The Poisonous Palette

Maysil is 'just a woman' with no rights. So when she doubts her male dominated life and tries to break out of a cruel culture to discover the sinister truth about why she has no power, there is going to be trouble...

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1. Maysil

My name is Maysil and I am sixteen. I am writing this diary so that anyone who will ever read it will understand what girls have to go through, and maybe we can one day win back our rights. Writing this diary puts me in great danger, but it is a risk I am willing to take. Let me introduce myself briefly.

When I was a child, I wanted to be an artist. I loved, and still do now, to see patterns dancing across the page, paints cutting into paper skin and releasing colour blood, limitless possibilities. It used to be a chance for me to let everything out, to express myself however I wanted to, to show whatever I wanted to show. But then, with my thirteenth birthday, it stopped. A

It is just one of those things where I live: girls aren't allowed to do art. I don't know why - there is probably some law, caused by sexual stereotyping, that girls 'of age' are not to indulge in creative behaviour - Now I am a 'woman' of sixteen, I am not allowed to do anything artistic except for sewing clothes for my future children and cooking for my husband. Yes - I have been married since I 'came of age' when I was thirteen. Luckily, there is a law that a woman can't have a child until she is eighteen. I have two years to go. Phew. I don't know how I could cope with children - I am expected to have at least one daughter, to sell off in the same way that I was, and at least two sons, to carry the family name. I am really dreading having children, as I have never liked them - since I grew up with two brothers and three sisters (my parents kept trying for boys but were unsuccessful, considering they had two girls before they has their first son, and then had me before they had my little brother) I have seen the fuss that children make, and the thought of having at least three is very off putting, to say the least.

This is the time of the men doing all of the manual, strength requiring work and the women being housewives. This is the generation of arranged marriage and no say in who you love. This is the era of women having few rights. This is my life.

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