Lit Mag Short Fiction

A Young Boy’s Battle Cry

Author’s Note:
Throughout my life, I have witnessed hatred among many groups of people. Whether these biases are based off of race, gender, sexuality, or religion, I’ve noticed that humans have a tendency to stereotype those around them. When I was growing up in India, people limited the opportunities of women because of societal expectations and preconceived notions. My grandmothers never received the opportunity to complete their education and contribute to the workforce. My mother had to fight very hard to work in India because companies were hesitant to hire female workers. Because of the hardships and struggles I watched the women in my family endure, I have always been a passionate activist for gender equality. Although the conditions for gender equality are far better in the United States than in India, I have still seen people judge and discriminate against others on the basis of gender. Radical feminism, a philosophy of female superiority, is a concept that was newly introduced to me when I came to the United States; radical feminists seek to promote division between peoples superficial differences. While the oppression of women is horrific and oppressors should pay a price, the reality is that we can not fight fire with fire. If we hypocritically treat men with the same discrimination and hatred that tortured women for so many generations, society will never truly attain equality between men and women. Ironically, the hypocrisy and hatred radical feminists hold against men in the same mentality that caused the oppression of women. In my story, “A Young Boy’s Battle Cry,” I analyze the harmful effects of discriminating against a group of individuals. Through my writing, I hope to inspire readers to walk through the world with open minds and kind hearts, leaving their gender bias and bigotry behind them. 
In 2050, the Middle East had been destroyed by nuclear warfare. After decades of war, the president of the United States declared that a destructive atomic bomb will be dropped, resulting in utter destruction of the entire region. This resulted in confusion, tension, chaos and nearly caused the obliteration of Earth itself.
Despite inevitable doom hovering in air, Melissa and Catherine Strain made any and all efforts to prevent their son from facing and realizing the true perils of the world. On March 15th 2050, nine-year-old Nathan Strain sat underneath his family’s artificial tree and exclaimed, “Mommy, when I grow up, I want to an army general and save the world!” 
His mother scoffed and smirked upon her naive son. “Listen, Nathan. You can’t be an army general. That’s not going to work out.”
With a sullen look on his face, Nathan replied, “Why, Mommy?”
Nathan’s mother sighed in dismay. She had never told Nathan about reality, as she wanted him to remain blissfully ignorant. However, the longing look on his face forced her to put that ignorance to an end and finally tell Nathan the truth. 
“Nathan, the truth is you can’t be an army general because you’re a boy. A long time ago, the male species almost destroyed the planet by nuclear warfare. Since then, women have outlawed men from making decisions in warfare because they can’t be trusted. I’m sorry Nathan, but you’re not going to be an army general. Only women are warriors.” 
Hot tears cascaded down Nathan’s face as he contemplated his futile existence. Since he was three years old, he always dreamed of saving the world. He was distraught and furious that his opportunities would be limited simply because of his gender. What kind of world would discriminate against a person based on their gender? I want to be something, I will be something. 
As the years went on, Nathan continued to hold on to his dream. In order to conform to society’s expectations, Nathan was forced to change. He grew his hair out and wore dresses. His family and friends mocked him, but he was willing to do anything to pursue his ambitions. He went to military school in his beautiful silky dress and long hair, but nobody at school knew Nathan’s secret. If the officials found out he was a boy, he would be exiled. On his first day, the general called him and the military women to the atrium. She announced the rules and regulations about the school, and she introduced herself to the crowd. 
“Hello, my future fighters. I am so excited to see all of you here today. We are here today to fight for the nation and make the world a better place. We will learn from the mistakes and idiocy of the men before us. In 2050, men in control nearly destructed our planet through nuclear weapons. However, women have rational thinking skills and emotional control. Together, we will conquer the world, for the future is female.” 
Nathan felt a bead of sweat roll down his back. In order to fight for his country and protect the human race, he must protect his identity. He knew that if he revealed his identity to the other women, nobody would accept him and they would constantly mock him for the actions of his forefathers. As Nathan went through military school, he excelled in fighting. He had amazing strategies and handled himself with grace and agility on the battlefield. His use of weapons and concentration qualified him over his other peers. The other women admired him for his elegance and he was a role model to the other students. Everybody was sure that in the near future, Nathan would be an incredibly strong fighter and a successful army general. 
One day, after a particularly gruesome and rigorous session of fighting, Nathan had to take a shower. He was always especially cautious when doing so, to ensure that his identity was not revealed. When Nathan stepped into the shower, he heard footsteps coming into the bathroom. The janitor was coming in to clean the bathroom. Nathan tried to hide, but it was too late. The woman saw Nathan in the shower and screamed. She looked upon Nathan’s body with disgust and horror and ran away. Tears streamed down Nathan’s cheeks as he realized all of his dreams would be destroyed. 
The next day, the general called Nathan down to her office. She looked down upon Nathan and screamed, “How could you disgrace the army in such a horrific way? Our history has clearly proven that men do not belong in power, and that they will simply obliterate the Earth. You are expelled from this school, you are a disgrace to our nation.” Nathan tried to argue, but the obstinate army general refused to change her mind. He would no longer be able to achieve his dream. All of his talent, effort, and perseverance would be inevitably put to waste because of his gender. The other women spat at him as he walked out of the school, and Nathan knew his dream was deferred. 
As time went on, Nathan began to fit in with the other men in society. He cooked for his family, cleaned the house, and spent the rest of his existence yearning to impress other women. He had a large stature and an impressive muscle build, so women constantly objectified him and treated him as an inferior. He spent the rest of his life watching women succeed and merely putting his exceptional fighting skills to waste. He lived the rest of his life in vain, just like men were supposed to do. 

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