authenticity and acceptance for one another.
It's 2021 already, it's time to get real. My kind of dirty, let's cut out this age-old conditioning and let's not be afraid to ask. Let's walk that extra mile hand in hand, let's seize this moment. Let's make it last. So tell me what moves you, what makes you cry?.... There's enough pressure on both of us already. You constantly need to have game and if I go on one too many dates, I'm easily shamed. You have to make the first move and I have to smile coyly and pretend to be wooed. I mean why does the onus have to be on you? ....So here's the deal. You can take your time to think. But just in case you're free next weekend, can I buy you a drink?
- Sainee Raj
You can watch the adorbs recital down below, take a look.
We're all on board! Are you?