Enough with the expectations from women to be an epitome of perfection in all the roles they play in their life. Let them be just regular human beings.
We have heard and talked a lot about women competing and surpassing in all fields of life be it office, work or sports. We have heard this so much and so many times that in today’s world we women have developed a combative approach for almost everything which we do. You are always trying to prove to the world, sometimes yourselves, sometimes friends or sometimes your relatives that you can never go wrong.
Let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves one question “Who has set this bar of perfection?” or “Do you really need to be perfect in every aspect of life?”
Well that’s the time when you need an insight of the whole predicament which is knowingly or unknowingly set by us and everyone around us. It is indeed exhilarating to succeed in all aspects of life. But is it necessary? No, it isn’t.
Women are not God. Having said that even God is not perfect. So let every woman concentrate on the one aspect of our life which excites us, keep us alive and going. You need to stick to that one particular thing or may be two, and go for it. And meanwhile if you fail in some other aspects of your life, it’s okay, relax! Take it easy and be affirmative in accepting it. Be unapologetic about it. Since you never promised to excel in those fields which were never meant to be your cup of tea.
Let’s look at most conventional situations in today’s world. The government has given us some boost in India by providing a certain degree of reservation for improving our gender’s stance in society. We accept the fact that progress might be slow but it is there. Talking of the corporate world, even here girls are given a slight preference to normalize the gender ratio in many industries.
So now that I have laid the foundation of putting forth my point, here goes.
Girls these days are mostly educated and if they want, with the help of supportive family are even employed. They are self-independent, responsible and self-sufficient. Now when a girl gets married immediately everyone feeds her mind with expectation of looking after her in laws, serving their needs, looking after her house and stuffs, so on and so forth. What if the girl doesn’t like cooking? What if she isn’t good at housekeeping? Will she be able to survive after marriage? Or what if she doesn’t want to marry at all?
These are some questions which could haunt her if above listed things are not ‘her cup of tea’. Isn’t it? Then what should we do? Should we take her to some Baba or astrologer to find out the fault in her stars which is turning her into this ‘unusual type’ as I say so? Or should she be visited by someone for consultation, so that she could be brainwashed with all our society’s conventional norms about what a girl should dream, think and be like?
Well not really. Ever since British India was suffering, our own political leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy fought against various women’s issues like Sati, child marriage, polygamy etc. in those days. Today in India we see leaders like Narendra Modi who have started the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ yojana and fought for our cause. It has earned us the right to be independent and take our own decisions.
Now is the time for society to work upon their prejudices of doing away with the notions of the perfect girl, the perfect bahu, the perfect beti and the perfect mom. We as women have been burdened too long by this necessity for perfection just to please our near and dear ones. Now is the time to renounce these extra logs off our head and mind.
Let’s fail a couple of times or even more in cooking.
Let’s fail sometimes in housekeeping.
Let’s fail in decision making.
Let’s fail in other household activities. And still not offer any explanation for our failure to anyone.
Tell your people upfront that you are not good at it. Don’t say you will try to be better next time unless you actually feel so. Tell them you don’t intend to be good at that not because you can’t be; rather because you don’t like doing it. Instead you are better off channelizing your energy into something else which is perhaps more intriguing to you.
I know it doesn’t sound like a plausible excuse from society’s point of view. But it ought to be true. So be it. It has taken years for society to change, it will take another part of the century to change even this mindset. Nevertheless we mustn’t hesitate because we can no more afford to outwait this mentality. We are strong, bold and confident women.
A first baby step would be to convince ourselves to accept the possibility of either “I can be a good doctor and an average homemaker” or “I can be an awesome homemaker and average employee.” Needless to emphasize that, if we seek to be perfect in at least one thing in our life, we need to renounce something less appealing and grab on to that thing which sets us apart from others. Only then will women be able to convince others about what they think.
Some of you must have heard when younger – “Seekh jaegi, abhi bachhi hai” (She’ll learn, she’s just a kid now!) every time you committed a mistake. But now the time has come for you to ask “For how long?” You are pretty much grown up now. And whether you are able to or not able to do certain thing, this is who you are. Your abilities or your incapability is what defines you as a human being, and more so as women. When a guy can’t cook or can’t do household work why doesn’t family retort by saying “Seekh jaega, abhi bachha hai”? Is it because it is not expected to be his department or his area of work?!
When all of us have stood by an era of multitudes of debates on “why can’t a girl do what a guy does?” then now it’s time to find answers for “why can’t a guy do what a girl does?” Because I am sure not every woman likes doing every job they do every day just because they are slotted under ‘gharwali’, ‘biwi’, ‘bahu’ or sometimes even ‘beti’.
Changing the cemented ideology of society and our family isn’t easy. And neither am I instigating you to come on roads with placards and banners, and protest. Hmm, well if at all you want to do that, try it with message “Let me be! I am a woman and not the epitome of perfection.”
My whole point of raising this topic is to feel content, happy and proud of myself whenever you hit your bed after a long day of work. And not a single feeling of dissatisfaction should occur to you because probably you’re doing some job inflicted on you by others which you are not good at, or maybe you don’t have enough courage to deny doing.
One thing which I can guarantee you is, if you stand up against this traditional taboo of society, it can bring only positive change. Which could result into two things. First we will be able to concentrate on things which we really want to do in life. Second our actions and dreams will no more be subdued by others.
Sometimes when we are in a broader discussion on equality with a larger group of people we tend to say what is sanctioned and right. For example once in a similar situation I heard a guy talking on women’s equality and how important it is in today’s world. Due to family acquaintances I knew that person. I wanted to ask him about his expectations from women – from his own daughter and wife. And I knew his answer.
This society is full of hypocrites who just for the sake of evading a backfire tend to say only socially acceptable things. The downside of standing by your idea is nothing less than loads of objection and protest. So despite this no one questions them. To be frank even I did not counter him at that point of time simply out of courtesy.
From then on I felt that either I should react and be courageous enough to counter them or I should not participate in such discussions at all. By doing so I could at least respect my values and ethics. I have taken a small step – a pledge on standing up against people who demand perfection from women in every field. And I wish to have articulated my thoughts to you well enough, that you too take forward this initiative of demanding equality for women by allowing them to relinquish things which they don’t like doing.
Women have come far and has proven enough to be at par with men. So let her relax a bit and not need to run here and there just in order to balance her life between office and work and in the process losing her own mental balance. When you have given her enough freedom to choose her dreams, you should not hesitate to give her even more freedom to have that extra ‘me time’ for herself which she can see her male counterparts taking for granted, relaxing on a couch with popcorn enjoying football or cricket match while she might be toiling in the kitchen. Be bold enough for this change.
This isn’t a far sighted dream – decide to bring that change in our own thought process from now on. Let every soul echo fearlessly with sound “Let me be”.
Be bold enough to be unapologetic.
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