‘Oh Womaniya’, ‘Bold is the new beautiful’
These are some attractive phrases meant to be associated with the image of a woman in today’s modern society. But as a member of the same demographic, it can be said that attractive phrases is all they are.
Studying the mindsets of most Indian/Asian women, especially the youth, most of them don’t realize their existence as being mere puppets in this show called society. Today, any average girl portrays the imbibed patriarchal societal norms, and it all starts right from childhood. At a tender age when being creative and opportunities to explore ought to be an absolute birthright, girls are made to abstain from autonomous thinking and are asked to have filtered opinions and expressions. On the other hand, their male counterparts can be their absolute true selves in terms of behavior, clothing, and how they express themselves. Gender seems to come with a predefined preamble, mentioning the most idiosyncratic of things such as their correct posture, their best past-time or a hobby to pursue.
‘While at least a quorum of a similar population taken in the western world aspires to rule a section, the same in Asia aspire to be ruled by a section’. Sadly, this phrase remains a harsh reality. Women lead a life with goals defined by society and are expected to make sacrifices by default. It begins at an early age— to keep her father’s head held high, to be responsible for the family honour, the tethers then segued to her husband later in life. The ‘ideal woman’ is shaped out to be a perfect product rather than a living, breathing person of her own. Deviate from the characteristics and life becomes a quagmire.
The need of the hour remains good parenting. Every change begins between the four walls of home, within family. Sons must be taught to treat women in their lives as equals and not be a speed-breaker in their paths. Restrictions imposed by parents must be justified and reasonable. Gender sensitivity must be instilled in children right from the start. The upbringing of children belonging to both genders must be on the same grounds. This will serve as one of the small steps towards ruling out patriarchy.
Children learn what they see at home. They imbibe the ideals they see in their parents, and tend to mirror the same toxic behaviour in their own adult lives. Marriage must hence be made a concept for emotional and moral happiness rather than the security for a woman, financial or otherwise. This calls for more equal positions and opportunities in the workplace for the two genders. Marriage must involve mutual understanding, consent and co-operation to run a family and give rise to offsprings with similar insights. These concepts are propagated using words but are yet to be portrayed through actions.
Womanhood is a beautiful journey to be embraced. It gives us the ability to be a warrior and yet altruistic. Each woman is an artist, a sculptor of life and hence we must gift the succeeding generation one of the most utilitarian gift of all— a clean mind free to explore, experience and live. Do what makes you happy, make mistakes, fall, for these circumstances shape the better you.
‘A woman with a voice is, by definition a strong woman’. Here’s to all eternal beautiful souls out there, stay graceful, fearless and go conquer the world out there, for you’re worth it and so is your struggle. Lift yourselves up and the other women around you while you’re at it.
Wishing all the women out there a very happy Women’s Day. Celebrate yourselves and your clan.
-Nisha Nantha Kumar