It’s a creature to be feared. That’s what everyone says now. Who is this creature?
A woman of today.
Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?
When she is born, she is the apple of her father’s eye, her mother’s darling doll.
She is brought up in a modern, nuclear family.
She is educated as much as, if not more, than any boy of her age.
She is as active in the sports field as any boy of her age.
She is even sent abroad for further studies.
She is told she is no less than any boy, an equal to all men.
She is encouraged to read, write, travel, learn new things, play sports, be independent, think for herself, express her opinion, HAVE an opinion.
She is pushed towards having a strong career of her own.
Just like any boy is.
And then suddenly one day, she is in a relationship with a man.
And voila. Things suddenly change.
She is expected to be “adjusting” to his expectations.
She is told that “it is usually the woman who needs to adjust more in a marriage”.
Can she suddenly adapt to this mindset? No.
It’s like telling a man he needs to wear heels, and keep his hair long and braid it everyday. Yeah, as absurd as that.
I recently came across an article that talked about how more and more women of today are either unsure about having children, or hoping desperately that the maternal instinct in them develops over time. Because in spite of being on an equal footing with men in the world (being independent with strong careers that took years to build), they are constantly told that they’re incomplete as women without having children.
I wanna know, who came up with that rule?
One particular woman’s story in this article really got me thinking… she had been married for a few years and her husband desperately wanted to have children. She didn’t. But eventually she agreed to having them, and when she asked her husband if he would give up his job to raise them while she carried on with her career, he flatly refused. Why? Because it’s just not “normal” for a man to raise the babies, even if he wants them more. It should only be a woman’s sacrifice. Apparently. No matter how many years of college she went through to earn that degree, no matter how many hours of work she put into her job to reach that position at work.. and no matter how much her work means to her. If there are babies to be had, it must be the woman making the sacrifices for having them. And no, I don’t buy the argument that mothers are better at nurturing etc etc. I have seen fathers be equally, if not more, nurturing towards their children. It is this mindset that really bothers me – because things have been done a certain way for centuries, it is the only way they can be done.
Of course, if the woman wants to stay at home and be the nurturer in the family, then great! That’s her choice! That’s what my choice would probably be as well, simply because I give time spent with your child the most importance, as your time is all they really need from you, and nothing takes precedence over that for me personally. But like I said, that is my choice. And I shouldn’t have to be made to feel guilty, by myself or others, for putting my career on hold.
SIMILARLY, should a man choose to be the one staying at home and bringing up the children, there is no way in hell he should feel emasculated by his choice! There is no need for the world to smirk at him. Who are you to decide what the next person in the world should or shouldn’t do? Who are you to decide what a man’s role or a woman’s role ought to be. Every individual decides that for himself/herself. And as a living, breathing, consuming-the-precious-oxygen-supply-of-the-world being that you are, your job is simply to get on with your own life without passing judgement on said person’s life choices.
But I digress.
Coming back to the creature to be feared… I wanna tell the world something today.
My generation of women were not brought up to be submissive.
We were not brought up to believe that our place was in the kitchen.
We were not brought up to think that its imperative we know how to cook to please our man.
And we were definitely not brought up to believe that our desires are not important.
If that makes us a creature to be feared and not loved, then so be it.
I had an interesting conversation with my mom about this. She was at a social gathering and she was asked by two well meaning friends how her daughters were doing etc. The topic somehow moved on to how it is “very difficult to find girls who are adjusting in today’s world”. And you know what, I completely agree! There’s no debating that. And why would I even try to when it is true. Because simply put we, this generation of women, were not brought up in the same manner and with the same belief system as the women who were having this conversation.
Now, let’s not jump five steps ahead while reading this and think oh this writer is a crazy feminist. I’m a feminist, yes. And I also know that relationships work on compromises. From both involved. I am not propagating the idea of a man-eater who has a my-way-or-the-highway attitude in a relationship. No way. I am all about both partners being on an equal footing in a relationship, learning from each other, growing together, respecting, trusting, loving each other, and being loyal above all to each other. Giving and receiving in equal measure, and ensuring there are no conscious acts of pain or hurt inflicted upon the other.
So I thought a lot about this post my chat with mother… and I realised something.. maybe there are so many breakups and so many divorces in today’s day and age because the way girls are brought up has changed… and maybe… just maybe… it’s because the way most boys were brought up never changed.
Think about it.
Most (again, I’m not saying all) boys of this generation were brought up seeing their mothers in the kitchen. Because independence in women, sadly, is a very recent phenomenon, maybe 20-25 years old. So their mothers spent their lives bringing up the children, cooking, cleaning, being housewives, and being wonderful, dutiful wives and mothers. THAT is the ‘ideal wife’ they grew up watching. So of course they believe that a girl who is ‘wife material’ (don’t even get me started on that phrase) should be like their mothers. And that kind of woman, I’m afraid, isn’t easy to come by in this generation. We were just not raised to be like that. Is it our fault? Is it our parents’ fault? Is it anybody’s fault? Nope. But therein lies the clash.
So now that we’ve somewhat begun to understand the change in dynamics in today’s world, I think the responsibility lies with the thinking man of today to grasp this dynamic and its full meaning, and just stop…. stop expecting women to turn out like they did in the previous generation. We are still goofy, we are still girlie with all our make up and handbags, we are sometimes nerdy with all our Star Wars talk, sometimes crazy when we have bad hair days, sometimes super intellectual solving thermodynamic equations in seconds, we have all our moments, and believe me, we’re not here to have a hunger-games-style-fight-to-the-finish with the male species. We are just who we are! Just trying to be a better version of ourselves today than we were yesterday. And we don’t want to be judged for it at every point in our lives. That. Simple.
You know, like it or not, we all are a part of that period in the world’s history when feminism is on the rise, and hopefully in the next 20-30 years, there will actually be equality in the world, in offices and work places and in families at home. But until then, until that mental state of being is reached by most people alive in the world, one can only hope that people stop looking at women of today as creatures to be feared… because they are meant to be respected, admired and loved.
Trust me, they worked really hard to be these creatures. So don’t put them down, lift them up.
#BeingAwesome #GirlLove 🙂
Do watch this very inspiring talk that I came across today, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama at the United State of Women Summit: