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Women are called the weaker sex and judged harshly if we ever display our emotions. What people forget is the many, many times women bite down and stay unruffled.
One isn’t unfamiliar with the phrase ‘women are the weaker sex’ which has ruffled the feathers of so many women. Women, not feminists. We are considered weak as we are ‘emotional’ and give way to tears easily, at the drop of a hat. Having women in challenging roles is a reason for doubt and concern, and one that requires immense thought and discussion before resulting in positive action or decision.
Women are far too often criticised regarding work-life balance. How can you manage a home while you put in so many hours at work? Having a bad day or feeling ‘crabby’ must mean you are on your period. And then you hear of something about a woman while at her work which is one’s worst nightmare realised.
I read a news piece yesterday about a female TV anchor from Chattisgarh, Supreet Kaur, who while reading the news, discovered that the road accident she was reporting was that of her own husband. Even though she realised that the news was about her husband as he was supposed to be on the same route in the same car mentioned in the report, she continued reading the teleprompter.
She did not stop doing her job and only upon finishing the bulletin did she call her family and break down. To maintain her composure upon receiving such news at work and not just receiving this chilling information at work, but to report it as part of her job, is nothing short of a Herculean effort. Her bravery and determination to stay strong during those few minutes is clearly visible. Who can predict what may have gone through her mind those fateful initial seconds she put two and two together and knew what had happened?
So is she the exception to the rule since she did not cry on TV and stayed strong? And the women who do break down at work are by default then assumed weak? Hell, no. We all have bad days. One doesn’t know the emotional baggage weighing heavily on a person’s mind daily (be it a man or woman) and how hard it is to walk into work daily, slapping on a smile or a sober expression on one’s face.
Women at home would feel compelled to do the same. Women often keep up a brave front for the family, in-laws, kids etc. so as not to burden them with their feelings or perhaps knowing the lack of support they would receive (especially when the same people may be the reason for such feelings). And yet women are called weak?
How easy it is to call someone weak when it may be frustration, sadness or misery that may have been pent up since ages and was finally released through the tear ducts! Or maybe information so shocking that it mentally pushes her into an emotional, nerve racked state? And yet how much do we express on a daily basis? Nevertheless, people find it easy to pick on the few and rare moments this happens and even berate women for having emotions and expressing them.
Who are these women?
She is the one that shields her face from her husband’s blows at night while in the day she shields her face from the sun’s harsh rays, toiling in the fields.
She is the one that initiates the meeting at the conference room and delivers an effective presentation while worrying about her child’s coping mechanisms at school with the bullies.
She is the one that walks into a classroom eager and animated, having a group of children looking up to her beaming face for guidance and knowledge while she stresses over a parent’s health between notes.
She is the one who takes up a new venture and works around the clock while dealing with self-doubt and relationship issues in her personal life.
For women in varied professions, be it a homemaker, daily wage earner, labourer, doctor, or manager, the struggle to be considered ‘equal’ and ‘fit for the job’ (a struggle due to their gender) – is all too real. Emotions don’t weaken, they make you human. They enable you to feel empathy, compassion, hope and love for others and yourself. Seeing someone in a bad state on any given day can be dealt with better by extending a helping hand, rather than judgement. It is better to help raise someone up than kick them when they’re down, right?
Soon to be released is a web series about the strength of women in a task force like the military. And the concept is not fictional. Women from around the world serve their country. Still the weaker sex?
Top image is a screenshot from the video