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Freedom in Canada -India’s Rampant Gender Inequality

Pulp Cottage | Culture | 10 min read | April 24, 2020

Freedom in Canada -India’s Rampant Gender Inequality

I moved to Canada 9 years ago and now I freak out over the thought of ever moving back to India. If I had a daughter, I would have banished her notions of ever living in India. Yes, as a woman who has now experienced true liberty here in Canada; who was raised in India—I  experienced severe gender based harassment for most of my life. Activities as simple as walking down the street, contrast heavily here in Canada from anywhere in India. India still struggles with rampant gender inequality. I am FREE here in Canada. I feel SAFE here in Canada. I can birth a daughter here in Canada.

In India, I  had all the privileges, financial independence and constitutional rights like men. On Paper. Yet, out on the streets, our daily life as women did not reflect our “paper-rights”. I survived the daily ogling by men while I walked to the bus-stop  to access my work place. And while shopping for food. Accomplishing any public task that you can imagine was an invitation for sexual harassment. I wore culturally appropriate clothing most of the time and was still whistled at and subjected to obscene sexual innuendos and gestures. I barely survived being touched inappropriately in public transports before I started earning enough to use private transportation. I worked hard and studied hard to claw my way out of those physical daily placements.

Despite my achievements in life I was often made to feel small, dirty and loathsome in my own skin by many men because I’m a woman. Growing up in India,  it was all part of life. As a mother, now naturalized to Canada,  I would want my daughter to have an easier way.

Freedom in Canada for Women

Innumerable Indian women have been successful as doctors, scientists, business women, artists and other professions due to their unique dedication and determination. Most often, families support their daughters as they quest for higher education. But some daughters are forced to go against their family’s wishes to achieve their dreams. For girls and women in India, there is a constant struggle to exist and thrive and this is why….

Indian mythology designates women to the status of Goddesses. This ideology raises a woman’s status much higher than men. That all sounds pretty cool, right?  Yet, there’s always one giant caveat to this “rule”: A woman is to consider her husband a God and is expected to worship him. Unconscionable in Canadian or western world value systems.

There are many factors influencing men’s behaviour towards women, in India. Raised in homes that support this outdated generational ideology of male superiority is primarily what keeps this “cycle” alive. Secondarily how we marry and experience life’s milestones is also a crux point. It’s most ironic as a woman in India to be liberated to vote, to be identified and counted, only to disappear on the streets of India society in a wasteland of sexual abuse and harassment.

The zealousness of male sexuality is just another manifestation of this hierarchy of:  Male control, domination and intimidation to promote subservience.

Women are objectified to serve the men. We are “things” we are simply assets.  To stay short and crisp, I would just highlight the mentality of such generational men who openly punish women by molesting them, physically, mentally and psychologically.

Male Hierarchy in India

Mythologically and religiously, a son is the most important asset parents can accrue during their lifetime due to various superstitions and misconceptions, hence the feeling of superiority comes with the gender. Furthermore, women are raised as “family assets”.  A daughter is considered “Laxmi” the ‘goddess of wealth’ and once she is married, that wealth (along with the woman herself) moves to her husband’s home. Parents must have no share in that wealth or their daughter and they must pay a large dowry (money) to the groom’s family to get her married. This is widely how it operates today. Moving beyond folklore in Canada and insisting on reality in India.

The birth of a daughter is still mourned in many Indian communities to this day. Wealthier citizens often travel out of country for gender identification ultrasounds (illegal in India) and quickly abort female fetuses. Over and over until a son is conceived.

In India, as a woman, I felt unwanted by society and the need to justify my existence was overwhelming. I would try to prove that women were worthy of as much respect as men, using my own achievements.

You CAN wear shorts and spaghetti straps in India. But typically only in few places meant for relatively privileged class designate people. The very same privileged women would need to cover themselves more appropriately while stepping out of their privileged and protected territories. And still, covering yourself up completely doesn’t guarantee immunity from sexual harassment. This is the paradox of the Indian culture. There are freedoms for women protected on paper. There are recognized illegal acts such as aborting gender ID’d fetuses, but the cultural divide needs much improvement to reach those paper-rights. And life moves on in India everyday, this way. 

After moving to Canada, I felt an immediate sense of security as a woman. It took me sometime to stop watching my sides for potential miscreants while walking alone on a street. It felt amazing to be able to walk, run and exercise outdoors without needing another person’s company for safety, or to worry about what exercise gear I should be wearing.

I felt completely at ease wearing what I felt good in, without people giving me those stares. My family members no longer had to ask me to change my clothes in concern that my skirt was only 2 inches below my  knees.

In these nine years, while testing out public transportation in Canada, I have not once experienced personal risk for my safety. Even a drunk or addict is more respectful to women on public transportation in Canada—amusingly so!

And the best part, I can do my own liquor shopping without anyone batting a single eyelid! That is called real freedom (okay, I am just exaggerating right now. Though it is definitely a big milestone!) I can select my own wine for a public party with my girlfriends and we can all wear whatever we like. Wow. Having a cup of coffee with a male friend or colleague doesn’t make me a characterless woman.

In Canada, I drive almost everyday, without ever being hooted at or bullied for being a female driver.

Not a single person in Canada told me about how important it was to have a boy child, which was a huge relief during my pregnancies away from India! I won’t go into detail about how some of the well wishers back home were extra happy about me bearing sons, because HERE, in Canada, that simply doesn’t matter.

India has a rich heritage and a colourful culture. That is TRUE.  There is a lot of warmth in Indian hearts. It is sincere. But sadly, it is not the best place to be born as a girl.  I can’t ignore the limitations women face in India or in similar culturally inept and unequal countries. The World has come a long way, yet there still remains too many cases of gender harassment, molestation, domestic violence, rape etc. Canada is far more socially and culturally advanced, but is not immune to gender based inequalities and how this can wreak havoc on the very threads of civil and safe societies.

For me, as a WOMAN, Canada feels way more comforting. I really love my new found freedom and I appreciate it! I have respect for all those who fought for it and who are still struggling to protect women and other gender-based rights in Canada. My freedom is the single and most important reason for me to stay in Canada. I am thankful.

_________________

Dr. Vatsala Sinha is a new writer to Pulp Cottage and an international medical graduate focused on Clinical Research and Public Health and Medical Aesthetics.  Art, fiction and poetry continue to be special interests. Currently, she is working on her second fiction book, along with going pandemic-crazy with her kids.

Welcome Dr. Vatsala Sinha to the Pulp Cottage team!
Find Dr. Vatsala Sinha on her socials today!

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vatsalasinha

https://www.facebook.com/albertacurves

https://www.instagram.com/albertacurves/

https://www.pinterest.ca/AlbertaCurves/

 

Femme Luxe Life Co. Why We Can’t Get Enough!

10 Min Read | Pulp Cottage Women in Business Highlight Segment —Meet the brains behind Femme Luxe Life Co. and learn about the fabulosity of its start-up Founder Principal, Krista Weber!

I’m not often fallen with inspirational GLEE! Like the gooey-drippy-glittery-glee that comes when you are watching greatness about to unfold in front of you. And this is precisely why I neeeeed to place a special individual in front of you—with a robust recommendation to explore (with me) the interstellar and cosmic grandeur of Femme Luxe Life Co. A  newly minted start-up corporate reverie styled by the ever talented, Krista Weber! Mark my words—This is a BOSS-Babe COACH to add to your watch list!

Oddly not oddly, my introduction to the star-is-born-phenom of Krista Weber came haphazardly from Instagram by way of classic pen-pal fashion! Our Dior dishing word nerd penmanship featuring all the digi E-glory that is afforded by modern day social platforming.  I can’t recall who followed who first? Me to her? Her to me? Hmm? No matter, our connection was instant and furiously FUN. Kindred from the start, I wondered (in those early friendzies days) WHY and HOW did this @Blondetastic_ gal delight me so?! Her Germany based Insta feed care-bear-beamed me daily with digital sparkles replete with black and pink and heavy doses of sleek-skinned panthers. Truly—She had me at the glam-slam panthers in diamond collar cuffs! Here’s the “oddly” part…we’ve.never.met.in.reals. Yet, in those early days, I felt like I just KNEW her. She slipped right into my heart—no easy feat for this way skeptical Virgo.

Sure, for a German broad, her English text copy was impeccable! Not commonly found with German motherland patriots. Curious. I didn’t even know her real name, she was ever mysty like that! This intrigued me. Must know more. But, Instagram is a play-it-cool kinda joint, so the curiosity continued for months until I observed her in my home Province of Alberta! Gah?! Wha?! She was suddenly traveling close to me! Had I read this all wrong?? No time for playing it cool any longer, I flat-out DM demanded to know how/why she was visiting Athabasca County (approx 2 hours away from me and Bonnyville). This particular mystery is solved below in the rest of the story…AND as I’ve generously digressed above in my ultimate she-love for Krista, it’s time for YOU dear reader to learn about WHY I remain fascinated to watch Krista Weber’s next Femme Luxe Life smooth move!

Please enjoy our Pulp Cottage chit chat 5 Qs with Krista Weber, and TELL me that she doesn’t feel like she’s right in your coffee corner, chatting with YOU directly!

Femme Luxe Life Co. Founder 
Krista Weber
Canadian Expat Living In Germany, helping WOMEN all over the Globe!

1- Femme Luxe Life Co. Wow, what IS this all about? What are you up to Krista?

Fantastic question. Femme Luxe Life Co. represents a culmination of the lessons I’ve learned in my life – situations, events, even relationships – which could easily have broken me – a possibility I refused to accept. I believe that women are immensely powerful. We are capable of extreme strength, perseverance and mental flexibility, but we are also blessed with the wonderful gifts of feminine softness – the ability to soothe, nurture, feed and council our loved ones. The combination of these strengths both physical (for example, childbirth!) and mental (multi-tasking Moms, please raise your hands!) are extraordinarily potent.

Femme Luxe Life Co. shows women how to awaken their power, while revelling in their femininity. We do not have to choose between femininity and power. Femininity IS powerful. We are both. 

FLLCo. Wants YOU to make your next move!

2-How did you, yourself, find the GUSTO to activate your plan? Was this a dream living in your heart, for a long time? 

When I look back through my life now, I can see that my greatest passion has always been helping others overcome and succeed. That’s what has always set my soul on fire. I’m the enthusiastic problem solver for my friends and family, the extra brain who’s there for them when they need it, and I feel honoured by that trust.

When I lived in Alberta I worked in Real Estate, and always said the most satisfying part of the work was helping to make what is generally a stressful and unpleasant process of buying or selling a home seemingly effortless and, dare I say, fun. Now, in Germany, I enjoy supporting my husband in his work as an immunologist and surgeon, proof-reading scientific manuscripts for he and his colleagues prior to publication, working as a proof-reader and editor for writers of historical literature and helping them get published; and most recently working with a language institute as an Business English Instructor, helping adults overcome the hurdle of learning a foreign language. Having had to learn German when I moved here, I now know first hand how daunting learning a second language can be. The running theme is evident – I am passionate about helping people and seeing them win. 

The development of Femme Luxe Life Co. was the result of a powerful epiphany. I did not expect it; it was not planned. But once this idea came to me, the momentum was undeniable and there was a rapid snow-ball effect.

I had hired a career coach with the intention of starting an English as a Second Language business of my own. I’d been having such success as a language instructor and thought I’d start my own school with a chic, distinctly Canadian flair. But after just a few sessions working with my coach, as we delved deeper and deeper, she blurted out, “Krista, do you wake up every day excited to learn more about verbs, nouns and comma splices?” I had to admit that no, I did not. And she continued that what she was hearing is that I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals, and had I ever considered becoming a life coach? I was stunned. No, I had not considered that. I was limiting my career options based on my geographical location. Here in Germany, being an English instructor was my best bet; it’s what most expats do, like a “jobette”. But I’ve never been one for “jobettes”. I thrive off of taking on challenges and was feeling stagnant in this role, a fact my coach sagely zeroed-in on.

She explained that as an empowerment lifestyle coach I would work with women internationally, and wouldn’t be constrained by borders or language barriers. This realization was like a bolt of lightning to my brain.  I knew instantly that this was my purpose. I feel like everything in my life has led me to this. I’ve sometimes said I feel like a cat with nine lives and I’m currently on my seventh. I’ve been told I should write a book someday, such an interesting and unusual life I’ve lived. But through this work, all of that experience has greater meaning because I can use it to help other women through the darkest times in their lives.

I got to work right away. A new fire was lit in me. My husband was shocked at how quickly things began to happen, but he is overjoyed to see me so vibrant with passion and purpose, and has been unbelievably supportive during the process of creating the brand, the tools, the concentrated 12 week one-on-one coaching program and bringing it all to life.

You’ve got untapped potential, let’s unleash it!

3-WHO is your ideal client? Who do you NEED to access the most and why?

I feel called to work with women who are, for whatever reason, feeling disconnected from themselves, and therefore, disconnected from their families, friends, their lives in general. They feel defeated, deflated, insecure, overlooked, invisible, and unimportant. But worst of all, they know that they don’t have to feel this way, because they haven’t always felt this way. They know what it’s like on the other side – but they don’t know how to get back to that place. Because of this, they’ve lost their self confidence and their sense of worth, and feel unsure of their purpose. They’re going through the motions of the day to day, but it’s become more and more difficult to access any sort of joy. They feel listless, bordering on dread, and this is manifesting as resentments toward their partners or even themselves, for “allowing” this to happen.

They may have become lost in a role they never intended to play. Women are highly adaptable; we flow like water. We can take on the shape of the space we inhabit, and sometimes as we go along, not wanting to disrupt the flow of our lives – for example, we go to University, we marry the “right” guy, we have the kids – then one day realize we don’t recognize the woman staring back at us in the mirror.

I am here to help women hit the “reset” button – to gain clarity on their identity, to fall in love with themselves again, to regain control and empower them to live life on their own terms, and to show them that by nurturing themselves, all other areas in their lives will be richer, more fulfilling, and they will feel energized, present and powerful.

4-What do you want women to KNOW most? A secret tip for us (value share) 

I want women to know that they don’t need years of clinical therapy to banish harmful habits and thought processes from their lives. There are simple, nurturing practices they can incorporate into their lives RIGHT NOW that will bring immediate results, making them feel confident, grounded and unshakable. After all, we can only control ourselves; we can’t control what others think or do, we can’t control what happens in the world. We can change the way we perceive these things, which – big picture – changes our lives. Thoughts create feelings, feelings create actions, actions become habits, and these habits make up the blueprint of our lives.

Are YOU ready to Glam-Slam your life?!

So, by starting within, at the very foundation, healing and nurturing ourselves, every area is positively impacted. For example – and I LOVE sharing this tip with women – if you feel neglected, overlooked, disregarded, unloved, try this:

  • Buy a new journal (a fresh journal for fresh, positive vibes!) and first, write down three things you are grateful for this very moment. They could be as simple as, “I’m grateful for my home which keeps me sheltered and warm” or “I’m grateful for my strong, healthy body that carries me from A to B” or “I’m grateful that I have such great cell reception.” Literally anything, no matter how big or small. This tunes your mind to be more receptive to the good things around you and will immediately break you out of the blues. (For bonus points, start doing this every morning while you sip your coffee or tea, and observe how your energy level and happiness rise exponentially!)
  • Next, write down five ways you’d like to feel. For example “I want to feel loved, honoured, understood, prioritized, and abundant.” (Side note: “abundant” is code for feeling rich, luxurious and/or generous.)  Then, write a sentence about how you will treat YOURSELF this way today. Like, “Today, I will love myself by choosing to have a hot bath and going to bed early to make sure I get a great sleep.” or “Today I will honour myself by saying ‘no’ to things that I don’t feel like doing, and honouring my authentic feelings.” Do this for all five feelings, and then write them as “I am” statements. Ie) “I am loved.” “I am honoured.”, and so on. Re-read these sentences and the “I am” statements out loud to yourself. Let the feeling of the truth in these words wash over you, and notice how your energy has already shifted. (For more bonus points, read these “I am” statements before you go to bed at night.)

This is the power we have. We can access these feelings whenever we want or need to, because they are already within us. This is just one of the processes I bring my clients (or “FemmeBots”, as we’ve jokingly been calling them) through, and I’m continuously delighted by how empowered and energized they feel with just one week of regular practice.

I want women to know that they don’t need years of clinical therapy to banish harmful habits and thought processes from their lives. There are simple, nurturing practices they can incorporate into their lives RIGHT NOW that will bring immediate results, making them feel confident, grounded and unshakable.

5-Who inspires YOU? (and why please)

Oh my goodness. I find inspiration in so many places, but the three women who come to my mind right now are my Mom, because she is an absolute power house. Life has brought her truck loads of lemons, and she has always handled it with a benevolence and a quiet grace and fortitude that few could manage. The older I get, and now being a mother myself, I appreciate her strength and consistency more and more. It’s staggering. Also, my Godmother, or “Goddie”, as I call her. She is a powerful, self-made business woman who continues to thrive and live life on her own terms. (This is one of the founding principles of Femme Luxe Life Co.!) She is a no-nonsense, to-the-point, ferocious negotiator while simultaneously being one of the most beautiful and feminine women I’ve ever known. Truly, I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for her. And I can’t go without mentioning my mother-in-law, or Schwiegermama, as it’s called in German. She is 40 years my senior, and she has seen it all. She is fiercely intelligent, the epitome of old-world elegance, and I honestly believe there is nothing she can’t do. She inspires me every day with her creative problem solving, her sense of humour, and her ability to assess and bounce-back from negative situations seemingly unfazed.

I could mention so many more women who have inspired and taught me, but there wouldn’t possibly be room in this article to mention them all with the praise they deserve. I am aware of how fortunate I am to have this bounty of incredible women in my life, and I want to be the same for those who don’t have such resources to call on and show them that they can be their own hero, making positive changes that will have lifelong impact. That’s what I do with Femme Luxe Life Co.; that’s my passion, and my purpose.

_________

Somewhere between our shared love of Haute Couture, David Bowie nostalgia meets pink heavy metal music, my friendship with Krista evolved to sisterhood. A sister I long to meet in person! But with the ultimate conversational convenience  that our online world affords, I am SO thankful to include Krista into my cachet of “good bitches”.  Naturally, I neeeed to share a good thing, with you! I remain ever proud of Krista and ANY woman who puts herself out there— who says to world, “Hey, I’m HERE. I’m taking up my space with zeal, and I’m ready to shoot my shot!” THIS.IS.KRISTA.WEBER. She is the nucleic juice infused into her corporate start-up venture: Femme Luxe Life Co. 

If YOU have found yourself described here—stuck, in a funk, confused, SCARED…I URGE you to reach out to Krista to access her LIFE Coaching brilliance TODAY! Do it!

Find Femme Luxe Life Co.

Instagram @FemmeLifeLuxe.Co

Email: kristaweber01@gmail.com

Web: www.femmeluxelifeco.com

Femme Luxe Life Co. Founder 
Krista Weber
Canadian Expat Living In Germany, helping WOMEN all over the Globe!

Bio NoteKrista Weber is Alberta born, but – as evidenced by her recent move to Germany – she is an adventurer at heart. Raised between Athabasca, Edmonton, Calgary and Southern California, at 29 she followed her heart and husband to Germany when his job required that he relocate to his homeland. Now a mother to a precocious 4 year old and fluent in German, Krista has been through some things. Her motto is “never surrender; every obstacle can be overcome”, and now she’s making this mindset tangible and showing other women how they can conquer their challenges, develop unshakable self-confidence, and be fierce forces of nature, aware of their innate strength and ability – while embracing their va-va-voom femininity. 

**Please note: At time of publishing, Femme Luxe Life Co. is polishing up finishing touches to their website and media roll out plan! Follow Krista’s new business on Instagram NOW and stay up-to-the-minute on details of her new start-up business, as they rapidly develop!

 

How to Own Your Space – 7 Ways to Be More Expansive

Girl, we see you over there in the corner of our party. Your shoulders slumped inward, hiding your beautiful body; and your rolled up posture shows that you’re a fish out of water. You are gorgeous- and at one time- it looked like you knew what it meant to light up a room.  What happened? To be confident and to own your space around you, is an art. Luckily when cultivated, this tool in your tool box will pay you dividends for the rest of your life.

How To Live Longer By Taking Less Breaths

It only takes going to your first Yoga class, to learn that breathing is a big deal. Rightfully so, as our entire living existence within the mammal kingdom, depends on the intake and release of air. The art of “breathing” in Yoga is called Pranayama (prah-nah-ya-mah). In Yoga, there are over 100 different ways to breathe. Incredible! Yogis know that there are several effective ways to treat ailments such as anxiety, through the power of breath, too. Yoga and science show us that: a decreased rate of air intake (breaths per minute) — has a curious link to increasing your life-span.

Yoga Beginner Terms

Cheat Sheet Printout for Class

(On the mat segment)

Congratulations! You’ve booked your first Yoga class; good for you—you got this! With only a few classes under your belt, you’re going to learn about who you are, in a way that you never knew existed. You will soon start to become hyper-aware of the relationship that you have with yourself, and secondly, with your environments. This is an exciting adventure happening every time you step onto your practice mat.

The Dirty 30s – 30 Things to Let Go of Now

The dirty 30s— not just a reference for the most brutal survivalist years of the Great Depression, but also fitting for anyone who is entering, mid-way, or exiting this decade of life. Your 30s are the most hectic and growth-filled block of years. It’s this pivotal 10-year span of time that you will process what’s happened to you so far. More important, it’s inside these years that you can define what you WANT to happen to you, next. Here is where you’ll: change old patterns, discard what doesn’t work for you, plant new-idea seeds, and continue to nurture all the hard work you’ve already laid down. Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get dirty, and time to evaluate your life.